2009 Navigator L New Car Test Drive
The Lincoln Navigator is roomy and luxurious. It's capable of towing nearly 9,000 pounds, but it's soft and smooth on the roughest of pavement. It's big and roomy, with a full-size third-row seat, seating for up to eight passengers, and acres of cargo space.
Smooth and quiet, the Navigator benefits from a fully independent rear suspension and technology aimed at reducing noise and vibration. However, it is essentially a truck, with a ladder-type box frame and separate body, so it is not as responsive as the new unit-body crossover SUVs such as the Lincoln MKX. The Navigator offers its occupants lots of protection and comes well equipped with safety features, including full-cabin head-protecting airbags, electronic stability control and a rollover protection system.
The styling seems deliberately retrogressive, probably in an effort to re-create the romance of Lincoln's glory days. The grille draws mixed reviews. Those who embrace the styling will find a nice finish inside, with rich wood and leather, and nearly all the features available in luxury sedans.
All that size means the Navigator is a bear to handle in tight corners and exhibits lots of body lean in changes of direction. The independent rear suspension helps the Navigator ride smoothly, though, as smooth as any vehicle of this size. The V8 engine and six-speed transmission combination also works smoothly, though it is outperformed by the powertrains of most competitors.
With the upward trend in gasoline prices, big, luxurious sport-utility vehicles have lost some of their luster as a group. Still, the strengths that made them popular to begin with remain: real space for eight passengers, the towing and load potential of a truck along with the comfort and convenience of an expensive sedan. The Lincoln Navigator shares those strengths at a competitive luxury-class price, and it doesn't even require premium fuel.
The Navigator was redesigning for 2007. For 2008, Lincoln adds more standard equipment. A rearview camera is available for the 2008 Navigator, a feature we highly recommend.
The 2008 Lincoln Navigator is available with a standard or long wheelbase. Any version of this full-size sport-utility vehicle can seat either seven or eight. All are powered by a 300-hp 5.4-liter V8 with a six-speed automatic transmission. Navigator is available with either rear-wheel drive (2WD) or electronically engaged four-wheel drive (4WD) that can be driven on dry pavement and includes low-range gearing. A Class III trailer hitch is standard.
The Lincoln Navigator 4x2 ($47,755) and Navigator 4x4 ($50,655) come with features expected in the luxury class. Leather upholstery and a choice of Dark Ebony or lighter Anigre wood trim are standard. Two second-row captain's chairs and a third-row bench seat are also standard, though a three-place second-row split bench seat is available at no charge. For 2008, the front seats add a standard heating and cooling feature, and power-folding third-row seat and power liftgate come standard. Other standard features include a high-watt stereo with six-CD changer, 14 speakers and auxiliary input jack; three-zone automatic climate control with rear-seat fan and controls; leather-and-wood steering wheel with audio and climate controls; 10-way adjustable front seats; power-adjustable pedals; keyless entry keypad; remote keyless entry; front seat position memory; power-deploying running boards; roof rack; high-intensity discharge (HID) headlights; power-folding mirror with memory; fog lamps; and 255/70R18 tires on alloy wheels.
The Navigator L 4x2 ($50,755) and Navigator L 4x4 ($53,655) are 14.7 inches longer than the standard models. Passenger accommodations are essentially the same, but the Navigator L provides an additional 25 cubic feet of cargo volume behind the third seat, and has power-deploying running boards and a rear cargo management system.
The Elite Package ($5,460 base, $4460 L) is the full ride. It includes a voice-activated DVD-based navigation system, rear-seat DVD entertainment package with eight-inch screen, power sunroof, power running boards (standard wheelbase) and the new rearview camera. The navigation system ($1,995) and rear-seat DVD entertainment ($1,295) are available separately. Other stand-alone options include a remote starter ($445), 20-inch chromed wheels ($1,495) and a heavy-duty tow package ($595). Added for 2008 is the Monochromatic Limited Edition Package ($995), which includes unique badging and body-color exterior accents.
The Navigator's standard safety features meet the luxury-class baseline. They include dual-stage front airbags, front occupant side-impact airbags and curtain-style head protection airbags for all outboard seats. The curtain bags feature a rollover sensor. All Navigators are equipped with Lincoln's AdvanceTrac anti-skid stability program. This system features Roll Stability Control, which uses a gyroscopic roll-rate sensor to enhance rollover resistance. Four-channel antilock brakes (ABS), rear obstacle detection and a tire-pressure monitor also are standard. The only optional safety item is the rearview camera.