What's New for 2001
Auxiliary climate control is standard on both two- and four-wheel-drive models. Both the second- and third-row seats get lower child safety-seat anchors. Lincoln now offers complimentary maintenance at no additional charge for the first three years/36,000 miles in service.
Based on Ford's hot-selling Expedition (itself based on the F-150 pickup), the Navigator is the first truck ever sold by Lincoln. When it debuted, the Navigator's price tag was hard to swallow because the vehicle offered minimal changes over the Expedition. As opposed to some other luxury-SUV makers however, Lincoln has done a good job of adding additional features to distance the Navigator from the Expedition.
Featuring four valves per cylinder (as opposed to the Expedition's two valves per cylinder), the Navigator's V8 produces 300 horsepower and 360 foot-pounds of torque. Fuel mileage, however, leaves something to be desired. Four-wheel-drive models come with Lincoln's adjustable Control-Trac system that can be set in one of three positions by turning a dash-mounted knob. In automatic mode, the system applies power to the front wheels when rear-wheel slippage is detected and maintains it until traction is regained.
Inside, the Navigator has leather-bound seating for seven consisting of bucket seats for the front and second rows and a bench seat in the third row. Seating for eight (with a second-row bench seat) is optional. The backseats are very comfortable, which is not surprising since there is plentiful legroom forward of the individual rear captain's chairs. The third-row bench is comfortable too, but headroom is expensed for thigh support.
Of course, Lincoln would have a hard time justifying the price tag if there wasn't some additional luxury feature content. Climate-controlled seats can be ordered for both the driver and front passenger. The system provides both hot and cold air through the specially perforated leather seat surfaces. An optional navigation system utilizes a 5-inch monitor screen that fits neatly into the center console. Other choices to consider include a six-disc CD changer, a hands-free cell phone and a reverse sensing system.
Due to a low seating position and rounded exterior mirrors, it's not easy to see out of the Navigator. Seat comfort is adequate, but after awhile, the cushions feel hard and there's little side support. Truck-tough underpinnings have been softened a bit for use in the Lincoln, so roadway dips cause some bound and sway. Body roll is excessive, and the 17-inch tires exhibit a low pain threshold.
Hauling cargo can also pose a problem with the Lincoln. With the third seat removed, 63.2 cubic feet of space is available. But since the middle row is comprised of captain's chairs and a floor-mounted console, the Navigator can't be expanded into triple-digit territory like some other SUVs. For people looking for a big luxury SUV, the Navigator does have plenty to offer. However, you also might want to consider the Lexus LX 470 or Mercedes-Benz ML430, both of which are arguably better vehicles overall.