When you are in and out of thousands of new cars over decades, reviewing vehicles can become more of a job than an enjoyment. Then all of a sudden a vehicle comes along that just absolutely blows you away. Such was the case with the 2018 Lincoln Navigator I spent last week driving around.
All-New 2018 Lincoln Navigator Reserve Test Drive
It has been over 11 years since we saw a restyled Navigator, but this one is all new from bumper-to-bumper and roof to road. It starts with a new and very attractive grill and LED headlights, 22” wheels, a higher beltline down the sides and smaller windows that give this all-aluminum SUV a much sleeker, modern exterior appearance.
Pop that big long hood and you’ll find a 3.5-liter V6 twin-turbo Ecoboost engine that is putting out a very strong 450-horses and 500 pound-feet of torque. It is mated to a 10-speed automatic transmission. My Magnetic Gray review vehicle is a 4-wheel drive, but you can get it in a 2-wheel version as well.
Most Luxurious Navigator Interior Ever
As beautiful as the exterior of the Navigator is, when you open the door to get inside this vehicle, you are overwhelmed for a moment. Lincoln went to extreme measures to make the Navigator the most luxurious large SUV ever produced, and I am not even reviewing the very top-of-the-line model. The lineup starts with the Premiere, then you go up to the Select, then you go to the Reserve, which is what I have, and finally the Black Label.
Hit the start button and the Navigator comes to life with a 12” screen in the center of the dash that doubles as a driver information center. The large dash has very attractive stitching and between the two front seats is an incredible center console that is large, but doesn’t actually attach to the dash itself. There is storage underneath the console. This is one of those items that pictures do not do it justice; you just have to see it.
Above that is a 10” display that runs the audio system, Sync 3 voice-activated navigation system, Bluetooth system, apps, and settings. It is reminiscent of an iPad turned sideways. You can swipe left, right, up, or down to easily navigate through everything, and it is also where you find the phenomenal 360-degree front and rear camera. Also included is a built-in Wi-Fi system that will run 10 different devices, a 110-volt power inverter, 6 USB ports, and 4 12-volt charging ports. There is a smartphone charger in the center console.
30-Way Power Massage Front Seats
I have to try to adequately describe for you the optional Perfect Position seats. You can adjust them 30 different ways. There are 6 ways to adjust the track, 2 ways to recline, 4 ways to adjust the headrests, 2 ways to adjust upper back support, 4 ways to adjust the cushion extenders, 4 ways to adjust lumbar support, 4 ways to adjust thigh support, 2 ways to adjust back bolster, and 2 ways to adjust cushion bolster. You can raise your left or right leg to different heights for comfort. Bottom line, if you have back issues, this is the SUV for you. If you cannot get comfortable in these luxurious seats, something is wrong. Both front seats will give you a massage. These seats are a $1500 option and worth every penny of it and more.
It’s Not Short on Standard Equipment
As you would expect, the 2018 Lincoln Navigator Reserve comes with a lot of standard equipment. Most notable free features include: hands-free power liftgate, heated and cooled front seats, 2nd-row heated captain chairs, 3rd-row power recliner and power fold flat seat, panoramic power sunroof, power adjustable gas and brake pedal, remote start, and power-deployable running boards.
Also for free, you get auto hold (love this, you can take your foot off the brake when stopped, and it releases when you touch the gas pedal), blind spot warning, forward and reverse sensors, active noise control, heated steering wheel, and trailer towing package.
It Even Greets You With Lighting
Another cool standard feature is Lincoln Approach/Farewell. As you get near, Navigator awakens with a graceful greeting. Lighting flows outward beneath the headlamps while the Lincoln Star on the grille lights up. Illuminated welcome mats light up the ground with the Lincoln logo, backlit door handles and the power-deployable running boards drop down. The front doorsill scuff plates and safety belt buckles also illuminate, while a field of stars dance across the instrument cluster. In an instant, Navigator recalls the memory settings for the audio, driver’s seat, side view mirrors, pedal positions, climate control preferences and more associated with your Personal Profile that you set up. All this happens before you actually reach the vehicle.
Stand Out Head-Up Display
A couple of other things that set Navigator apart are it has the absolute best head-up display I’ve ever seen. It reads and lets you view speed limit signs, shows you how fast you are going, the time, and fuel range. I also love the shift buttons on the dash, eliminating a gear shifter on the center console. You can also choose from 6 different drive modes, and yes, you can turn off the start/stop system.
My tester has just a few options. The $1500 seats I mentioned earlier, a $225 CD player, a $996 Revel audio system with 20 speakers that is compatible with Apple or Android, and it has the Technology Package, which is $2600 and includes: adaptive cruise control with stop-and-go, Pre-Collision Assist with Pedestrian Detection, the head-up display; Lane-Keeping System with Driver Alert System, enhanced active park assist with park-out assist; and auto high-beam headlamps.
Third-Row Seat Built for Adults
Yes, the Navigator is large and it comes with capacity for 7 or 8 passengers. The Reserve has an incredible console between the 2nd-row captain chairs and looks very much like the cool front console. Perhaps where the Navigator shines the brightest is the 3rd–row seat that was built for real adults. People well over 6-feet tall would be comfortable in the rear with really good head and legroom.
The Navigator rides, drives, and handles as good as it looks, and it is super quiet inside. If you are not aware, Lincoln now picks up your vehicle for you, drops off a loaner, and brings it back to you when you need service, a very nice perk for Lincoln customers.
What You’ll Pay and Fuel Economy
Large SUV owners are not generally too worried about fuel economy, but it’s not bad: 16 in town, 21 on the highway, and 18 combined. Base MSRP on my regular length Reserve 4-wheel drive is $81,205 and equipped like this one total MSRP is $88,181. That is a lot of money, but this is a helluva lot of SUV.
As a former Escalade owner, and someone who has praised the Escalade for a lot of years, the 2018 Navigator is a game changer, and has raised the level of luxury for large SUVs.