Credit Lincoln for launching the full-size SUV segment in 1998 with the release of the Navigator. Based on the architecture underpinning Ford’s large pickup trucks, the Lincoln Navigator has survived fluctuating fuel prices and strong competition.
2007 to Present: Lincoln Navigator
The third-generation Lincoln Navigator was introduced in 2007. This truck-based model is sold in rear- and four-wheel drive configurations, seats up to eight and is similar to the Ford Expedition.
All 2007 to 2014 models are powered by a 5.4-liter V8 engine that’s paired with a six-speed automatic transmission. This engine makes 300 horsepower and 365 pound-feet of torque on 2007 and 2008 models. Updates for the 2009 model year boosted output to 310 horsepower.
An extended wheelbase Navigator L was also introduced with the third generation. Nearly all that model’s additional room appears in the storage area behind the third-row seat and has little bearing on overall passenger volume.
The Lincoln Navigator features a traditional SUV layout with a broad grille, a massive hood, strong shoulders, slab sides and an oversized liftgate. Exterior styling was updated for 2015, bringing in new front and rear fascias, a split-wing grille and updated headlamps. Nearly everything else about the exterior remained the same.
All Navigator models are prized for their roomy interiors, offering plush bucket seats in the first row and supportive bench seats for both the second and third rows. Some models substitute the middle bench seat for a pair of captain’s chairs. This model seats up to eight adults in comfort.
Beginning in 2008, Lincoln began offering standard features that include heated and cooled front seats, a power-folding third-row seat and a 14-speaker THX II audio system. A rearview camera and heated second-row seats became standard in 2009.
In 2011, Lincoln’s voice-activated Sync system was made standard across the model line. That system was updated over the ensuing model years and by 2015 a more comprehensive and difficult-to-use Sync with MyLincoln Touch system was in place. Beginning in 2016, a new Sync 3 infotainment system was added. Sync 3 is generally regarded as a much more user-friendly system, thanks in part to the redundant switches and knobs that previous infotainment systems lacked.
Beginning in 2015, the Lincoln Navigator’s V8 was replaced by a turbocharged 3.5-liter V6 engine that’s paired with a six-speed automatic transmission. The new engine is more powerful despite its smaller footprint, generating 365 horsepower and 420 pound-feet of torque.
Lincoln Drive Control also became available for 2015, which brings in an adjustable suspension system with Comfort, Normal and Sport modes.
The chief competitor for the Lincoln Navigator is the Cadillac Escalade. This model should also be cross shopped with the Infiniti QX80, Mercedes-Benz GL-Class, Land Rover Range Rover Sport and Lexus LX.
Earlier Lincoln Navigator Models
The first-generation Lincoln Navigator was built from 1998 to 2002. The second-generation Lincoln Navigator was produced from 2003 to 2006. Two trim levels, Luxury and Ultimate, were available throughout both generational runs.
The second-generation Navigator is powered by the same engine that was provided by Lincoln from 1998 to 2014. This 5.4-liter V8 engine was paired with a four-speed automatic transmission through 2004, then received a six-speed automatic beginning in 2005. The 2005 model makes 300 horsepower and 365 pound-feet of torque.
Ultimate editions bring in the power accessories this model is known for, including power-deployable running boards, power-folding third-row seats, a power moonroof and a power liftgate. These models are also equipped with a six-CD changer. More modern technologies, including USB ports and an infotainment system, appear in the third-generation model.