New Car/Review

Lincoln Navigator
Road Impressions

SEE ALSO: Lincoln Rover Buyer's Guide

Andrew Frankl European Bureau Chief

Fred Walker was and is an enthusiastic and conscientious employee of the Ford Motor Company. As always, he got to his office in Dearborn, Michigan at 6 a.m. long before official "opening time". In this, of course, he was not alone. Big boss Jacques Nasser also believes in starting the day before anyone else and finishing long after the employees had gone home. This particular morning he had a lot on his mind. The analysts were giving his company a hard time, the shareholders were moaning and then, as his luck would have it, a chance meeting took place in the car park with aforesaid Fred Walker, a cost analysts.

"Good morning Sir," said Fred and gathering up courage went on. "May I say something?" Of course said Jacques, always one to listen, especially as they were walking across the deserted car park. "Well, I've been wondering about our profitability and have an idea which might just improve our balance sheet" said Fred.

By now Mr. Nasser was all ears. Here was a young employee with enough guts to grab his attention in the car park bypassing all official channels of communications in a huge, well-regimented company and furthermore he was about to propose a way of improving the black ink on the balance sheet.

"I've been looking at the success of the Ford Explorer and Expedition and thought that maybe we could make even more money from what is basically our F150 truck by jazzing one to the hilts and calling it a Lincoln." Nasser was doubtful. "Do you really think 'Lincoln people' could be persuaded to get out of their limos and clamber up into a truck?" As they were getting near to the building Walker knew he had one last shot at talking to the boss on a one to one basis.

"Sir, I have done some calculations. The bits would cost an extra 1000 dollars and the profit would go up to the best part of 20 thousand dollars. Most of the bits we already have in the parts bin, the only major expense would be the tooling for the huge new Lincoln grill."

"Thank you Walker, I'll ask the board what they think of it. Sounds fine, although I cannot quite see people parting with the best part of 50 big ones for what is essentially a huge truck. Still, as we both know there are people out there with more money than sense."

Hear, hear. Having just spent a week in a Navigator I agree 100%. Nobody but nobody in their right mind would pay 25 thousand for this creation, never mind 50. Apart from intimidating other motorists it has no "raison d'etre" to exist. None. Zero. Zilch.

First of all it drinks gas/petrol like the proverbial camel. Secondly -and this will sound silly- there is no room inside. Well, there is but you have to take your pick -people or luggage. If you have seven people in it-and the three on the back seats had better be children or acrobats otherwise they'll never get there- you can forget anything beyond two suitcases. Seriously. The minute you put three golf bags in there your rear vision is partially blocked. With four, you will have to rely on your side mirrors.

I am not suggesting that it isn't amazingly comfortable for the driver. Of course it is. You sit up there looking down even on other SUVs and enjoy the scenery. The big V8 does a fine job and the usual amenities -a/c, radio- work well. The handling is I am afraid somewhat suspect, if anyone bought one of these expecting extra safety they might change their minds once the chase is on. Most definitely not a product for descending the Hollywood hills in a hurry. 

Ford makes some very fine cars such as the new best selling Focus and with acquisitions such as Jaguar and Volvo they do possess some of the finest names in the automotive World. The Navigator is clearly not one them. On the other hand-leaving the fuel consumption issue out of it as rival SUVs are not exactly angels in this respect either- if a company is presented by very silly but very rich people who like the idea of the maids collecting the children from the schools of Beverly Hills in what they consider safe hands up all those who would object to making tons of money out of them.

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