REVIEW: 2018 Lincoln Navigator Sets the Bar for Luxury SUVs

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There was a time when the Lincoln brand was the epitome of luxury cars. It was as much about personal comfort as it was about driving a status symbol. If you were lucky enough to sit behind the wheel of a Lincoln, then you had truly arrived.

That was more than a few years ago and Lincoln had to reinvent itself to stay current, trendy, and desirable. The Lincoln Navigator did the trick back in the late 1990s as big, luxurious SUVs became the “it” car for everyone from celebrities to high-profile athletes.

Looking for a new or used Lincoln Navigator? Check out BestRide’s listings search here.

This year, Lincoln has reinvented the Navigator with an all-new model that is, at its heart, every bit the status symbol it was when it was first introduced in the 1990s. Over the years, the Navigator has showed off new styling, new engines, and an even more refined interior, but the Lincoln Navigator still aims to let the world know you have arrived.

Part of its status comes from its price tag, so let’s get that out of the way right from the start. If you’re looking for a bargain, then you best look elsewhere. Starting price for the 2018 Lincoln Navigator is $72,055. Our test model, the 2018 Lincoln Navigator Black Label, came in at $100,315.

The Navigator is an extravagant SUV and it pretends to be nothing less. Simply sitting parked in the driveway, its size, bold grille, and flashy wheels attract attention. You’re not buying a Navigator because you want to be subtle. This SUV makes a statement.

If you’re expecting a luxurious interior with leather trims, plush seats, and features you didn’t even know you needed until you saw them, then the Navigator will not disappoint. It is a simply stunning interior in every way.

There’s three rows of seating with power-folding second and third rows. The Navigator is expansive so it’s one of the few 8-passenger SUVs where you won’t hate sitting in the third row. Sure, the front seats and second-row are more comfortable, but the third row is one of the more accommodating you’ll find in today’s SUVs with plenty of room for adults.

There’s a standard 10-inch LCD touchscreen with navigation, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, SYNC 3, CD player, and a Revel Ultima premium audio system with 20 speakers. It’s such a beautiful interior, even the speaker grilles are a standout rather than just being an unseen addition, and the sound is incredible.

It’s hard not to wax poetic about the Navigator. The interior is comfortable, plush, and quiet when you’re on the road with little of the outside world intruding into the cabin. This kind of luxury provides an escape from the real world, even if it’s only for a brief while.

Power comes from a 3.5-liter twin turbocharged V6 with 450 horsepower and 510 lb-ft of torque paired to a 10-speed automatic transmission. It’s not just the horsepower number that makes this a responsive SUV. All that torque makes it downright fast when you mash on the gas.

Looking for a new or used Lincoln Navigator? Check out BestRide’s listings search here.

This isn’t a small vehicle, so it’s not the kind of light, fast response you get in a sports car, but it moves. It also has good handling with tight steering that keeps the Navigator’s bulk from making it sloppy. You feel its size, but in a good way that makes you confident and leaves you feeling completely in control. Get out of the way lesser humans in your lesser cars.

There’s no crash test data on the Navigator, but there are numerous standard and available safety features. A safety bundle adds a head-up display, forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, automatic high beams, and lane departure warning to the Reserve model. This all becomes standard on the Black Label.

There isn’t a lot to complain about with the Lincoln Navigator, except for the price, but you absolutely get what you pay for in this luxury SUV. It has a striking exterior that will turn heads, a fully-loaded interior that simply screams luxury no matter where you look, and a powerful engine.

In some ways, the price is a part of its lure. This isn’t a car for everyone. Most people can’t afford to plunk down $100K on a car. If you can, then the 2018 Lincoln Navigator is as ready as ever to tell the world you have arrived.

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Nicole Wakelin

Nicole Wakelin