For technical sophistication and capability in a big American SUV, it’s tough to beat the Lincoln Navigator. The Navigator’s 310-hp, 5.4-liter V-8 produces significant power and torque, and the six-speed automatic offers smoothness and functionality. A stiff frame, an independent suspension, and large, vented disc brakes make the Navigator — available in both regular and extended-length (L) forms — surprisingly good to drive. There are an abundance of power-operated conveniences, such as a stowable third-row seat, adjustable pedals, and power-deployed running boards. The interior is nicely designed, and excellent audio and voice-activated navigation systems are offered, including Sync AppLink. The exterior has a slightly affected-looking nose and somehow manages to be both dignified and monstrous at the same time. There are a host of standard convenience and safety features, including a power liftgate, heated and cooled front seats, a power-folding third row, a rearview camera system, trailer-sway control, roll stability control, Sync voice-activated communication, integrated blind-spot mirrors, and programmable MyKey. There’s almost nothing you can’t haul with the Lincoln Navigator. Take along the family, some cargo, and a boat, and jam to the 600-watt THX-certified stereo as you cruise on down the road.

Drive: Rear-wheel, 4-wheel
Trim levels: Navigator, Navigator L
Body style: SUV, 7- or 8-passenger
Engine: 5.4L V-8, 310 hp, 365 lb-ft
Transmission: 6-speed automatic
Passenger volume: 130.0 cu ft (est.)
Capacities: Towing 8500-9000 lb; cargo (behind third/middle/front seats) 18.1/54.5/103.3 cu ft, (LWB behind third/middle/front seats) 42.6/86.3/128.2 cu ft

Lincoln has been focusing its efforts on the newer MKZ, MKS, MKT, and MKX for the most part, but that doesn’t mean the 2012 Navigator is soldiering on completely unchanged. Lincoln’s Sync AppLink is now available on all Navigators and integrated blind-spot mirrors are standard. Autumn red metallic and black are the two new exterior colors, and walnut swirl and olive ash wood trim are new interior trim choices.

ABS, traction and stability control, a rollover-mitigation system, dual-stage front and side curtain air bags, trailer-sway control, tire-pressure monitoring, programmable MyKey, integrated blind-spot mirrors, and the SOS postcrash alert system are all standard.

All: 13-14 mpg city/18-20 mpg highway

  • Full-size capability
  • Lots of standard features
  • Dated engine
  • Poor fuel economy

A full-featured luxury SUV.

  • Cadillac Escalade
  • Infiniti QX56
  • Lexus LX570
  • Mercedes-Benz GL-class

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