American Luxe

Lincoln pulls into the premium lane

By Helmut Dostal

What’s lost 200 pounds, is hell-bent on losing its old-man image and is strutting its stuff alongside its stylish European counterparts Believe it or not, it’s the thoroughly modern 2018 Lincoln Navigator.

To say that the new Navigator from Lincoln is a land-yacht synonymous with American luxury is probably correct. However, with the 2018 model, it’s safe to say that Lincoln has gone all out in creating an SUV that changes the conversation.

Go teamhf-lincoln2
Size still matters, and the new Navigator certainly has room to spare for golf clubs, cottage provisions, pets and plenty of family members. It comes in two lengths: 17.5 ft and a second stretched wheelbase option with 18.5 ft for those living an XL life. The interior has comfortable room for eight adults, a few Little Leaguers and a loading area with Amazon warehouse-grade cargo space. Lake country, here we come.

Stepping it up
Safe access to the interior is via power-retracting step boards on either side that extend automatically when I approach with my key and a friend who needs a hand up. The steps tuck neatly back under the car when the doors close. My super-beast also has all the advertised safety features: Lane-depart warning with steering correction, a heads-up display on the windshield, adaptive cruise control, a trailer back-up assist setting and adaptive headlights that adjust to driving speeds. A nice touch for added “wow” on a dark night: A Lincoln logo panel of light is projected on the ground in front of the door.

hf-lincoln4Perhaps I don’t have enough padding, but those plush-looking seats don’t seem to have been built for guys like me. I just couldn’t get comfortable despite the multiple adjustment options.

Quiet on set
Another benchmark of Euro-luxe, is an über-quiet interior. Here, Ford’s engineers have done a top-notch job. In city traffic, my test Navigator is whisper quiet, and even at highway speeds this living room on wheels makes easy listening on its premium Revel Ultima, 20 speaker sound system a pleasure.

Attention to detail… at last
The new Lincoln shines this time around in its cabin finishes and design. Yards of subtle leather, wood and tasteful use of chrome strike a fine balance between opulence and comfort.

The Navigator’s infotainment system is intuitive, surprisingly easy to use and connects seamlessly to Apple CarPlay or Android Auto via a well-positioned 10-inch touch screen. The Navi’s Wi-Fi hotspot and additional rear-seat controls between the second-row seats scored votes from the younger set and back-seat navigators. Thankfully, I found the button to disable the gaming action on our way up north.

hf-lincoln3The ease of driving the Lincoln Navigator through Toronto city traffic and on the open road belies its size; perhaps it’s the commanding presence that promotes courtesy (or respect) in other drivers?

Depending on my preferred driving style of the day, there are sixhf-lincoln5 settings from which to choose, each named to suit my mood: A little tacky but fun. My favourite, “Excite,” provides a bit of a pedal to the metal revved up boost for my ego.

Power comes on strong with the 3.5-litre twin turbo-charged V6 engine with 450 hp, a respectable 510 pound-feet of torque and all-wheel drive, making this Navi surprisingly agile.

Courtesy pickup and delivery that comes with every Navigator, not just my press car, makes service appointments what they should be in this bracket.

With a starting price of $101,983 to $105,373 for my tester with the stylish Reserve trim, Canadian pricing for the Navigator is in highbrow territory. It appears, however, not to be an obstacle for fans here and abroad who are happily driving them off the lot.

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