There is little doubt that the 2018 Lincoln Navigator is the star of the brand's lineup. It doesn't have the heritage of the Continental or the sales numbers of the MKC, but neither of those vehicles has the presence of the newly redesigned full-size Navigator SUV.
Much of the credit goes to the new exterior design that maintains the Navigator's overall proportions yet gives it a fresh look. The grille now mimics the style of the Continental, which is an upgrade over the current Navigator's rows of chrome "teeth." The front end of the new Navigator looks more finished and cohesive, which is not surprising since the previous version underwent a face-lift that never quite looked right.
As polished as this Navigator is on the outside, it's the interior that makes it stand out. It's huge inside, as you might expect, but even in the standard-size version (there will be an extended-length L model with added cargo room) there's enough room for six adults to ride comfortably. Up front, the driver and front passenger can get the same 30-way power-adjustable seats introduced in the Continental, while the second row offers captain's chairs or a three-person bench to bump the total capacity to seven. The second-row captain's chairs adjust fore and aft and tilt forward to make third-row access easy. An optional center console can be added that includes audio controls and storage. There are auxiliary climate controls, too, but they reside on the back of the front console.
One thing you won't see in this Navigator is clutter. Other than the giant touchscreen interface, there are few buttons, knobs or switches on the dashboard. Lincoln's signature transmission buttons have been tastefully integrated in a way that makes them easy to reach yet visually out of the way. There are few easily accessible controls for the radio and climate system on the center console, but none of it looks overwhelmingly complex. The instrument panel is a wide, reconfigurable screen with tons of customization features, yet even that screen defaults to the most basic information. There's extensive storage space as well, both in front of the center console and inside of it. There's definitely a feeling of spaciousness from the driver's seat that some of its foreign rivals lack.
All that space inside results in a huge vehicle on the outside, so the standard engine for the Navigator will be a twin-turbo V6 with a 10-speed automatic transmission. Its power output has not been certified yet, but Lincoln's engineers expect it will top out at 450 horsepower and 500 pound-feet of torque. That should be more than enough motivation to assure that this Navigator will still have plenty of towing capability and exceptional performance when it's not towing anything. There are multiple drive modes that adjust the steering, suspension and engine calibrations according to the terrain or type of driving you expect to encounter. Best if that terrain doesn't include rough roads since the smallest wheels on the base Navigator measure 20 inches in diameter. There are four additional wheel options, all of them measuring 22 inches across.
The 2018 Lincoln Navigator is scheduled to arrive at dealers this fall. No pricing has been announced yet.