2018 Lincoln Navigator

2018 Lincoln Navigator Review

Faster and more luxurious, the 2018 Lincoln Navigator is one of our favorite luxury SUVs.
8.4 / 10
Edmunds overall rating
author
by Travis Langness
Edmunds Editor

Edmunds expert review

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.

Notably, we picked the 2018 Lincoln Navigator as one of Edmunds' Best Luxury SUVs for this year.



What's new for 2018

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

Overall8.4 / 10

Driving

8.0 / 10

Acceleration8.5 / 10
Braking7.5 / 10
Steering7.5 / 10
Handling7.5 / 10
Drivability8.0 / 10

Comfort

8.0 / 10

Seat comfort8.5 / 10
Ride comfort7.5 / 10
Noise & vibration8.0 / 10
Climate control8.0 / 10

Interior

8.5 / 10

Ease of use7.5 / 10
Getting in/getting out9.0 / 10
Driving position9.5 / 10
Roominess7.5 / 10
Visibility7.0 / 10
Quality8.5 / 10

Utility

8.5 / 10

Small-item storage9.5 / 10
Cargo space8.5 / 10

Technology

8.5 / 10

Audio & navigation9.0 / 10
Smartphone integration8.5 / 10
Driver aids8.5 / 10
Voice control7.5 / 10

Driving8.0

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.

Acceleration8.5

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.

Braking7.5

Big vehicles tend to nose-dive or squirm around when you jam on the brakes suddenly, and the Navigator is no exception. That said, braking performance is perfectly adequate for the class. In typical driving, the brake pedal is light and effortless, and you can slow with limolike smoothness.

Steering7.5

The light steering effort and quick ratio help make the Navigator feel a little smaller than it actually is. The trade-off is low amounts of feedback, but that's common in this class.

Handling7.5

This big SUV is a decent handler for its size. It feels composed 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.

Drivability8.0

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

Off-road6.5

The Navigator is available with four-wheel drive, but this big SUV isn't really meant to go off-road. It has big wheels, and the differentials don't have a locking feature. It does have hill descent assist, which is useful for going down steep, slippery slopes.

Comfort8.0

You'd expect the Navigator to be comfortable, and it delivers. Seat comfort is excellent, and the adaptive suspension is good at filtering out sharp impacts. The climate control system works effectively to keep you delightfully cool or warm and toasty.

Seat comfort8.5

Lincoln's Perfect Position seats offer more adjustments than seems necessary. It takes a while to find a setting you like. But once you do, comfort is sublime. Touchscreen controls for the seat adjustments minimize confusion. A massage function is also available.

Ride comfort7.5

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 & vibration8.0

Wind and road noise is pretty minimal, and only a small amount of ambient noise sneaks through. The engine is quiet at cruise, only becoming obvious when you romp on it. There were no rattles or squeaks in our test vehicle, which is kind of remarkable in such a big SUV.

Climate control8.0

You operate the climate controls with physical buttons for the most part, which we like. You don't have to dig through touchscreen menus to get what you want. The system is effective at moderating cabin temperature with low fan noise. The seat heaters and coolers are effective.

Interior8.5

The Navigator has interior room in spades, and its smart design maximizes ease of entry. 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 use7.5

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 boots up quickly for near-instant access to the rearview camera.

Getting in/getting out9.0

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 access to the third row. It doesn't get much better for such a big SUV.

Driving position9.5

The driving position is excellent 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. The Navigator gives you a commanding view of the road.

Roominess7.5

There's 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 high off the floor, so your knees aren't level with your chest.

Visibility7.0

Considering the Navigator's size, visibility is decent. The third-row headrests fold out of view, and there are good-size windows all around to help you see out. The sideview mirrors are adequate. But the chunky front roof pillars can obscure some objects from your view. When parking, the 360-degree camera system is quite useful.

Quality8.5

The Navigator's classy interior design elevates this SUV'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.

Utility8.5

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? The Navigator can handle up to 8,300 pounds.

Small-item storage9.5

Cabin storage is excellent. The many cubbies include a wide, open rubberized space beneath the center console. The center armrest has a nice two-tier storage bin that's quite deep. The door pockets are large and multitiered. The third row has a couple of cupholders.

Cargo space8.5

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. It's giant inside. All the rear seats fold flat electronically. The second-row center console sits higher than the seat bottoms, though, which prevents a fully flat load area.

Child safety seat accommodation7.5

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.

Towing8.0

The 4WD Navigator is rated to tow a stout 8,300 pounds. We'd recommend using premium fuel when towing — this EcoBoost V6 is octane-sensitive, particularly in hot weather.

Technology8.5

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 & navigation9.0

The premium 20-speaker 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 integration8.5

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 aids8.5

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 control7.5

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.