2007 Lincoln Navigator L 4WD Road Test

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2007 Lincoln Navigator SUV

(5.4L V8 6-speed Automatic)
  • 2007 Lincoln Navigator Picture

    2007 Lincoln Navigator Picture

    Lincoln Navigator L seats eight people in comfort and can tow up to 8,475 pounds. | September 29, 2009

13 Photos

People don't like when you pull up behind them in a 2007 Lincoln Navigator L. They also don't like when you pull up next to them in a Navigator L. They especially don't like when you pass them in a Navigator L.

At close to 19 feet looooong (223.3 inches to be exact), something about the way the Navigator L blots out the sun seems to rub them the wrong way.

But they should try driving it. The seats are really comfy. In fact, we could use a pair of these leather-clad beauties in front of our TV. And the stereo is killer.

It's nice to be inside the Navigator L. It just annoys everyone else.

Don't Tread on Me
What exactly is it that bothers them about this more-than-full-size luxury SUV? Well, the all-new 2007 Navigator L is 15 inches longer than the regular Navigator, which itself is no minikin.

Think of it this way: If the Honda Accord and Toyota Camry are the best-selling cars in the U.S., then the Navigator L is 3-4 feet longer than most everybody on the road — and almost twice the curb weight.

That's intimidating.

What's It Like Behind the Steel Curtain?
Whether you need a vehicle of this size to, say, tow an 8,000-pound boat or tote around several thousand children, here's what it's like behind the wheel.

Open the door and power-folding running boards emerge to transport you to the dark side. Slide into the heated/cooled leather seats and yeah, you're flying first class now. Find your driving position with the 10-way power-adjustable controls. Fine-tune the mirrors. Can't see much? What's behind you is not important. Just don't try to parallel park.

Highly pessimistic rear parking sensors are standard. When attempting to back this super colossal into a street parking spot, they started doomsaying about 9 feet from the car behind us. We couldn't see a darned thing, so we had to heed the warning. A rearview camera is not available and would be a great asset. Without it, find a nice BIG spot into which you can pull forward.

Riding the Elephant
For all its giganticness, the 4WD Navigator L is not as cumbersome as you might think. You won't hear it described as lithe and limber, but it also doesn't feel like a Mack truck as long as you are moving forward. It's fairly maneuverable and has a semi-decent 43.9-foot turning circle. It's not carlike but it's no worse than a large pickup truck.

During acceleration testing, our Navigator L's six-speed automatic transmission shifted slowly and the Lincoln took 8.2 seconds to reach 60 mph and completed the quarter-mile in 15.9 seconds at 83.4 mph. But with each repeated run, the Navigator L performance got worse as the engine heated up. Our very first run was the best we could get.

Not that you'll be making a habit of screeching away from stoplights, but the Navigator L feels slightly underpowered. The 5.4-liter V8 engine produces 300 horsepower at 5,000 rpm and 365 pound-feet of torque at 3,750 rpm, yet this is considerably less power than the 403 hp and 417 lb-ft of torque produced by the Cadillac Escalade ESV's 6.2-liter V8.

And since the L's whole reason for being is to compete directly with the ESV, the L's engine could use more oomph for its 6,221-pound curb weight. It's worth noting, though, that the price of the Navigator L starts about $8,000 less than the Cadillac.

Drive With Care
Handling a vehicle this size is a very different experience from driving a sedan or even a pickup. Common sense and responsibility are essential. Put down the phone and the latte. No multitasking allowed when you are moving this much weight down the road.

In our skid pad tests, the Navigator L managed 0.69g of cornering grip. We found the vehicle uncommunicative as we pushed it to its limits. Good thing you can't fully disable the stability control, as the front tires don't deliver much info to the driver as the limit approaches. Nevertheless, the Navigator L's new stiffer frame and all-new independent rear suspension help it manage our 600-foot slalom course at 52.9 mph.

Four-wheel ventilated disc brakes bring this beast to a halt from 60 mph in 139 feet, a pretty representative performance from vehicles like this. The pedal action is rather soft, with lots of travel — part of an effort to forestall wheel lock-up while towing — and it takes awhile for the four-wheel ABS to kick in.

Although the Navigator L always drives with a heaviness you can feel, it's actually pretty poised on the pavement. Rather than bound down the road like the Cadillac Escalade ESV, the Navigator keeps its tires on the ground, makes its moves with predictable sobriety and feels far more manageable than its competition from GM.

Fill 'Er Up
Storage capacity is plentiful at 128 cubic feet with the second and third rows folded. That's 25 more than the regular little baby Navigator, but this is another area where the Cadillac ESV has more at 137 cubes.

The Navigator L makes up for this cargo compromise with a third-row seat that's truly habitable for humans with 37.7 inches of legroom, so there's adult-rated comfort throughout for up to eight passengers. This is almost as much legroom as the second row, which has 39.1 inches of stretch space. As another plus, the L's power-folding third row stows away and leaves behind a flat cargo floor, and the Cadillac ESV's third-row seat does not.

With all three rows upright, max luggage capacity is 42.7 cubic feet. That's 24 cubes extra over the regular Navigator. If you can't fit it all in, you can pull it. With a towing capacity of 8,475 pounds, the Navigator L can pull more than the Cadillac ESV, which is rated at 7,800 pounds.

Brace Yourself, or the Grille That Ate My Fascia
The Navigator L has a smile that only a high school mathlete could love. The modern face of American luxury is a big toothy grin covered in braces.

And just look at all that chrome. It extends around the bottom of the doors imprinted with the word "Navigator" and even makes an appearance inside the door panels. But still, our bling barometer doesn't go off nearly as loud as when we see the MTV-friendly Escalade ESV.

That '70s Show
Inside the cabin, the spacious Navigator L is clean and comfortable and a little bit reminiscent of the 1970s, only in a good way. Its rectangular dash instruments are reminiscent of our old clock radio. If you're nostalgic for the console television of your youth, check out the way real wood trim surrounds the modest flat metal screen in the center stack.

But retro as the interior design may be, the optional 600-watt THX II audio system housed in that console is modern and equipped with Sirius Satellite Radio, an in-dash six-disc CD changer with MP3 capability and 14 speakers, including a subwoofer. Rock on.

We could live in this car. Install a shower in the back and you could sublet it at night. It has more square footage than most New York apartments and all the amenities of home. Truly luxurious leather seats that are infinitely configurable make driving the Navigator L as cozy as your living room. It's quiet, too. Wind and road noise won't interfere with your Foo Fighters.

Conclusion
Base price on the 2007 Lincoln Navigator L is $51,655. With our nicely optioned tester, the bottom line was $61,120. But if you're seriously in the market for this type of vehicle, you probably don't care about the cost of optional equipment, nor does it matter to you that it sips regular unleaded instead of premium gas, a good thing since our observed fuel economy was 12.9 mpg in mixed driving. You either need the towing capability or you need the chrome accents.

But while the Escalade ESV appeals to youthful drivers, somehow the Navigator L seems destined for an older crowd, perhaps not intentionally. We have a sneaking suspicion that senior citizens in Florida will buy it to tow around their boats in luxury, rather than the kids on The Hills, not because it's lacking anything but simply because 'Sclade got in the urban dictionary first.

The manufacturer provided Edmunds this vehicle for the purposes of evaluation.

Second Opinion

Inside Line Senior Editor Ed Hellwig says:
You either like the Navigator's excessive use of chrome or you don't. I'm not a fan, but to me, the real problem is the excessive use of cheap plastic. It's everywhere and none of it looks particularly pleasing. It's one thing in a $30K sedan, quite another in a $60K luxury SUV.

Lincoln used a few tricks to disguise the cheap parts like retro gauges and snazzy-looking seat piping. The trouble is, instead of looking classic the gauges just look old, and the fancy trim doesn't make you forget that the rest of the seat isn't all that comfortable. The rest of the interior is similarly average. Nice, but not $60K nice.

It's too bad, as the rest of the Navigator isn't so disappointing. It's reasonably quick for its size thanks to the six-speed transmission, rides comfortably on its fully independent suspension and rarely makes a disturbing noise. If you like big SUVs, you'll like the way the Navigator drives. Problem is, I want my $60K SUV to look expensive, not just feel expensive, and the Navigator's chrome only goes so far.

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