2018 Lincoln Navigator Preview

Competes with: Audi Q8, Infiniti QX80, Lexus LX460, Mercedes-Benz GL-Class, Cadillac Escalade

Looks like: A very large, very fancy SUV

Drivetrain: Estimated 450-horsepower, twin-turbo V-6; 10-speed automatic transmission; rear- or four-wheel drive

It’s been over a decade since its last redesign, so we are happy to see a new 2018 Lincoln Navigator make its debut at the 2017 New York International Auto Show. The Navigator gets some long-overdue changes that modernize the full-size SUV inside and out.

 

The Navigator’s cousin, the Ford Expedition, is also redesigned for 2018, and the two share more than a passing resemblance as well as several of the same technological innovations and mechanical bits. However, the Lincoln does have a few extra tricks up its sleeve with more brazen styling and added luxury.

Exterior

Lincoln introduced a concept version of the Navigator at last year’s show here in New York and editor Aaron Bragman said, “Take out the gull-wing doors and it’s a good bet that the Navigator Concept you see here is 90 percent of the production vehicle.” Aaron is either psychic or he paid someone off because he was exactly right: Much of the styling (minus the gull-wing doors) remains intact, including those crazy wheels and the blacked-out pillars which give the roof a floating appearance.

The SUV’s very vertical nose is highlighted by a large chrome grille with intricate detailing and a large Lincoln logo perched in the middle. Approach the Navigator at night with the key in hand (or in pocket/purse) and, on higher trim levels, the logo will illuminate and a “welcome mat” is projected onto the ground next to the vehicle.

Interior

Inside, the Navigator offers a wide array of technology and family features (with some Expedition overlap between). Lincoln was mum about the actual size of the multimedia screen that will be powered by Sync 3 and offer both Android Auto and Apple CarPlay capability. The screen has been mounted high on the dash above the center vents and is the centerpiece of the dashboard. Behind the steering wheel is a customizable 12-inch gauge cluster that the driver can alter to display a range of information.

The Navigator’s technology offerings make a big leap forward. Wireless hot spot capability for up to 10 devices is standard, and a wireless charging mat up front is optional. There are six USB ports, four 12-volt ports and a 110-volt household outlet plug to keep devices juiced up.

An available rear entertainment system mounts 10-inch screens to the back of the front seats, which can each play different content via an app, HDMI input or USB-connected device. Android devices will be able to stream content wirelessly to the screens, while Apple devices can via a USB cord. Lincoln also partners with Sling Media, which operates Slingbox, so those who utilize that service will be able to stream TV in the Navigator.

Similar to the Lincoln Continental, the Navigator’s front seats will be available with 30 different power adjustments for added comfort. The seats are also heated and ventilated, and come with a massage function. Additionally, Lincoln will offer three “Black Label” versions of the Navigator: Yacht Club, Destination and Chalet. The Black Label vehicles each come with a unique interior theme and color scheme, and will offer unique owner amenities like free carwashes and extended service and maintenance coverage.

Under the Hood

Lincoln is keeping mum on engine specifics but the automaker did say that the engine would be a twin-turbo V-6 that makes around 450 horsepower. Best guess is that this is a modified version of the 3.5-liter EcoBoost V-6 in the Ford F-150 Raptor. A 10-speed automatic transmission is also new for 2018, and the Navigator will be offered in both rear- and four-wheel drive configurations.

The Navigator also adds Trailer Backup Assist, which uses a dial located to the bottom left of the steering wheel to help steer a trailer without having to use the wheel to do it.

Fuel economy estimates are not yet available, but the Navigator does lose weight in the redesign, which should increase its efficiency. The switch to an aluminum body shaves off about 200 pounds.

Safety

A new safety feature is debuting on the Navigator: speed-dependent adaptive lighting. When traveling at lower speeds, the headlights offer a wider spread for area visibility for areas like neighborhoods or parking lots. Start to move more quickly and the beam tightens to keep the driver focused on the road ahead and lessen the glare from road signs.

Also available are driver assistance technologies such as a 360-degree surround-view camera system, head-up display and adaptive cruise control.

No word yet on pricing or when we can expect to see the 2018 Navigator at dealerships.