Sumptuous new Navigator continues American luxury revival
Ford is desperate to revive Lincoln as a genuine luxury brand. The resurrection started with the Continental in Detroit last year, and continues in New York with the Navigator. Like the Continental, the new Navigator is focused on delivering a unique brand of luxury in a sea of similar European offerings, with a high-tech cabin and showy good looks.
Chasing lightning Nurburgring lap times has become a favourite past-time for brands like BMW and Range Rover, but Lincoln hasn't been sucked into the pissing contest. Instead, the Navigator has been designed to coddle its occupants with cushy seats and comfy suspension.
Seats are arguably the most important part of any interior – they're where you spend most of your time, after all – but they're often overlooked as an important luxury feature. Not in the Navigator, which can be specced with a set of thirty-way adjustable front seats. They're the same as those in the Continental, and offer heating and cooling functions to go with the endless range of adjustments.
Things aren't quite as nice down back, but the rear seats are far from cheap and nasty. Passengers in the second row are treated to their own audio and climate controls, and a set of optional 10-inch screens on the headrests can play content from Android devices, or through HDMI, USB and SD card inputs. If that doesn't keep the kids quiet on a long road trip, nothing will. The cabin Wi-Fi can handle up to 10 devices, and USB charge ports scattered around the interior mean no phone or tablet should go flat.
Beyond the technology, the basic interior design of the Navigator looks much nicer than anything we've seen from Lincoln in a long time. The new Continental still struggles with some sub-par materials, and there are a few areas where its Ford roots shine a little brightly, but the Navigator doesn't seem to suffer the same problems.
The sloping center console looks like it's been lifted from a Range Rover and, if you ask us, the free-standing touchscreen is better incorporated than the aftermarket-looking ones you get on modern Mercedes cars. With that said, we'll need to reserve final judgement until having a proper poke and prod.
"When designing the Navigator, we put an emphasis on ultra-luxury touch points," says David Woodhouse, Lincoln design director. "We took everything the client would see and touch, and made sure it would look and feel a little more exuberant, a little more indulgent and incredibly beautiful."
Of course, none of this matters if the Navigator doesn't have the right engine. Luxury is all about excess, and nothing shatters that illusion faster than an underpowered engine. There isn't a V8 option here, and that might disappoint some people, but the twin-turbo V6 on offer seems more than adequate. It pumps out 450 hp (336 kW) through a 10-speed automatic gearbox, and the use of lightweight materials in the body and chassis mean it has to shift 200 pounds (91 kg) less than before. Sure, it won't be giving the Jeep Trackhawk any nightmares, but that isn't really the point here.
As for the exterior styling, well, that's going to come down to personal taste. We're impressed the design team has managed to make so few changes to the concept car, although it would have been cool to see those gaudy gull-wing doors make it to showrooms. If you're the shy, retiring type then it's probably worth looking elsewhere, but anyone keen to make a statement is likely to love the chrome brashness on offer.
There's no word on how much the Navigator will cost when it lands, but the car will be on show at the New York Auto Show. The show is already underway with the launch of the long-awaited Dodge Demon, and New Atlas will be on the ground covering all the action. In the meantime, check out the Navigator in the video below.