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Luxury veneer not enough to save Navigator (pictures)

Lincoln continues to rely on brand engineering Ford vehicles with the Navigator, which doesn't depart much from its Ford Expedition platform-mate.

Wayne_Cunningham.jpg
Wayne_Cunningham.jpg

Wayne Cunningham

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The Lincoln Navigator competes with other luxury SUVs, such as the Cadillac Escalade and Lexus LX. The Navigator is Lincoln's biggest and priciest model.

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Although it sports a Lincoln-style grille, under the skin the Navigator is basically a Ford Expedition.

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As an SUV, the Navigator features a high seating position and large windows, affording good visibility for passengers.

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Unlike other big SUVs, the Navigator gets a V-6 engine instead of a V-8. But this V-6 uses turbochargers and direct injection to equal or exceed V-8 power.

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At three tons and well over 17 feet long, the Navigator is a full-size SUV.

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As a luxury touch, these running boards automatically lower when you open the doors, easing access to the cabin.

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Although the Navigator can be optioned with an adaptive suspension, it doesn't quite mitigate less-than-luxury ride quality.

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The base Navigator comes with rear-wheel drive, but a four-wheel-drive option is available.

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Behind the third row seats, there is only 18.1 cubic feet of cargo area.

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Puddle lights under the side mirrors show off the Lincoln logo.

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Lincoln attempts to add some luxury elements to the Navigator's cabin, but it doesn't quite reach real luxury.

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Leather-covered seats offer side bolstering and power adjustment.

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The middle-row seats are a big narrow.

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The third row seating is a typical bench, designed to be folded to maximize cargo space.

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The MyLincoln Touch infotainment system comes standard in the Navigator.

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Electric power steering gives good boost, and the Navigator exhibits a tight turning radius.

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Part of the MyLincoln Touch interface is two LCDs on the instrument cluster, one on either side of the speedometer.

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The left LCD includes controls for Lincoln Drive Control, which lets you choose different drive modes.

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The six-speed automatic transmission includes two low ranges and a manual gear shift mode.

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With the four-wheel-drive option, buttons let you select rear-wheel drive, four-wheel auto and four-wheel drive.

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The rear-view camera and a blind-spot monitor system are the main driver assists on the Navigator.

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The MyLincoln Touch interface is logically organized into quarters, but the touchscreen response is slow.

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Maps show in plan or perspective views, but can be slow to fill in on the screen.

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The destination screen shows typical input options, but lacks online destination search.

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Travel Link, with data from satellite radio, shows fuel prices and movie times.

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The hands-free phone system shows a useful interface, but voice command is handier.

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Lincoln includes all of its audio sources, such as satellite radio and media, on one screen.

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For onboard media sources, the interface shows this music library interface.

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The play screen offers a shuffle button and the ability to find similar music.

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An eight-speaker THX audio system creates good sound quality, but it isn't robust enough to really fill the cabin.

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While the Lincoln Navigator shows some nice features, a high-trim Ford Expedition would be essentially the same.

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