New Car/Review

Lincoln

1999 Lincoln Navigator

By Matt/Bob Hagin

Lincoln Full Line Video footage (15:01) 28.8, 56k, or 200k
SPECIFICATIONS

     Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price              $ 43,160
     Price As Tested                                    $ 47,750
     Engine Type              SOHC 16-valve 5.4 Liter V8 w/SMFI*
     Engine Size                                 329 cid/5398 cc
     Horsepower                                   260 @ 4500 RPM
     Torque (lb-ft)                               345 @ 2300 RPM
     Wheelbase/Width/Length                  119.0"/79.9"/204.8"
     Transmission                           Four-speed automatic
     Curb Weight                                     5573 pounds
     Fuel Capacity                                  30.0 gallons
     Tires  (F/R)                     P255/75R17 Owl all-terrain
     Brakes (F/R)                          Disc (ABS)/disc (ABS)
     Drive Train                    Front-engine/all-wheel-drive
     Vehicle Type                      Seven-passenger/five-door
     Domestic Content                                 90-percent
     Coefficient of Drag (Cd.)                               N/A

PERFORMANCE

     EPA Economy, miles per gallon
        city/highway/average                            12/15/13          
     0-60 MPH                                       10.0 seconds
     Maximum payload                                 1600 pounds
     Maximum towing capacity                         7200 pounds

     * Sequential point or port fuel injection

(Bob Hagin wonders how Henry Leland, founder of Lincoln in 1917, would have reacted to a '99 Lincoln officially being branded a truck. Matt Hagin says the Lincoln Navigator is so smooth it no doubt would have satisfied the old gentleman.)

BOB - Lincoln hasn't been top-dog in the luxury car business since 1939, Matt, and it took getting into the sport/utility vehicle business to get the job done. The Lincoln Navigator is definitely not a mini-moke and it weighs in at over 5500 pounds. It rolls along on big P255/75R17 tires mounted on alloy rims and is so tall it won't fit under some underground parking spots. As some compensation for the height of this leviathan luxo-wagon, Lincoln engineers have built embryonic running boards into the scuff panels below the doors. And to make entrance into this carriage-trade off-roader even easier, the automatic leveling suspension will drop the whole rig down an inch as soon as the ignition switch is turned off.

MATT - That fancy suspension system does some other tricks too, Dad. As the Navigator is driven along, the system levels the ride so that it maintains a constant height and it can also be used to raise the ride height an additional inch if the driver decides to take a short cut up to the estate house. And although our test rig didn't have it, there's also an underchassis skid plate available if that short cut is the kind that traditionally takes out a transfer case or oil pan. The interior has some trick items that make driving the Navigator easier. The operating pedals have an adjustment system that allows the driver to adjust their heights as much as four inches for a perfect fit.

BOB - Since your brother Tom did his solo road test on the original 5.4 liter 230-horse V8 Navigator a couple of years ago, there's been some changes made under the hood. The single cam engine now puts out 260 ponies and there's an optional twin-cam, four-valve-per-cylinder powerplant of the same capacity. This design feature, plus some other engineering tricks, boost the horsepower on the twin-cam Navigator up from 260 to a whopping 300. The torque has also been boosted another 20 pound/feet to a monumental 360. Although I'm pretty sure that it will be a long time before a Navigator of any displacement does any gardening duties, that much power would make it a great stump-puller.

MATT - The new Navigator is much more at home doing family chores like carrying the family on ski trips or pulling the family waterski boat. Our tester came with the optional towing package which included a transmission cooler and built-in trailer wiring. It also had a limited slip differential unit in the rear axle. The drive system has a three different configurations that help the driver stay out of trouble. The automatic mode senses when the wheels begin to slip, then directs power to the front wheels. It can also be locked into two-wheel drive, a continuous four-wheel drive or a low-range all-wheel drive that gears the Navigator down for duty in the real rough stuff. The only transmission available is an automatic four-speed, of course, and while the front suspension is a pretty sophisticated unit, the rear suspension is a conventional truck live axle.

BOB - The interior appointments aren't truck-like, Matt. The interior trim is all soft leather and there's more storage nooks and crannies than in a rabbit warren. The front seats are heated and it has a power moonroof. The second-row "captain's chairs" tip forward to give access to the bench-type third seat, but it's pretty cramped back there for anyone that isn't kid-sized. There's a console between those second-row chairs that can only be described as commodious.

MATT - Lincoln is also bringing out a pickup version of the Navigator next year, Dad and it's basically an SUV with a bed in place of the third-row seats.

BOB - A passenger-hauling SUV might have been understandable to a traditionalist like Henry Leland, Matt, but I think he'd draw the line on a Lincoln pickup truck.

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