- Powerful new engine and adjustable pedals for height-challenged drivers.
- Questionable styling and expensive compared to its corporate twin, the Expedition.
Into its second year, Lincoln's Navigator enters 1999 with more power, adjustable pedals, speed-sensitive stereo volume and a hands-free cellular phone. Also, the optional third-row seat is mounted on rollers this year for easy installation and removal.
Based on Ford's hot-selling Expedition, the Navigator is the first truck ever sold by Lincoln. Second in size only to the Chevrolet Suburban/GMC Yukon, Lincoln differentiates the Navigator from its Ford-based brethren with a massive chrome grille, additional body cladding, and a host of luxury items. With a list of standard features like load leveling air suspension, power heated outside mirrors, and second row climate/audio controls, this is one SUV that won't let you forget it's a Lincoln.
Last year's 5.4-liter 16-valve V8 will be replaced mid-year by a more powerful Intech 5.4-liter engine. With DOHC 32-valve technology, horsepower jumps from 230 to 300 and maximum torque increases from 325 to 360 foot-pounds. This engine will be available in Lincolns with either the two- or four-wheel drive configuration.
Four-wheel drive models come with Lincoln's adjustable Control Trac system that can be set in one of three positions by turning a dash-mounted knob. In A4WD mode, the system uses only the rear-wheels unless slippage is detected; in which case it applies power to the front wheels until rear-wheel traction is regained. In 4H mode, power to the front wheels is constantly engaged which is ideal for snow, ice, and shallow mud or sand at normal speeds. Finally, in 4L mode, engine torque is multiplied by a factor of 2.64 for climbing up steep grades or out of deep snow.
Other option changes for 1999 include an Alpine audio system, a hands-free cellular phone, and heated front seats. As an eight passenger SUV with limo-like luxury, it's hard to call the Navigator a truck, even with the Kenworth-like chrome grille. And with a base price approaching 40 grand (more if you want four-wheel drive), the Navigator is no bargain when compared to the Expedition. But with an advanced four-wheel drive system, optional skid plates, and 300 horses under the hood, it can certainly take you places no previous Lincoln ever could.