Lincoln is hard at work revamping its brand image but the Navigator is more than a simple Lincoln – it is the only vehicle from this company that has any clout.
Much like Cadillac and its mighty Escalade, the Navigator stands alone among all the other Lincolns currently available in showrooms – ask almost anyone to name one Lincoln and they’ll surely say the large luxury SUV’s name. Those with greyer hairs might guess Continental but the 10th generation car is only two years old, after a nearly 15-year hiatus.
Lincoln or Ford?
So I’m saying that there’s not much value to the Lincoln brand. This is not to however to say we don’t like the car company as we’re actually fans of the new Continental. They make better than decent vehicles but there’s typically find little associated value when a Ford product sports a Lincoln badge.
This may all change with the new Nautilus and Aviator but time will tell. But now, back to the Navigator. Said luxury behemoth has always been a gussied-up Ford Expedition and somehow, it never really mattered at least, until now.
Big and bold
I’ve test-driven the Ford Expedition twice over the last year and a half and have fallen for the SUVs rugged good looks, generous equipment, massive interior space and excellent driving abilities. Things is though, the Lincoln Navigator brings little more to the table for at least $10,000 more.
Size-wise, let’s agree they’re identical. All the trunks are enormous and there’s room for everyone and everything. As far as capabilities, both can tow between 8,000 and 9,000 lbs depending on equipment.
Styling, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder. I prefer the Ford Expedition’s very F-Series inspired tall and flat front grille. The Navigator wins the premium-look standoff and admittedly, it makes far more of a luxurious impression. However, the Expedition Platinum could never be mistaken for a basic vehicle.
Let’s move on to the powertrain. The twin-turbocharged EcoBoost V6 provides the Lincoln Navigator with a massive dollop of power. It generates 450-horsepower at 5,000 rpm and 510-lb.-ft. of torque from 3,000 rpm. These numbers are colossal and although they are superior to the Expedition Platinum’s 400 and 480 respectively, there’s no difference performance-wise.
The Navigator tips the scale at between 250 and 300 lbs more than the Ford and both feature the butter-smooth 10-speed automatic transmission. The Navigator’s avoir-du-poids also hurts fuel economy as it’ll consume roughly 5% to 10% more than the Ford. If you’re not too careful with the throttle, 16L/100km will be the price to pay.
Looking for Lincoln plushness
And on the road, the 2019 Lincoln Navigator displays no particular advantage even though it is equipped with an adaptive suspension. With the exception of the Platinum’s load-levelling rear suspension and although the Expedition’s setup is far less sophisticated, you’d be hard pressed to notice any real difference in the ride quality. They are cushy-riding trucks that are generally compliant, isolated and comfortable. The sole exception comes from the Navigator’s six selectable drive modes which includes an “excite” mode. It firms up dampers, along with throttle response, but otherwise, and after all this, I’m still unable to justify the price gap.
Within moments of sliding behind between the wheel of the Lincoln, the attention to details and extensive design and luxury shine a light on the gap. The Ford Expedition’s dashboard is a glorified unit lifted from an F-150. I’m immensely fine with it however when spending $80k, or more, a few square inches of matte textured wood, super-supply leather, various shiny metal bits and beautiful craftsmanship go a very long way.
The massaging/heated/cooled Perfect Position 30-way seats are nothing short of incredible. The issue with them is that it’ll take the average human being 30 minutes to get settled in only to constantly update the saved seat memory position for the next week until you’re finally being cradled as though an infant in your mother’s arms.
The ride quality, more or less unchanged from the Expedition, is one of two deceptions with the Navigator. I was expecting the Lincoln to be quieter than the Great Pyramid of Giza but it wasn’t. Sure, normal tone conversations could be had at speeds slightly over the limit – maybe I’m being difficult.
Ford > Lincoln
My tested $101,500 2019 Lincoln Navigator Reserve with options (starts at $96,750) such as heavy-duty towing package, optional wheels (I’m wrong in my video) and 30-way seats is a truly luxurious and powerful affair.
After many hundreds of kilometers travelled in one day, I still very much liked the Navigator but would opt for the Ford Expedition Limited with the Stealth package and a few other options for under $83,500. And yes, barely survive without the massaging seats.