Welcome to the Big Bertha zone where the price of entry and the miles per gallon are of little concern. The $50,000+ base two-wheel-drive Navigator weighs just under three tons. Select 4x4 or the plus-one-foot L version and the gross vehicle weight rises to the point that the EPA takes a bye on fuel efficiency. (The base model comes in at a reasonably good 14 city, 20 highway mpg.)
Driving a Navigator feels like piloting your den down the highway. It's satisfyingly quiet, smooth riding, and a pleasant break from the rough and tumble world. But anyone seeking a dual-purpose mega SUV adept at hauling both people and cargo must select their furniture with care. The Navigator's front and middle consoles hog an inordinate amount of interior space and the center-row captain's buckets are bulky when folded. The third row lacks adequate hip room to comfortably carry adults and you've got to raise the rear hatch to power-fold the rear backrests. While the second-row seats move out of the way by tugging a release lever with one hand, the effort requirement is way beyond what the typical middle schooler can muster. So, in the end, the Navigator is a high-riding conveyance for four adults and a few kids that prefers leaving the dirty work to pickup trucks.
Don Sherman, Technical Editor