Full 2014 Lincoln Navigator Review
What's New for 2014
For 2014 the Lincoln Navigator returns unchanged.
There's no denying that the full-size 2014 Lincoln Navigator SUV offers some desirable attributes. There simply aren't that many luxury vehicles out there that can seat eight passengers in comfort, swallow a small mountain of cargo or tow a 9,000-pound trailer, and do it all with style. However, we suspect very few luxury SUV shoppers truly need this rare combination of abilities. And those who do will likely be better served by one of the Lincoln's newer, more up-to-date rivals.
First off, the Navigator hasn't received a substantial overhaul since 2007, and it's beginning to show its age in a variety of areas. A key example is the full-size Lincoln's 5.4-liter V8 engine, which feels anemic compared with the more muscular V8 engines powering its rivals. Inside, an uninspired design and so-so materials just don't measure up to the richer-looking interiors in competitors. What's more, the Navigator doesn't feature Lincoln's latest touchscreen electronics interface, and it offers less functionality as a result.
With all that in mind, it should come as no surprise that we suggest that shoppers considering the 2014 Lincoln Navigator check out a few alternatives before making up their mind. If you're set on buying a large, three-row luxury SUV, we'd suggest taking a look at the 2014 Cadillac Escalade, the larger Cadillac Escalade ESV or the Mercedes-Benz GL-Class. All offer better performance and handling, albeit with higher price tags. The Lexus LX 570 is another excellent choice, blessed as it is with a highly refined powertrain, impressive off-road capability and downright posh interior appointments.
On the other hand, if carrying seven or eight passengers is your main priority, consider large car-based crossovers like the Buick Enclave, Ford Flex or Lincoln's own MKT. You'll find similarly roomy interiors in these crossovers (although the MKT in snug in the third row), but with better fuel economy and more civilized road manners. Granted, they can't match the Navigator's substantial towing capacities. But unless you're towing a trailer and transporting large numbers of passengers on a regular basis, there are quite a few SUVs and crossovers we'd recommend ahead of the 2014 Lincoln Navigator.
Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
The 2014 Lincoln Navigator is a full-size luxury SUV that's available in two models: the standard Navigator and the extended-wheelbase Navigator L. Both feature three rows of seats that, with the standard second-row captain's chairs, can accommodate a total of seven passengers. An available three-person 40/20/40-split second-row bench seat increases seating capacity to eight.
The Navigator's list of standard equipment includes 18-inch alloy wheels, xenon headlights, foglights, front and rear parking sensors, rain-sensing wipers, rear privacy glass, a power liftgate, power-folding running boards, dual-zone automatic climate control with rear auxiliary controls, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, leather upholstery, heated and ventilated eight-way power front seats, driver seat memory settings, heated second-row captain's chairs and a power-folding 60/40-split third-row bench.
Also included as standard are an auto-dimming rearview mirror, a 110-volt household-style power outlet, the Sync voice command system, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, a rearview camera, a 6.5-inch touchscreen display, 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 input jack.
If you find the standard Navigator's abundance of chrome a little overwhelming, an available Monochrome Appearance package tones things down a bit. A related Monochrome Limited Edition option package (Equipment Group 101A) goes even further, adding a sunroof, unique leather upholstery and wood trim. Other options include 20-inch chromed wheels, a load-leveling rear suspension, a heavy-duty tow package, a second-row 40/20/40-split bench seat and a rear-seat DVD entertainment system with twin 7-inch headrest-mounted screens.
Powertrains and Performance
Power for the 2014 Lincoln Navigator comes from a 5.4-liter V8 engine that puts out 310 horsepower and 365 pound-feet of torque. A six-speed automatic transmission and rear-wheel drive are standard. A light-duty four-wheel-drive system with an electronically controlled single-speed transfer case is available as an option.
The last Navigator L tested by Edmunds accelerated from zero to 60 mph in 8.2 seconds: not slow in general terms but well off the pace for this segment. Properly equipped, a rear-wheel-drive Navigator is capable of towing up to 9,000 pounds. This is a good number for this class, but more powerful competitors feel stronger and more capable when towing on hilly terrain, in spite of their numerically lower towing capacities.
Official EPA estimated fuel economy is 16 mpg in combined driving (14 city/20 highway) for the two-wheel-drive model. The four-wheel-drive Navigator is rated at 15 mpg combined (13/18).
The 2014 Lincoln Navigator comes standard with antilock disc brakes, stability control (with a rollover sensor), traction control, trailer sway control, front-seat side airbags, three-row side curtain airbags and a post-crash alert system. Front and rear parking sensors and a rearview camera are also standard. The standard programmable MyKey system allows parents to specify speed limits and stereo volume limits 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.
Interior Design and Special Features
Step inside the 2014 Lincoln Navigator and you'll find an upscale environment filled with a long list of luxury amenities, from heated and ventilated front seats to a 14-speaker surround-sound audio system. While the overall effect is pleasant enough, the design looks a bit stodgy and the quality of some of the materials doesn't measure up to the furnishings in many competitors.
Perhaps this interior's greatest strength is its sheer size. Passengers in the standard first- and second-row captain's chairs enjoy comfortable accommodations with plenty of room to stretch out. Even the third row feels relatively spacious, though the climb to get back there is best left to the young and limber.
When it comes to hauling cargo, both Navigator models excel. With all the rear seats folded, the shorter-wheelbase version offers a healthy 104 cubic feet of cargo room, while the extended Navigator L comes in at an expansive 128 cubic feet. More importantly, the standard power-folding third-row seat stows neatly beneath the floor with the touch of a button, a huge advantage over the Cadillac Escalade, which requires you to remove and store its heavy third-row seats.
Gauges and controls are straightforward and intuitive. Ford's Sync system allows you to make calls and play the music stored on your iPod or smartphone with simple voice commands without having to take your eyes off the road. The AppLink feature lets you use selected smartphone audio applications in much the same manner. One notable negative is the small touchscreen display, which isn't as easy to use as the interfaces in competitors or the rest of the Lincoln lineup.
On the road, the 2014 Lincoln Navigator fulfills its luxury promise with a quiet cabin and a smooth, unruffled ride quality. Given its imposing dimensions and truck-based underpinnings, however, handling around turns is ponderous. In addition, the Navigator's wide turning circle, combined with its sheer size, makes it a handful in crowded parking lots. Although many of the Navigator's rivals are also oversized, most handle and steer with more precision than the big Lincoln.
Considered on its own, the 5.4-liter V8 engine under the Navigator's hood might seem like a perfectly acceptable choice. Its subpar performance stands out, however, when you drive the Lincoln back to back with competitors that have more muscular power plants. Load the Navigator up with passengers and cargo or hook up a good-sized trailer and this shortcoming becomes even more apparent.