Full 2010 Lincoln Navigator Review
What's New for 2010
For 2010, the Lincoln Navigator gains Ford's programmable MyKey, added functionality to the Sync system and trailer sway control. The premium leather seats from previous years are now standard.
When the current-generation Lincoln Navigator was unveiled a few years ago, the luxury SUV market was thriving. The big Lincoln's massive chrome grille epitomized the era's conspicuous consumption, and the thirsty V8 pulling nearly 3 tons of curb weight was barely a consideration amid cheap fuel prices. The Navigator, along with the Cadillac Escalade and Mercedes GL-Class, became popular status symbols for those looking to make a splashy entrance.
What a difference the intervening years have made. With the recent global economic collapse, fluctuating fuel prices and growing environmental consciousness, these rolling palaces on wheels have drawn criticism in social commentaries and lost some of their previous luster. But manufacturers are betting that the market for full-size luxury SUVs is still alive and well. Lincoln hopes to prove that with the 2010 Navigator.
In its defense, the 2010 Lincoln Navigator is about more than just flashy styling and status. It is a truly capable SUV that returns with the same plush ride, spacious cabin and all-around comfort it has long been known for. The 2010 Navigator is relatively unchanged from the previous year, receiving just minor improvements to its already solid overall package -- Sync has been upgraded to deliver more functions, and safety has been increased with a programmable key and trailer sway control.
But the 2010 Navigator is not alone in its category, and it's not the clear victor by any stretch of the imagination. The Cadillac Escalade provides far more power from its 6.2-liter engine and the Mercedes GL-Class offers more athletic handling -- though both of these competitors come with a heftier price tag. There are also Japanese rivals to consider, namely the Infiniti QX56 and premium versions of the Toyota Sequoia, both of which will spank the Navigator in a straight line. Nonetheless, the 2010 Lincoln Navigator is certainly worthy of your consideration if you don't care about the horsepower wars, though we would also suggest a peek at the mechanically identical and much more attainable Ford Expedition.
Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
The 2010 Lincoln Navigator is a full-size luxury SUV that comes in one very well equipped trim level. Three-row seven-passenger seating is standard, and the second-row captain's chairs can be replaced with a three-person bench to increase capacity to eight. Also, an extended-wheelbase version is offered -- the Navigator L -- that adds 15 inches to the overall length. Standard features include 18-inch alloy wheels, parking sensors, a power liftgate, power-folding running boards, a rearview-mirror-mounted back-up camera, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, leather upholstery, adjustable pedals, dual-zone automatic climate control with rear auxiliary controls, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, power front seats with heating and cooling, driver memory settings, heated and cooled second-row seats, and a heated, power-folding third-row bench. Also standard are the Sync voice activation system and a 14-speaker surround-sound audio system with a six-CD changer, satellite radio and an auxiliary audio jack.
Those looking to outfit their Navigator with even more features will likely turn to the optional Elite package, which adds a sunroof, a navigation system with Sirius Travel Link and a rear-seat entertainment system. The Elite package also replaces the six-CD changer with a single-CD unit and moves the rearview camera from the mirror to the larger navigation display.
The vast expanses of exterior chrome may be a bit too flashy for the more understated buyer, so Lincoln offers a Monochrome Appearance package that substitutes body-colored elements for some of the chrome accents and adds power-folding heated outside mirrors with puddle lights. A Monochrome Limited Edition package goes a step further with ebony interior wood trim, unique leather seats and headrests embroidered with the Lincoln star for all three rows.
Weekend warriors who anticipate a lot of hauling may want to opt for the Heavy-Duty Trailer Tow package, which tacks on an automatic load-leveling rear suspension, an integrated tow hitch and a heavy-duty radiator and transmission cooler. Single-item options include 20-inch chrome wheels, a second row 40/20/40-split bench and the rear-seat entertainment system.
Powertrains and Performance
Under the hood of the 2010 Lincoln Navigator is a 5.4-liter V8 that produces 310 horsepower and 365 pound-feet of torque. A six-speed automatic is the only transmission available, but buyers can choose between two-wheel- and four-wheel-drive models. Properly equipped, a rear-wheel-drive Navigator is capable of towing up to 9,000 pounds.
The last Navigator L we tested accelerated from zero to 60 mph in 8.2 seconds, off the pace for this segment. EPA fuel economy estimates stand at 14 mpg city/20 mpg highway and 16 mpg combined, which is only a few miles more per gallon than the competing Cadillac Escalade.
The 2010 Lincoln Navigator is loaded with numerous standard safety features that include stability control with a rollover sensor, traction control, antilock disc brakes with brake assist, front-seat side airbags and three-row side curtain airbags. A new addition for 2010 is Ford's programmable MyKey system, which allows parents to specify speed limits and stereo volumes for their teenage drivers. Another new feature is Trailer Sway Control, which uses the existing stability control sensors to detect and minimize trailer sway. In government crash tests, the Navigator received a perfect five-star rating for frontal- and side-impact occupant protection.
Interior Design and Special Features
The 2010 Navigator's interior styling is a nod to Lincoln's past, with a retro dual-cowl dash and square gauges. Even without any options added, the Navigator's cabin is also packed with a dizzying array of luxury features. Space and comfort is excellent for all seven passengers, and for those with the need for additional seating, an optional 40/20/40-split second-row bench seat will accommodate an eighth person.
When passengers need to make way for cargo, the manually operated second row and power-folding third-row seats are easily stowed, providing a flat floor for easy loading. In this configuration, the base Navigator can hold a respectable 104 cubic feet of cargo. The longer Navigator, thanks to its additional space behind the rear seats, has a total capacity of 128 cubic feet.
The standard Sync voice activation system also scores points for the Navigator; it allows for hands-free operation of mobile phones, iPods and other MP3 players. For 2010, Sync adds the ability to acquire driving directions, traffic conditions and other information by pairing with Bluetooth-enabled phones. Drivers will also appreciate the overhead conversation mirror, which makes keeping tabs on rear-seat occupants easy and safe.
In addition to the expected buttery-smooth ride and crypt-like silence inside the cabin, the 2010 Lincoln Navigator might surprise you with its relatively agile maneuverability. However, compared to its main rival, the Cadillac Escalade, the Navigator's V8 is noticeably down on power. This is especially true if said V8 is trying to motivate an L version that's loaded down with cargo or towing a trailer. The Navigator's six-speed automatic shifts quickly, but in some passing situations it has difficulty finding the appropriate gear.