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Due to its increasingly dated design, we think there are better choices for a luxury SUV than the 2013 Lincoln Navigator.
Plush ride; comfortable seating in all three rows; power-folding third-row seat; typically less expensive than comparable rivals.
V8 engine feels overworked under heavy loads; cumbersome handling; many interior surfaces and buttons feel cheap; antiquated electronics interface.
Available Navigator SUV Models
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For 2013 the Lincoln Navigator continues with no changes of note.
We'll say this: The 2013 Lincoln Navigator still has plenty of presence. A massive, squared-jawed face and an imposing profile with chrome flourishes highlight the exterior, while genuine wood accents and more luxury features than you can count are found inside. And thanks to its rugged and traditional body-on-frame construction, the Navigator can take on the heavy towing tasks that would send even the largest crossover scurrying back to the safety of its suburban driveway. Beyond that, however, the Navigator has little to offer.
The current Navigator's platform is one of the oldest in the segment, dating back to 2007 for its last redesign. It shows in what's under the hood: an aging 5.4-liter V8 that's underwhelming in the power department when compared to its notably stronger rivals. Inside, the Navigator is further let down by mediocre cabin materials and an electronics interface that's less advanced than what Lincoln 's currently installing in its other vehicles like the MKX and MKZ.
As large luxury SUVs go, the Lincoln Navigator's main competition includes the 2013 Cadillac Escalade and the 2013 Mercedes-Benz GL-Class . Both provide more powerful performance and better handling. There's also the Lexus LX 570 which, in addition to its well-rounded refinement, boasts superior off-road skills. All of them have tighter construction, higher-quality cabins and more modern designs than the Navigator.
Of course, if the capabilities of a supersized, truck-based SUV are not really needed, we suggest looking at a considerably less thirsty, less cumbersome full-size crossover such as the 2013 Ford Flex or Mazda CX-9. Given this wealth of choice, we see little reason to purchase a 2013 Lincoln Navigator.
The 2013 Lincoln Navigator is a full-size luxury SUV offered in two sizes: regular and extended-wheelbase Navigator L. Both models have three-row, seven-passenger seating. The second-row bucket seats can be replaced with a three-person 40/20/40-split bench that increases seating capacity to eight.
Standard equipment includes 18-inch alloy wheels, parking sensors, a power liftgate, power-folding running boards, a rearview camera, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, dual-zone automatic climate control with rear auxiliary controls, heated and ventilated power front seats, driver memory settings, leather upholstery, power-adjustable pedals, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, heated second-row seats and a power-folding third-row bench. Also standard are the Sync voice command system, Bluetooth, a navigation system, a touchscreen electronics interface and a 14-speaker surround-sound audio system with HD radio, satellite radio, a USB/iPod interface and an auxiliary audio jack.
If the glut of exterior chrome is too overwhelming for buttoned-down owners, Lincoln offers a Monochrome Appearance package that softens the Navigator's attitude with body-colored elements. A similar Monochrome Limited Edition package includes unique leather upholstery and Olive Ash wood trim. Other options include 20-inch chromed wheels, a sunroof, a heavy-duty tow package and a rear-seat entertainment system with twin headrest-mounted screens.
The 2013 Lincoln Navigator comes standard with a 5.4-liter V8 that's rated at 310 horsepower and 365 pound-feet of torque. It's connected to a six-speed automatic transmission. Buyers can choose between rear- and all-wheel-drive models, the latter featuring an electronically controlled single-speed transfer case.
The last Navigator L tested by Edmunds accelerated from zero to 60 mph in 8.2 seconds, certainly not slow in general terms yet well off the pace for this segment. Properly equipped, a rear-wheel-drive Navigator is capable of towing up to 9,000 pounds.
EPA fuel economy estimates stand at 14 mpg city/20 mpg highway and 16 mpg combined for the 2WD model. The 4WD Navigator is rated at 13/18/15.
The 2013 Lincoln Navigator comes standard with stability control (with a rollover sensor), traction control, antilock disc brakes, front-seat side airbags, three-row side curtain airbags and a post-crash alert system. The standard programmable MyKey system allows parents to specify speed limits and stereo volumes for their teenage drivers.
In government crash testing, the Navigator received four out of five stars for overall crash protection, with four stars for frontal impact protection and five stars for side impact protection. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety awarded the Navigator its highest possible rating of "Good" in the frontal-offset, side and roof strength tests.
The Navigator comes with virtually every high-end feature imaginable, from heated and ventilated front seats to power-retractable running boards. You'll definitely feel pampered, but its retro design has lost its luster and some of the materials are subpar for the class. The silver-painted buttons in particular look rather cheap.
On the upside, the 2013 Lincoln Navigator offers one of the most accommodating interiors in the segment. Seating comfort is excellent, and the seats make way for cargo with ease. The second row folds down manually, but the power-folding third-row seat is easily stowed, opening up a flat load floor. (You must physically remove an Escalade's third row.) The base Navigator holds a respectable 104 cubic feet of cargo. The longer Navigator L, thanks to its additional space behind the rear seats, offers a generous 128 cubic feet of cargo storage and also provides easier access into those third-row seats when they are up.
The voice-operated Sync system is particularly useful; among other functions, it allows you to control your cell phone and iPod (or other MP3 player) without removing your hands from the steering wheel. Also, the AppLink adds voice command capability to select smartphone applications, and allows you to use apps like Pandora for your favorite music. Unfortunately, the Navigator's small touchscreen isn't as useful or user-friendly as the electronics interfaces found in competitor vehicles.
The 2013 Lincoln Navigator delivers what's expected from a luxury vehicle: a supple ride quality and a hushed cabin that largely insulates its passengers from the outside world. Alas, it also exhibits the flaws of such a big, old-school SUV, with noticeable trucklike body roll in sharp turns. And since the Navigator L measures almost 19 feet long, it can be a handful in tight parking situations with its 44-foot turning circle. The regular-wheelbase model isn't much better.
Acceleration seems satisfactory until you compare it to its significantly gutsier competition or fill it up with people and gear. Ford's 5.4-liter V8 never was the most spirited truck engine on the market, and towing a full load just reinforces the Navigator's most glaring shortcoming.
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