SEE ALSO: Lincoln Rover Buyer's Guide
SPECIFICATIONS MODEL: Lincoln Navigator 4X4 ENGINE: 5.4-liter V-8 HORSEPOWER/TORQUE: 300 hp @ 5,000 rpm/355 lb-ft @ 2,750 rpm TRANSMISSION: Four-speed automatic FUEL ECONOMY: 12 mpg city, 16 mpg highway, 14.5 mpg test WHEELBASE: 119.0 in. LENGTH x WIDTH x HEIGHT: 204.8 x 82.5 x 75.4 in. CURB WEIGHT: 5,723 lbs. FUEL CAPACITY: 30.0 gal. LUGGAGE CAPACITY: 63.2 cu. ft. TIRES: P275/75R17 INSTRUMENTS: Speedometer, tachometer, fuel gauge, water temperature, digital clock, oil pressure, battery voltage, compass. EQUIPMENT: Power windows, power door locks, power mirrors, power seats, heated seats, power sunroof, cruise control, air conditioner, AM-FM stereo radio with in-dash cassette player and six CD player, anti-lock four-wheel disc brakes, dual front air bags, side air bags. STICKER PRICE: $44,750
The most popular sport utility in the United States is the Ford Explorer, which is built on the Ford Ranger pickup chassis. Although considering relative sales volumes, it's probably the other way around.
Larger than the Explorer is the Ford Expedition, built on the F150 chassis. Lincoln builds the Navigator on the Expedition platform.
Navigator could be considered an Explorer on steroids and in leather, and it probably is. It is a luxury sport utility, and a full-sized sport utility at that. It started the trend in the United States and helped propel Lincoln to number one in luxury car sales in 1998.
What do we have with the Navigator? It's not just a big sport utility, although size is important. For example, the size helps provide an extra, third, row of seats for that occasional time when you have to carry more than five people. Lincoln claims seating for seven, and it's possible to fit three people back there, but plan on six in reasonable comfort. It's still nice to have that capability to carry extra passengers back there. Access to that rear seat is not as easy as access to the front two rows of seats, but at least it's there and it has the capability.
When that rear seat isn't needed, You can fold it down and have additional storage capacity. We used the navigator, for example, to carry 14-20 folding chairs from various storage areas to a baby shower. The Navigator proved to be very capable as a truck, but don't forget it has an F150 base. And even with the chairs back there, we still had room for four passengers in leather seated comfort.
The leather seats - two buckets in the first row, two in the second and a bench in the third - offer good legroom (at least in the front two rows. The front buckets are separated by a console with a huge hole that is ideal for CDs. It also has a pair of cupholders. There is another pair of cupholders for the rear passengers with a fold-up cargo holder. There is rear heating and air conditioning as well when the climate is less than ideal.
Powering the Navigator is a 5.4-liter V-8 that delivers 300 horsepower, more than enough for the 2-1/2 ton vehicle. I was impressed that fuel economy was 14.5 mph. In a similar full-size van our family owned, we were never able to get our economy over 14 mpg for more than a tankful.
The engine drives the rear wheels through a four-speed automatic gearbox. There is a switch on the dash that allows you to choose between automatic four wheel drive, full-time four wheel drive high and full-time four wheel drive low. We kept it in automatic most of the time. There were a couple of times when we chirped the tires on sand and gravel.
On the highway, the Navigator doesn't give you the kind of ride you'd expect from a Lincoln, but it is a tad better than the average sport utility. It's comfortable without being mushy. You don't have the fear of going around corners because you know it isn't going to wander away and get lost.
Like many Fords, the Navigator is well equipped with cruise control and HVAC switches on the steering wheel. The wheel itself looks as if it was lifted from the Jaguar. It has wood on the top and bottom and leather on the sides where you grip it.
While the Navigator is larger than most people need for the sport utility use -- and I would guess than the larger majority of Navigators never see off-road use, except when traveling to the ranch - it's still nice to have this kind of capability in a vehicle, that if you want the advantages of a sport utility and still want the luxury of a Lincoln, this kind of vehicle exists.