Competitors are scarce for the Lincoln Navigator, a luxuriously appointed domestic three-row SUV, but the Cadillac Escalade was undoubtedly a target of the complete redesign that marks the dawn of the Navigator’s fourth generation. The 2018 edition is more powerful, more capable, and more deserving of attention from the yacht club set.
Corporate and livery fleet buyers will be most impressed by the Navigator’s new 3.5-liter twin-turbocharged V-6, which boasts 450 horsies, 510 pound-feet (lb.-ft.) of torque, and 9,000-pound towing capacity. All are marked improvements from the already beastly 2017 edition.
A 10-speed, all-electric automatic transmission replaces the prior generation’s six-speed. The added gearing was designed to improve efficiency while boosting acceleration. Rear-wheel drive delivers a combined fuel economy score of 19 miles per gallon (mpg) and is standard for the base Premiere, Select, and Reserve editions. The top-drawer Black Label gets four-wheel drive, which is optional on the lower trims and drops the combo score to 18 mpg.
The new sheet metal is positively tanklike when compared with the 2017, which appeared from all angles to be an overgrown midsize. The saving grace is a new, chrome-heavy grille borrowed from an earlier concept vehicle and a near-match for that of the recently redesigned Continental sedan.
The interior is an exercise in functional sophistication. A range of noise-canceling measures leaves little competition for the Navigator’s 20-speaker Revel Ultima stereo, which can be powered by Bluetooth, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, or USB connectivity. A roomy forward cabin features a 12-inch digital instrument cluster as well as a floating 12-inch touchscreen. The gear selector is an easily overlooked series of buttons mounted beneath the center console air vents.
Every Navigator gets three rows’ worth of French-stitched leather upholstery, a panoramic sunroof, 360-degree camera-and-sensor matrix, and an available head-up display gives drivers their speed (and the posted speed limit) and current fuel range, time, and temperature.
Individual key fobs record up to 80 presets for audio and climate control, mirrors, and pedals. Proximity sensors trigger a light show that illuminates the headlamps and taillights and displays a Lincoln-branded “welcome mat” outside the driver’s door.
The 2018 Lincoln Navigator is available now. MSRPs start at $72,055 for entry-level Premiere trims and top out just south of the $100,000 mark for fully equipped Black Label editions.