2009 Lincoln Navigator
This 2009 Lincoln Navigator feels a little old already. The non-telescoping wheel made it difficult to find a truly comfortable driving position. Sure, movable pedals may help shorter drivers fit better, but when you're over 6' tall and prefer to sit close to the wheel, there isn't much room for your legs. My complaint applies to pretty much all modern Ford products, but it felt especially cramped in this Navigator given its prodigious dimensions.
Stopping, turning, and accelerating are not much fun in this tank, but once you're up to speed it's a smooth cruiser. There's also lots of room for luggage and people and dragging a boat or camper behind you will have relatively little effect on the handling or personality of this luxury liner.
I'm a huge fan of the revised Sync/navigation system. The system may not be brand new, but the increased number of vehicles utilizing this interface means there is a very pleasant surprise inside most new Ford products. Using all aspects of the interface is a delight; the maps look great, directions are easy to input, and the controls for the seemingly-limitless audio options are very easy to navigate. Voice commands work well with Sync and having the list of commands display on the infotainment screen is very helpful. I suppose owners could easily memorize the commands, but if you own multiple vehicles that feature voice recognition systems, it's nice to have a refresher.
I ultimately prefer GM's Tahoe/Yukon/Escalade platform for luxury body-on-frame SUVs, but the Navigator has Sync and seats that fold flat to create a huge, easy to use loading area. Depending on your intended uses, those two things might be enough to tip the scales in the Lincoln's favor. Hopefully this beast will soon have the option of an EcoBoost or the 6.2-liter BOSS engine rumored for the Raptor. This 5.4-liter feels pretty weak and never sounds particularly graceful. With a better engine and brake upgrade, the Navigator would be much more convincing.
Phil Floraday, Senior Online Editor
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
I have owned several Chevy Suburbans because my husband and I hunt and we have three large hunting dogs which we house (along with a Truck Vault gunsafe) in three heavy cages. My husband is also addicted to covered trailers (he owns three of varying sizes, one of which is the Fiat 500's home in winter), and has a duck boat and boat trailer. Oh, yeah, there's also the flatbed trailer. We know about giant SUVs and don't feel guilty driving them.
We felt like horse people in the Navigator. Very rich horse people. It's a big, strong conveyance with no usable space for us, as Don Sherman points out. What's with those giant center consoles, anyway?!? Every door and seat is heavy, so it's a good thing that the rear hatch and back seats are power-operated.
Phil Floraday is right about fitting behind the wheel. I was all jammed up no matter how I tried adjusting things. Legs too long at 34" and arms too short.
But I do find the design and trim to be very sleek and moderno - almost Flex-eqsue in its boxiness - with beautiful interior finishes, and large expanses of glass all the way around. And soon the whole world will be singing my tune about the wonders of Sync!
Jean Jennings, President & Editor-in-Chief
Base Price (with destination): $54,955Price as tested: $61,105
Options: Elite Package - $5180Premium Leather Seats W/ Piping - $375Heavy Duty Trailer Tow - $595
Order Code 220A - 4x4-Power Fold 3rd Row Seat-Power Liftgate-Safety Canopy w/Rollover sensor
Elite Package-Power Deploying Running Board-Power Moonroof-Navigation Radio w/THX Audio-Rear Seat Entertainment System
Fuel Economy: NR (city/hwy/combined)
Engine: Size: 5.4L V8HP: 310 HP @ 5100 rpmTorque: 365 lb-ft @ 3600 rpm
Safety Ratings (in stars, 1-5): Frontal Crash Driver: 5Frontal Crash Passenger: 5Side Crash Front Seat: 5Side Crash Rear Seat: 5Rollover: 4
Transmission: 6-Speed Automatic Transmission
Weight: 6401 lbs
Wheel/Tire Info: - 18" Aluminum Wheels (size)