2018 Lincoln Navigator

2018 Lincoln Navigator Review

Faster and more luxurious, the 2018 Lincoln Navigator is one of our favorite luxury SUVs.
4.5 star edmunds overall rating
author
by Travis Langness
Edmunds Editor

Even before its redesign, the Lincoln Navigator was one of our favorite luxury SUVs. Capable of comfortably hauling plenty of people and cargo while also towing a heavy load, the Navigator packed lots of versatility, even if it didn't have quite the gravitas of some other rival SUVs. This year's Navigator, however, should hold more sway with valet attendants.

Outside, the Navigator has an entirely fresh and appealing new look. Up front, there's a simultaneously sleek and massive grille and new LED headlights. Under the hood is an impressive new powertrain. The Navigator is powered by a revised turbocharged 3.5-liter V6 that now cranks out a stout 450 horsepower. Putting that power to the ground is a new 10-speed automatic transmission that replaces last year's six-speed automatic. Ten speeds may seem like overkill, but you'll hardly notice the shifting, and the additional gearing helps improve both acceleration and fuel economy.

Inside, the Navigator uses top-notch materials on every panel and offers updated, modern tech behind the infotainment screen and three rows of adult-size seating with a massive amount of cargo space to back them up. As with other amply sized models of this class, the Navigator isn't the easiest to drive in crowded urban areas, but overall we think it will be one of the nicest luxury SUVs on the market for 2018.



what's new

The 2018 Lincoln Navigator is completely redesigned.

we recommend

While the base Premiere trim level is appealing for its lower starting price and the topped-out Black Label trim comes with almost everything as standard, our recommendation falls right in the middle of the lineup. We say go with the Select trim level with the optional Technology package. The Select trim level gets the benefit of the surround-view parking camera system and the adaptive suspension, while the Technology package adds all sorts of desirable top-end safety equipment such as adaptive cruise control and lane departure warning and intervention.

trim levels & features

The 2018 Lincoln Navigator is available in four trim levels: Premiere, Select, Reserve and Black Label. All trims are powered by the same turbocharged 3.5-liter V6 (450 hp, 500 lb-ft) paired to a 10-speed automatic transmission. Rear-wheel drive is standard and four-wheel drive is optional for the first three trims; the Black Label gets 4WD as standard.

The base Premiere trim level is standard wheelbase only, and the Select, Reserve and Black Label models are all available in standard-wheelbase and extended-wheelbase (Navigator L) sizes.

Standard feature highlights on the Premiere include 20-inch wheels, LED headlights, a trailer towing package, front and rear parking sensors, a power hands-free liftgate, keyless ignition and entry, tri-zone automatic climate control, a power tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, driver-seat memory settings, first- and second-row leather upholstery (third-row vinyl), eight-way power front seats (with power lumbar adjustment and heating), power-adjustable pedals, power-folding second-row captain's chairs with heating, and a power-folding 60/40-split third-row bench.

Also included is a configurable gauge cluster display, 10-inch touchscreen display with the Sync 3 interface, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, six USB ports throughout the cabin, voice controls, navigation, a rearview camera, blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, and a 14-speaker surround-sound audio system.

The Select adds 22-inch wheels, adaptive suspension dampers, power-folding running boards, upgraded leather upholstery, a heated steering wheel, a surround-view parking camera system and a wireless charging pad for personal devices. Just a bit further up the ladder is the Reserve trim that adds exterior welcome lights, 24-way power-adjustable front seats (with ventilation), illuminated seat belt buckles and a panoramic sunroof.

Optional for both the Select and Reserve is the Technology package (adaptive cruise control, forward collision mitigation with automatic braking, a head-up display, lane departure warning and intervention, an automated parking system and automatic high beams) and a Heavy Duty Trailer Tow package.

The Black Label Navigator adds the above two option packages as standard plus additional chrome exterior trim, upgraded leather upholstery, ambient interior lighting and a 20-speaker stereo system.

Some of the upper trim level items are available as stand-alone or packaged options on the lower trim levels. Other notable options include a rear-seat entertainment system (with dual headrest-mounted displays) and 30-way front seats with massage.

Both the standard- and extended-wheelbase versions have three-row seating, with captain's chairs in both the first and second rows. This places the Navigator's standard seating capacity at seven passengers, but a three-person, 40/20/40-split second-row bench seat that increases seating capacity to eight is available on the Premiere, Select and Reserve trims.

trim tested

Each vehicle typically comes in multiple versions that are fundamentally similar. The ratings in this review are based on our full test of the 2018 Lincoln Navigator Reserve (twin-turbo 3.5L V6 | 10-speed automatic | 4WD).

Edmunds Scorecard

Overall4.5 / 5.0

Driving

4.0 / 5.0

Acceleration4.5 / 5.0
Braking3.5 / 5.0
Steering3.5 / 5.0
Handling3.5 / 5.0
Drivability4.0 / 5.0

Comfort

4.0 / 5.0

Seat comfort4.5 / 5.0
Ride comfort3.5 / 5.0
Noise & vibration4.0 / 5.0
Climate control4.0 / 5.0

Interior

4.5 / 5.0

Ease of use3.5 / 5.0
Getting in/getting out5.0 / 5.0
Driving position5.0 / 5.0
Roominess5.0 / 5.0
Visibility3.5 / 5.0
Quality4.5 / 5.0

Utility

4.5 / 5.0

Small-item storage5.0 / 5.0
Cargo space4.5 / 5.0

Technology

4.5 / 5.0

Audio & navigation5.0 / 5.0
Smartphone integration4.5 / 5.0
Driver aids4.5 / 5.0
Voice control3.5 / 5.0

driving

edmunds rating
Considering the size and weight of the Navigator, it does a surprisingly good job of keeping itself tidy. The drivetrain is quick and responsive, the steering is low effort, and the suspension is relatively slop-free. The one caveat is it performs best on premium fuel, which may get expensive.

acceleration

edmunds rating
This is a great engine. It's flexible and offers plenty of top-end power to get you up to speed in a hurry. The twin-turbo V6 can run on 87 octane, but it's octane-sensitive and performs better on premium. Regular fuel is fine for daily use, but we'd recommend premium fuel for any towing needs.

braking

edmunds rating
Big vehicles tend to move more under hard braking, and the Navigator is no exception. That said, braking performance is perfectly adequate for the class; it needed 136 feet to stop from 60 mph. In typical driving, the brake pedal is light and effortless, and you can slow with limo-like smoothness.

steering

edmunds rating
The light steering effort helps make the Navigator feel like a smaller vehicle. It's also quick enough to make you feel like you are not wheeling around the Titanic. The trade-off is low amounts of feedback, but that's common in this class.

handling

edmunds rating
A decent handler for its size, it feels good around town and even on tight roads. We wouldn't go so far as to call it sporty, but for the amount of comfort it provides, it's not the clumsy behemoth you'd expect it to be either. Our tester had an adaptive suspension, but it was hard to notice.

drivability

edmunds rating
The stop-start system is nicely unobtrusive. Some of the low-gear downshifts feel unrefined in this 10-speed automatic, but otherwise kickdown response and the readily available engine power make it pretty easy to wheel around. The paddle shifters make it easy to select a proper gear for a grade.

comfort

edmunds rating
There's much comfort to be had in the Navigator. The climate control works effectively to keep you delightfully cool or toasty as you're insulated from much of the noise outside. The adaptive suspension is good at filtering out sharp impacts, but it's less adept at managing movement over wavy roads.

seat comfort

edmunds rating
Lincoln's Perfect Position seats offer more adjustments than necessary but will suit many body types. It takes a while to find your settings, but once you do, comfort is sublime. Touchscreen controls minimize confusion, and the massage function is good for circulation if you sit for long periods.

ride comfort

edmunds rating
In the Normal and Comfort settings, the suspension is great at softening sharp bumps or pavement changes. On continuously undulating surfaces, there can be a lot of body movement, which borders on uncomfortable. In the Sport setting, the ride is noticeably busier but without much performance gain.

noise & vibration

edmunds rating
Wind and road noise is pretty minimal, and only a small amount of ambient noise sneaks through. The engine is quiet at cruise, only turning vocal when you romp on it, and it's not unpleasant-sounding either. No rattles or squeaks were heard in cabin, which is kind of remarkable in such a big SUV.

climate control

edmunds rating
Climate controls are mostly physical buttons, with a few additional functions, such as the rear climate control, accessed through the touchscreen. The main controls are easy to access, and the system is effective at moderating cabin temperature with low fan noise. Great seat heaters and coolers.

interior

edmunds rating
The Navigator has interior room in spades, and its smart design and good execution maximize ease of access to that space. A lot of controls require some familiarization time, but ultimately they are easy to use. Cameras help you maneuver this large SUV in tight spaces.

ease of use

edmunds rating
Most controls are clearly labeled and easy to find with the exception of a few, such as the one for folding the rear headrests. The Sync touchscreen is easy to move through and boots up fast for near instant rearview camera access. The fancy digital gauge cluster serves little functionality.

getting in/getting out

edmunds rating
The large door openings, well-placed grab handles and retractable step rails that deploy as you approach the car make getting in and out a breeze. The second row tilts and slides, which makes for pretty easy third-row access. It doesn't get much better for such a big SUV.

driving position

edmunds rating
The driving position is really good thanks to adjustable pedals combined with a tilt-and-telescoping steering column. It helps extend the range of driver comfort, and of course the endlessly adjustable seats provide a fine degree of tailoring. You sit upright, which helps you see over many things.

roominess

edmunds rating
There is no shortage of space. The second row feels like another set of front seats, especially with the dual captain's chairs and a large center console. The third row has decent space for adults, and the seats are higher off the floor, so your knees aren't level with your chest.

visibility

edmunds rating
For its size, visibility is decent. The third-row headrests fold out of view, good-size windows all around help the view over the shoulder, and the sideview mirrors feel adequate. In left turns, the chunky front pillars can obscure people in the crosswalk. The 360-degree camera system is excellent.

quality

edmunds rating
Design has brought Lincoln a long way. The floating center console, touchscreen arrangement, and wrapped dash elevate the Navigator's appeal to new heights. There are a few cheap-looking switches and the wood trim looks synthetic, but otherwise all the touch points are pleasant and well-padded.

utility

edmunds rating
If it's space you want, it's what you'll get, even without the extended L Navigator model. There's an abundance of in-cabin storage for everyone's personal effects and power-folding seats make loading longer cargo items a breeze. Need to tow something? You can handle up to 8,300 pounds.

small-item storage

edmunds rating
Cabin storage is excellent. There are a ton of cubbies and a wide, open rubberized space beneath the center console. The center armrest has a nice two-tier storage bin that's quite deep. Door pockets are large and multitiered for front and second-row seats; the third row has a couple of cupholders.

cargo space

edmunds rating
There's 19.3 cubic feet behind the third row, 57.5 cubes behind the second row, and 103.3 cubes with all rear seats folded. All seats fold flat electronically, and the third row unfolds under power. The second-row center console sits higher than the seat bottoms, preventing a fully flat load area.

child safety seat accomodation

edmunds rating
The LATCH anchors are slightly tucked away in the seat creases, which make them a little hard to access. The top tethers are easy to access, and there's plenty of space to fit a rear-facing car seat.

technology

edmunds rating
With an excellent infotainment interface, superb sound-system quality, comprehensive driving aids and ample device-charging options, the Navigator has embraced the latest technology without reservation. Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and a Wi-Fi hotspot are icing on the cake.

audio & navigation

edmunds rating
The premium 20-speaker Revel surround-sound system provides an immersive experience and is easily configurable for those who don't have extensive audio knowledge. Sound quality is impressive, too. The native navigation system works well, but it doesn't offer anything revolutionary.

smartphone integration

edmunds rating
Apple CarPlay and Android Auto work well, except that CarPlay defaults to Apple Maps in the navigation when it's connected. Up front are two USB ports, a wireless charging pad, and a 12-volt socket. The second row has two USB ports and 12-volt and 115-volt outlets. The third row has two USB ports.

driver aids

edmunds rating
The driving aids are well-tuned. The adaptive cruise control comes to a full stop and is one of the better executions in a large, heavy vehicle. Lane keeping assist provides corrective steering but isn't completely reliable. Many of the collision warning systems have configurable sensitivity.

voice control

edmunds rating
The voice controls work OK, but they are relatively basic and do not understand natural language. We were able to input a destination into the navigation and change radio stations easily, but no real advanced features are offered.

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.