Used 2003 Lincoln Navigator Review

Edmunds expert review

The 2003 Navigator is much improved over the previous version. With wow-factor playthings like power-deploying running boards and liftgate, more Lincolns will appear in the garages of hipsters, young and old.

What's new for 2003

The 2003 Navigator may look like the previous year's, but significant changes underneath the sheet metal, such as a new suspension system and sophisticated new technologies, allow the Lincoln to continue to be a popular and respected choice in the luxury SUV market.

Vehicle overview

Model HistoryThe Navigator, Lincoln's first truck, fanned the flames of the luxury SUV craze when it was introduced in 1998. It also widened Lincoln's appeal to a bigger audience than well-to-do grandpoppies. Feeding off the notion that bigger is better, the original Navigator was little more than a Ford Expedition Eddie Bauer Edition with more chrome, a higher price tag and tacked-on goodies. For 2003, Lincoln rectifies some of its past misdeeds with a newly engineered suspension, high-tech toys and a sumptuous interior.

Body Styles and Trim LevelsThree trim levels are available: Luxury, which is the base model, comes equipped with such luxury items like dual-zone climate control, an in-dash six-disc changer, roof rack and power-folding side mirrors. The Premium will get you the AdvanceTrac stability control system, heated and cooled seats. Still not satisfied? Opting for the Ultimate trim allows for the power liftgate, power-fold third row seats and high-intensity discharge headlamps. Options for all levels include a navigation system, AdvanceTrac, a DVD rear-seat entertainment system, a tire pressure monitor and heated and cooled seats. The power deploying running boards are exclusive to the Ultimate model. Powertrains and PerformanceLike the '02 model, the Navigator is powered by smoothly operating, 300-horsepower, dual overhead-cam, 5.4-liter V8 engine with 355 pound-feet of torque. Fuel mileage, as expected, leaves something to be desired. With a 30-gallon tank to fill, you might want to keep that in mind. It's mated to a four-speed automatic transmission, and the truck can tow up to 8,000 pounds. The Navigator can be propelled via the rear wheels or by all four wheels. Unlike the previous Navigator, the new truck features an independent rear suspension and air springs, both of which help to improve ride quality and handling. Thanks to a strengthened frame, the Navigator also sees a 70 percent improvement in torsional rigidity and 67 percent better resistance to bending. One of our big complaints of the '02 Navigator was its ungainly turning circle; for 2003, it's been tightened by a couple of feet thanks to a new rack and pinion steering that replaces the old recirculating ball design.

SafetyThe Navigator is replete with the latest safety systems, such as side curtain airbags, electronic brakeforce distribution and brake assist. AdvanceTrac stability control, combined with the ControlTrack four-wheel drive system, allows the Navigator to progress even if only one wheel has traction. Vehicles without AdvanceTrac come with a limited-slip differential. Optional is a tire monitoring system.

Interior Design and Special FeaturesThe Navigator's interior space was always one of its selling points, whether you're carrying seven or eight passengers. Should you opt for the three-passenger second row seat, you'll find that the middle section slides forward 11 inches so that Precious can be closer to you. The third row seat offers best-in-class legroom. A power-fold option allows for easy access to the cargo space, as does a power liftgate. Power deploying sideboards, available on the Ultimate model, facilitates egress and ingress just in case the air suspension doesn't lower the truck enough. A DVD entertainment system keeps the troops mesmerized and quiet. The Navigator's interior has also been upgraded, with copious amounts of walnut burl wood, leather trim and classy metal accents.

Driving ImpressionsWhile we have yet to drive the new Navigator, we expect it to be quite superior to the previous model, especially when it comes to handling and ride quality.

Edmunds expert review process

This review was written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.

We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.