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Sunday 25 September 2016
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Test Drive: 2016 Lincoln Navigator Reserve Review

Test Drive: 2016 Lincoln Navigator Reserve Review

There aren’t a lot of choices anymore in large, truck-based SUVs, but Lincoln Navigator has continued to weather the storm. 

Introduced in 1998, this is the third-generation full-sized SUV from the Lincoln Motor Company.  Based on the same chassis as the Ford Expedition, Navigator went through a full re-do in 2015, with some electronics changes for 2016. 


The most notable change for 2016 is the new Sync 3 touchscreen electronics interface that addresses some of the usability issues with the previous MyLincoln Touch system.  Lincoln is touting quicker response times and a simplified menu that appears as a strip at the bottom of the central touchscreen. Sync 3 also features intuitive pinch-and-swipe functions just like a smartphone, while matching the feature-rich excellence of MyLincoln Touch. Time will tell whether it’s embraced by owners, but based on my initial impressions, Sync 3 seems to be a real step forward.  There are a host of apps to give you real-time info and changing the settings is super simple.

I am reviewing the Reserve package, which is the top-of-the-line.  Navigator comes in a standard length, and an extended length for more cargo space behind the 3rd row seat…think Suburban, Escalade ESV, and GMC Yukon XL.  My tester is the regular length but still offers a fair amount of cargo room in rear.

One big change in 2015 was making the 3.5-liter EcoBoost engine the only choice under the hood.  This improved performance and fuel economy.  The 3.5-liter six cylinder offers up 380-horses, and will tow 9000 pounds, quite a feat for something other than a pickup truck.  The only available transmission is a 6-speed automatic.

Inside the Navigator, you will find a very nice and spacious interior that will seat either 7 or 8 adults, depending on the center row seating being a bench or captain chairs.  This SUV offers one of the largest interiors in its class, and has plenty of headroom and legroom for any size adult.

As you would expect, the Navigator Reserve comes fully loaded with just about everything you would expect in a luxury SUV.

Most notable are power lift gate, power deployable running boards, 22” aluminum wheels, heated and cooled front seats, ambient lighting, parking sensors, rearview camera, blind spot monitoring system, navigation system, and Bluetooth with voice activation.

One big advantage the Navigator and its sister the Ford Expedition have always had is the power-folding third row seat that disappears with the push of a button, and actual folds flat.

The only option on my Ruby Red test vehicle is the $995 power moon roof, everything else you see comes standard, including an array of safety features.

The Navigator rides really well, and with electric power steering, it handles well too, with minimal sway and body roll for a big, heavy SUV.  This is partly due to Ford’s AdvancTrac system, that let’s you choose from Sport, normal, and comfort settings.  You are sure to find a ride and handling that you like.

So the question I always get is how does Navigator stack up with the Cadillac Escalade?  Honestly, they are very different.  Escalade comes with a lot of bling, where the Navigator is more subdued.  The Caddy offers a lot more options, like adaptive cruise control and a built in cell phone charger, but all that comes at a price.  My experience is that equipped alike, the Cadillac is about $10,000 more money.

Navigator fuel economy is just so-so at 15 in town, 20 on the highway, and 17 overall, although people who buy this beast probably don’t care.  I would expect Ford to go to a 7- or even 8-speed gearbox in the near future to get that highway mileage up.

The addition of the 3.5 EcoBoost, and Sync 3 infotainment system were huge leaps forward for an SUV that had lagged behind its competition for many years.

MSRP on this one is $77,000, a lot of money for an SUV, but the 2016 Lincoln Navigator can best be described as the value leader in large, truck-based SUVs.

  • What I liked most:  The interior and overall value.
  • What I would change: Really, it’s fine just like it is.
  • MSRP: Base price $74,290, as equipped $77,020.
  • Fuel Economy: 12 City/20 Highway, 17 Combined.
  • Fuel Tank: 28 Gallons
  • Dimensions: 207.4” long/91.8” wide/78.1” high.
  • Weight:  6069 Pounds.
  • Trailer Towing:  9000 Pounds
  • Miles When Tested:  4100 miles.
  • Final Assembly Point:  Louisville, Kentucky.
  • 2016 Navigator in a few words:  Best value out there in a large SUV.
  • Warranty:  4-year/50,000 mile bumper-to-bumper warranty, 6-year/70,000 mile powertrain with roadside assistance, 2-years/24,000 miles of free maintenance.
  • Manufacturers Website:  Lincoln
Photo Credit: Lincoln