2018 Lincoln Navigator Debut : Taking Back the Segment

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Class-leading interior space and technology define Lincoln’s new premium SUV

Back in 2013, Lincoln Motor Company set out a plan to reinvent the brand and release four updated models in four years. In that time they have released the new MKC, MKZ, MKX, and brought back the legendary Lincoln Continental. The debut of this 2018 Lincoln Navigator is the first vehicle in another “four vehicles in four years” plan to continue the brand’s steady pace in the market.

Lincoln’s Director of Product Development, Scott Tobin, remarked that the “Navigator” model is one of the most recognizable names within the Lincoln brand and an important debut for the company. The Navigator may have defined the luxury SUV segment in the US back in 1998 but it has taken a back seat to competition in recent years. Luxury SUV models like the Escalade have outsold the Navigator 2 to 1 in the past three years. But with a lighter and more refined Ford Expedition platform, perhaps this new Navigator is ready to reestablish itself in the market. I met with the folks from Lincoln to experience the new 2018 Lincoln Navigator in person and give you all the important details.


Modern Exterior and Interior Styling

The exterior of the 2018 Navigator is nearly spot on from what we saw in the Navigator concept in 2016. Sadly, the gullwing doors are gone from this production model but the big and bold design language remains. There are still some theatrics to be found as approaching the vehicle triggers the LED lighting in the lower front body, the taillamps subtly engage, and a luminous Lincoln welcome mat appears beneath the front doors. On the Reserve and Black Label trim models, the Lincoln star logo on the grille softly illuminates – a first for any Lincoln model. This is quite stunning in person and truly gives character to an SUV that has been somewhat lacking in that area. The Black Label model features 22″ propeller-like wheels that are reminiscent of the concept and help give additional presence to the Navigator.

At night, interior ambient lights also sequentially illuminate each of the SUV’s three rows as you approach it to reveal an absolutely stunning interior. The model we were shown was a Black Label Navigator equipped with the “Yacht Club” theme and White Platinum exterior paint. The “Yacht Club” interior looks similar to the Navigator concept and features a soft Coastal Blue Venetian and Blue Bay Alpine leather, piped in white, paired with a white-washed teak wood. In person, the quality of materials and design is absolutely amazing and like nothing I have seen in any modern luxury SUV. The 2018 Navigator will be available in three Black Label themes including this “Yacht Club” example, the existing “Chalet”, and a new “Destination” theme with Mahogany Red Venetian leather and dark khaya wood trim.

Even when the all-new Navigator is fully packed, each occupant can sit in complete comfort. The design team made a special effort to ensure entry and exit to each row was effortless – and it shows. I am 5′ 11″ and the rear seats were no problem and offered plenty of legroom. The driver and front-seat passenger enjoy Perfect Position Seats, which offer massage, heating and cooling functionality, and can be adjusted up to 30 different ways. I absolutely loved a similar system in the Lincoln Continental and this setup should make long trips with the family much more enjoyable. Overhead, the largest panoramic sunroof on any luxury SUV lets sunlight into the cabin and helps each row of seating feel more expansive. All three rows also include storage to keep the cabin clean and organized. The all-new Navigator’s advanced cargo management system even offers an adjustable shelf behind the rear seats that allows clients to create storage customized to their needs. Even with the vehicle parked on an incline, the feature ensures groceries won’t roll out when the liftgate is opened.

“The Navigator uses a new twin-turbo V6 motor to produce an impressive 450 horsepower”


Loaded With Technology

The technology in the new Navigator starts out front with the powertrain that lies beneath the hood. The Navigator uses a new twin-turbo V6 motor to produce an impressive 450 horsepower, channeled through a 10-speed automatic. This bests the 420 horsepower of the Cadillac Escalade’s 6.2L V8 and should make for rather impressive towing capability. Thanks to the high-strength aluminum-alloy body the new model sheds over 200 pounds. Additional weight savings have been reinvested in features such as towing capability and quietness. Towing improves on this newest Navigator with the help of “Trailer Backup Assist.” This feature automatically steers the vehicle to turn a trailer the desired amount – meaning less time required to perform the task. The new Navigator is expected to deliver more towing capability than any other premium full-size SUV. To improve noise reduction, the 2018 Navigator features laminated front and side glass to make it the quietest Navigator cabin ever. The vehicle also offers a new speed-dependent adaptive lighting feature that provides a wider spread of light at lower speeds for increased visibility. As the vehicle accelerates, the beam of light will also narrow to help eliminate the glare off signs or other distractions.

Driver’s will be able to customize their experience in the Navigator through Lincoln’s new Personal Profile. Each key can be associated with a profile that stores over 30 preset settings including the controls for the seat, climate, and media center. SYNC® 3 with both Apple CarPlay™ and Android Auto™ are standard and allow the driver to stay connected with their smart device while keeping their focus on the drive. The 2018 Navigator also features the largest Head-Up Display in its class to allow the driver to have important information available at a glance. The design team said that the HUD system was set up to be simplistic and use the space efficiently to avoid unnecessary distraction. Amazon Alexa will also make an appearance and passengers can ask Alexa about destinations, such as restaurants, and have directions sent to the vehicle.

Inside the cabin, passengers will also find a variety of ways to stay connected with six USB ports, four 12-volt power outlets, and an 110-volt plug. There is even a wireless phone charger in the front console big enough to fit my massive Nexus 6. Second-row passengers have their own audio and climate control, while third-row seats feature power recline capability. The rear entertainment comes packaged as 10-inch screens that your passengers can stream video content to via their Android phones. Lincoln has an agreement with Sling Media and owners who own a Slingbox can access their TV channels on the go. The 2018 Navigator also features build in Wi-Fi that will allow up to 10 devices to connect. So there is no reason that the whole family can’t use their tablets or phones on the road.

The new 2018 Lincoln Navigator debuts this week at the New York Auto Show and will be on display during the public days. The example we experienced will be on display at the Lincoln Experience Center in Newport Beach, CA.

2018 Lincoln Navigator Video and Photo Gallery


Nolan grew up in a space balanced between the glitz and glamour of Los Angeles' high-gloss exotics and the Mojave desert's hairy-chested muscle cars and trucks. His dream garage would consist of forgotten domestic metal from the '80s and '90s.

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