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by Tony West and Daryl Payne & Sommer Thornton
The highly anticipated 2019 Lincoln Navigator dropped late last year and since then has been wreaking havoc on the luxury SUV class. At $80k with luxury amenities like leather massage seats, a 20-speaker sound system and six drive modes for its 3.5 liter V6, the whip can compete with high-end premium lux SUVs that aren’t as big, and 7-passenger full-size SUVs that offer a lot less.
The 2019 Lincoln Navigator is in a class by itself with seven or eight-passenger seating configurations, advanced tech inside plus tons of storage all-around. The design is super stuntastic too with a blinged-out grille flanked by 360-degree LEDs, plus a power extending step and a power tailgate.
The new Navigator’s boundless stylish tech including a customizable 12 inch full-color LCD instrument cluster, 10 inch touchscreen, available heads-up-display and two rear seat TV displays puts the Navigator ahead of competitors like the Mercedes-Benz GLS, Range Rover even the Cadillac Escalade – and they cost $10k more.
From the week we tested the top-of-the-line 2019 Lincoln Navigator Reserve we’ve seen a ton on the road daily.
Outstanding Design with Innovative Tech
The redesigned Navigator was teased for years and the concept unveiled at NYIAS 2016 included crazy innovations like power extending concertina steps and gullwing doors. Those features didn’t make the final cut, but many of the interior innovations are featured in the 2019 Lincoln Navigator fully-loaded.
Motorsports Correspondent Daryl and Editor Sommer took the brand new Navigator for some adventure on and off-road in the outlying suburbs of Chicago. Not only did the 2019 Lincoln Navigator command attention, it commanded the road and high-end luxury inside and out.
Approaching the 2019 Navigator, Lincoln’s LED approaching lighting illuminates the Lincoln star in its grille, its running boards, accents on the headlights and lights up the Lincoln emblem at the ground.
The 2019 Lincoln Navigator is huge with a 122 inch wheelbase for the base Navigator and 131 inch wheelbase for the Navigator L. The Navigator Reserve we reviewed is 210 inches long and 93 inches wide, which yields– 43 inches of legroom in the front, 41 inches of second row legroom and an impressive 42 inches in the third row, plus 19 cu.ft. of cargo space behind the third row.
The new Navigator features full LED lighting in the front and rear and heated power-folding side mirrors with memory. A stripe of LED fog light dots make the headlights look like cat eyes. The all-new Navigator offers speed-dependent adaptive lighting that eliminates the glare of residential signs by spreading the beam wider at lower speeds.
Daryl, who owns a H2 loves the Navigator’s brawny new lines, slim body and elevated stance. Sommer enjoys the panoramic moon roof and illuminated power running boards that extend at just the right time. Both love the 22 inch 16-spoke ultra-bright machined aluminum wheels with dark tarnish.
Power side mirrors are huge with illuminated blind spot info lighting up the corner. LED tail lights have an even cooler design with a thick strip across the entire rear tail gate.
A power hands-free liftgate is standard.
First Class Cabin an 4WD Mansion
Inside the 2019 Lincoln Navigator is a thoughtfully designed mobile mansion. Seven or eight passenger whips have easy access to the second and third row with 2nd row tip-&-slide seats, available reclining captain’s chairs and power third row fold flat/ reclining seats.
The driver and front passenger both have standard 24-way adjustable heated and ventilated seats and power headrests. Available Perfect Positions seats have 30-way power adjustments and a relaxing massager for the back and legs that make road trips super comfortable.
With Personal Profile, drivers can recall seat, climate and entertainment settings via the key fob. The Navigator’s 2nd row features heated seats and the 3rd row has power recline function.
The center dash and console have gloss black and wood grain in a dope ash gray color, plus gloss black gray nobs and a rubber surfaces that can hold electronics and even purses and food.
Ambient lighting adds another element of serenity with soft illumination at the door and seat controls, the center console, even at the seatbelt buckle.
The steering wheel is heated and pedals are power adjustable with memory. The big gloss black leather and wooded out steering wheel, which Daryl called smooth and sturdy, could block part of the windshield with shorter drivers.
The entire interior fascia is super dope, recessed back allowing for abundant leg and hip room and easy to reach multidimensional storage. Drivers have their huge center console, multiple shelves and wider pockets at the doors and inside pockets for large items. An adjustable shelf behind the 2nd row allows rear passengers to customize to their needs. Also cool is how the seats and side pockets are designed so it’s hard to drop things between the seats.
Along with a clean sophisticate layout, abundant storage and a multitude of convenience features the new Lincoln Navigator has first-class technology. Standard the Navigator has six USB ports, four 12-volt outlets and a 110 volt inverter.
Wi-Fi is standard and allows for 10 mobile devices at one time. A wireless charger is also available.
Drivers have a customizable 12-inch LCD instrument cluster that stretches the entire space behind the steering wheel.
The power adjustable steering wheel has controls for audio, cruise control, voice command and the multi info display. An available Heads-up-Display will project important stats onto the windshield.
The 10-inch LCD display in the center stack shows climate info, the 360-degree camera, navigation, safety and convenience feature settings. 2D and 3D Navigation shows details like construction zones, traffic, nearby exits and points of interests.
Standard SYNC 3 with Both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto allows adjustments to audio, phone and navigation from the touch screen and steering wheel. Second row passengers have their own climate control.
To truly stunt out the Navigator mobile mansion an available rear-seat entertainment system features a 10-inch screen on the back of the front seats. Each screen can display different content. And along with streaming, passengers can play media from an SD card, HDMI or USB as well as SYNC Applink. Sling Media can also be accessed.
A Revel Ultima audio system will add 20 speakers and includes a subwoofer. The Navigator Reserve also has remote start.
With Lincoln Connect, owners can track the Navigator, unlock and set a scheduled start for the truck, and view fuel level and mileage remotely via the Lincoln mobile app.
There were only a few drawbacks to the Navigator’s cabin. The rearview mirror is too small to see out the big rear windshield. The A-pillar creates a blind spot and with the 3rd row up, a full view out the rear window is blocked.
While the new Navigator feels insulated and tranquil at low speeds with the windows up, if a window is just slightly cracked the noise of air rushing in at high speeds is too loud to bear. The vents blow air loudly too. This is with standard active noise control.
Lastly, with the panoramic vista roof open, the Navigator will heat up like an oven, and takes too long to cool with such big vents.
Versatile Performance Lacks Fortitude
Everything about the 2019 Lincoln Navigator is stuntastic and super fun. But its performance could use some fine tuning to match its macho look. The full-size SUV boasts a 3.5 liter twin-turbocharged V6 engine matched to a 10-speed automatic transmission. The big-body’s engine has 450 horsepower and 510 lb-ft of torque, and a 19 mpg combined EPA. Electric power assisted steering is standard on all models.
Sommer was not a fan of the Start/Stop system which would let out a heavy rumble as the engine would power back up. And the smiling blinged out grille looks great, but if it rains water sprays up from the grille to the windshield at high speeds.
The new Navigator has Lincoln Drive Control that boasts 5 standard drive modes and two optional: Normal, Normal 4×4, Conserve (eco), Excite (sport), Slippery, Deep Conditions, and Snow. Daryl loved the drive mode options so much he made Sommer a fan. Daryl preferred to whip the Navigator on Excite mode, where he felt more in control of steering and suspension. He said the tires had awesome grip too.
Conserve mode made the Navigator feel cheap and suspension and brakes mushy. Normal mode is sturdier and has tighter steering, but the Navigator turned slow and wide in all drive modes and the wheels take too long to straighten out.
The best part of changing the drive modes is watching the big graphic show up in the instrument cluster. Each drive mode changes the layout of the digi-dash display, showing the same info for each but in a prioritized arrangement.
Sommer and Daryl disagree on the usefulness of the Navigator Reserve’s suspension system. The Navigator Reserve features adaptive front independent short and long –arm, and rear independent multilink suspension. In Normal drive mode, Sommer could feel all the bumps of the road, making street driving uncomfortable, especially over train tracks and speed humps. But in sport mode, suspension was more apt to Daryl’s liking.
At least the Navigator is nimble on the highway at very high speeds.
Front twin-piston brakes and rear solid brakes have 13.8 vented discs rotors but still feel mushy. Because braking the nearly 3-ton behemoth was scary at high speeds, Sommer lacked confidence the Navigator would stop on point when going fast towards a stop.
Luckily with handy Auto Hold activated, the whip will keep still on its own until the gas is pressed – great for traffic jams.
Safety features in the base Navigator don’t include much, only standard airbags, AdvanceTrac with roll stability control, SOS post-crash alert, MyKey and the rearview camera. The Navigator Reserve has a standard blind spot info system with cross traffic alert, a forward and reverse sensing system and inclination system.
Owners must cop the Technology Package to get the Pre-Collision Assist System, Heads-up-Display, Lane Keeping System, park assist and auto high beams.
The available Cargo Package adds a tiered cargo management system. And the Heavy-Duty Trailer Tow Package includes convenient features for towing like Pro Trailer Backup assist, and electronic traction assist. Adaptive Tow/Haul mode and trailer sway control are also available.
The true test of how this re-innovated SUV will fair in its segment will come as new competitors like the Kia Telluride, Volkswagen Atlas, and redesigned Escalade hit the streets this year.