For shoppers with big families, buying a minivan or a three-row crossover is often the way to go. In fact, with their impressive fuel economy and long lists of features, you might even prefer one. But for those scenarios where you need maximum seating capacity and the ability to pull a trailer behind you, only a big, traditional truck-based SUV like the 2017 Lincoln Navigator will do.
While it does have a class-leading 9,000-pound towing capacity and seven seats standard, the Lincoln Navigator gives you a lot more than just rugged capability. It's also a luxury vehicle filled with creature comforts. On the highway, the Navigator is impressively quiet and comfortable, and its turbocharged V6 engine is powerful and makes for an easy driving experience regardless of your payload. The Navigator also has one of the largest interiors of any SUV, so interior space will seldom be a concern.
If a big and capable SUV is what you're after, there are just a few other choices. The obvious competition comes from the Cadillac Escalade. This bold-looking SUV also provides a towering towing capacity and plenty of luxury features, but we're partial towards the Navigator because of its superior road manners. Other options you might want to look at include the Mercedes-Benz GLS-Class and the Land Rover Range Rover. Both are more prestigious than the Lincoln and can be had with more up-to-date technology features, but they do come up short on cargo space and towing capacity. Overall, we think the 2017 Lincoln Navigator holds it own here, and its combination of utility and luxury should make it worthy of a close look.
Safety equipment that comes standard on the 2017 Lincoln Navigator includes antilock disc brakes, stability and 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, a rearview camera, blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert are also standard. The standard programmable MyKey system allows owners to specify speed limits and stereo volume limits for secondary drivers (think teenagers and valets).
At the Edmunds test track, a four-wheel-drive Navigator came to a stop from 60 mph in a simulated panic stop in 125 feet. That's on par with SUVs in this class.
The 2017 Navigator hasn't been crash tested yet, but in last year's test, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gave it a top overall rating of five stars (out of a possible five), with five stars for frontal-impact and side-impact protection.
trim levels & features
The 2017 Lincoln Navigator is a full-size luxury SUV that's available in two sizes: the standard-wheelbase and the extended-wheelbase Navigator L. Both lengths have three-row seating, with captain's chairs in both the first and second row. This places the Navigator's standard seating capacity at seven passengers, but an available three-person 40/20/40 split second-row bench seat increases seating capacity to eight.
Both versions of the Navigator (standard and long-wheelbase) come in two trims: Select and Reserve.
Standard features on the Select includes 20-inch wheels, automatic bi-xenon headlights, a heavy-duty tow package, front and rear parking sensors, automatic wipers, rear privacy glass, a power liftgate, power-folding running boards, keyless ignition and entry, dual-zone automatic climate control (with rear auxiliary controls), a power tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, driver memory settings, first- and second-row leather upholstery (with third-row vinyl), heated and ventilated eight-way power front seats (with power lumbar), power-adjustable pedals, second-row captain's chairs and a power-folding 60/40 split third-row bench.
Also included are an auto-dimming rearview mirror, a 110-volt household-style power outlet, the Sync 3 interface with an 8-inch touchscreen, voice controls, navigation, Bluetooth connectivity, a rearview camera, smartphone app integration and a 14-speaker surround-sound audio system with HD/satellite radio and two USB ports.
The Reserve adds 22-inch wheels, adaptive suspension dampers, a two-tone exterior paint scheme and upgraded leather upholstery that covers the doors, dash and console.
Individual options include a sunroof, heated second-row seats, different 22-inch wheels (sold in combination with the adaptive suspension) and second-row console storage (between the captain's chairs). A rear-seat entertainment system with twin, independent 7-inch headrest-mounted screens is sold as an accessory.
The 2017 Lincoln Navigator is powered by a 3.5-liter turbocharged V6 engine that puts out 380 horsepower and 460 pound-feet of torque. A six-speed automatic transmission and rear-wheel drive are standard. A light-duty four-wheel-drive system (no low-range gearing) is optional.
When we put a four-wheel-drive Navigator through testing at the Edmunds test track, it went from zero to 60 mph in 6.7 seconds, an average time for a full-size luxury SUV.
There are four nearly identical EPA estimates for the various trims and lengths of the 2017 Lincoln Navigator. The standard length, two-wheel-drive model is rated at 17 mpg combined (15 mpg city/21 mpg highway), while the four-wheel-drive version gets a similar 17 mpg combined (15 city/20 highway). The long-wheelbase versions come in at 17 mpg combined (15 city/20 highway) and 16 mpg combined (15 city/19 highway) for 2WD and 4WD, respectively.
Properly equipped, a rear-wheel-drive Navigator is capable of towing up to 9,000 pounds. For a bit of context, the Escalade tops out at 8,300 pounds and the Mercedes GLS-Class reaches its towing limit at 7,500 pounds.
The 2017 Lincoln Navigator is a quiet, smooth and pleasant SUV to drive on the highway. Its turbocharged V6 provides plenty of power for swift acceleration, towing and maintaining speed on long uphill grades. We also like the way it goes around turns. Though undeniably heavy, it certainly feels more nimble than the Cadillac Escalade, and its independent rear suspension and optional adaptive suspension dampers combine for an excellent ride on the open road. Get the Navigator off the highway, though, and its appeal dims. There's just no getting around its massive size, which makes it a handful to maneuver and park in crowded cities.
From a strictly viewed-not-touched perspective, the 2017 Lincoln Navigator is welcoming and classy. Even the seats and high-quality leather upholstery continue the narrative that the Lincoln is a truly luxurious vehicle. Unfortunately, there are multiple hard, low-quality plastics that you come in contact with quite a bit in the cabin. Many of the knobs, trim pieces and instrument stalks feel like they've come right out of the Navigator's less-expensive sibling, the Ford Expedition. Depending on your expectations that can detract from the luxury experience a bit.
The center console, with Sync 3 front and center, offers a clean, logical layout for navigation, audio, phone and climate controls. There is a learning curve with Sync, but the new system is designed similarly to a smartphone, using gestures such as pinch-to-zoom or swipes. Once you connect your phone it can access your weather, music and other integrated smartphone apps. Unfortunately, Lincoln doesn't offer integrated systems in the Navigator such as Apple CarPlay or Android Auto yet.
When it comes to sheer size and how it translates to interior space, the Navigator is almost unrivaled. Passengers in the standard first- and second-row captain's chairs enjoy comfortable accommodations with plenty of room to stretch out. Even in the standard-wheelbase version, the third row feels remarkably spacious. The captain's chairs in the second row and abundant headroom help with the awkward climb to the third row. And then there's the cargo space.
Easing cargo-loading chores is the standard power-folding third-row seat that folds flat into the floor with the touch of a button, and returns upright just as effortlessly. Behind the third row in the standard-length Navigator, there is 18.1 cubic feet of space. Fold the second and third row down and suddenly that figure bulges to 103 cubes. The extended Navigator L has more than 42 cubic feet of cargo space behind the third row and an expansive 128 cubic feet when you fold the second and third row. The closest competitor is the Escalade ESV, with its 120 cubes of cargo.
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.