Place: Chicago. Date: February of 2006. Lincoln rolls the restyled Navigator onto the stage at McCormick Place convention center and immediately offends the retinas of the assembled press. We harped on the new Navi's "cheese grater" grille and reminded people to "bring a block of tasty parmigiano reggiano to scrape across" it if they visited a local Lincoln dealer. We also detailed the reasons why the updated Navigator could still duke it out with the hot new Cadillac Escalade, and after a week of living with this rather impressive full-size luxury suv, we've validated our assumptions. This is a compelling blend of luxury and utility wrapped in over-the-top packaging.
What We Drove
Despite its output of 300 horsepower and 365 lb.-ft. of torque, the Lincoln Navigator's smooth-revving 5.4-liter V8 is merely adequate for the task of motivating 6,070 pounds of metal, rubber, glass, and chromed plastic. To its credit, the engine's behavior was consistent whether one or seven passengers were aboard, boding well for its 8,750-lb. tow capacity. The six-speed automatic transmission delivers clean shifts, features an overdrive-off button for downhill coasting, and sometimes kicks down enough gears to produce something close to impressive thrust. Rated to return 13 mpg in the city and 18 mpg on the highway with two-wheel drive, our Navigator four-wheel drive averaged 14.3 during a healthy mix of both.
Fun to Drive
2nd Opinion – Thom Blackett
2nd Opinion – Keith Buglewicz
2nd Opinion – Brian Chee
Photos courtesy of Ron Perry and Christian J. Wardlaw