TheCarConnection.com's editors drive the new Lincoln Navigator in order to pass along their expert opinion; this is supplemented with highlights of some of the Web's most informative reviews, gathered by TheCarConnection.com, to help you make the best decision.
The Lincoln Navigator has been on sale now for more than a decade, and it's maintained its stature as a luxury SUV through major redesigns and minor annual upgrades.
The two 2009 Lincoln Navigator models differ in length by 14.7 inches. The additional length of the L model gains the Navigator L 24.5 cubic feet more storage space (42.7 cubic feet. vs. 18.2 cubic feet). With both the second- and third-row seats folded, the standard Navigator boasts 103.5 cubic feet of cargo space, while the L model ups that to a cavernous 128.2 cubic feet.
Both 2009 Lincoln Navigator models are powered by a 300-horsepower, 5.4-liter V-8 and driven by a six-speed automatic transmission in either 4x2 or 4x4 configurations. The Navigator's maximum tow rating is an impressive 9,100 pounds.
The 2009 Navigator's handling is secure, but this isn't a truck that likes hustling. The engine provides good power, and the six-speed automatic responds quickly with downshifts, but compared to other V-8 engines in the class, the Ford-sourced 5.4-liter isn't overly impressive for the Navigator's 6,200-pound curb weight. The six-speed automatic does make the 2009 Lincoln Navigator a pleasant cruiser, helping to keep engine speed down at interstate speeds. The four-wheel independent suspension provides a smooth ride, but there's a fair amount of roll in corners.
The powertrain in the 2009 Lincoln Navigator is smooth, though, and it contributes to the quietness of the comfortable interior. The interior's design, function, and comfort are good, and they're much more upscale than the Ford Expedition. The Lincoln-style gauges are a fun throwback, and even the third-row seats are comfortable. When not needed, the power-fold feature on those seats is especially convenient. As one editor of TheCarConnection.com recently experienced, cargo that lies beyond the reach of one's arm can be "slid" toward the tailgate's opening by unfolding the third-row seat; as the seat raises itself, the cargo shifts rearward.
The 2009 Lincoln Navigator ups the ante by simplifying the Navigator's packaging and turning many of last year's options into standard equipment on both the Navigator and its slightly longer stablemate, the Navigator L. New comfort and convenience features that are now standard on the Navigator include a rearview camera system, rain-sensing windshield wipers, EasyFuel capless fuel fill, Front Park Assist, Lincoln SYNC, and heated second-row seats.
Lincoln's next-generation, voice-activated navigation system and the Sirius Travel Link are now available, as is a new limited edition appearance package, the Monochrome Appearance Package. The new navigation system, working through the Sirius Satellite Radio network, provides Navigator occupants coast-to-coast access to information and entertainment such as real-time traffic data, weather reports, fuel options sorted by price or distance, major league pro and college sports, as well as movie listings from more than 4,500 theaters. The new 2009 Monochrome Limited Edition Package includes features such as Ebony wood trim, Stone or Camel seats with black leather inserts and black piping, and a stitched Lincoln logo on each headrest. On the outside, the package features unique badging, body-color accents, and power folding heated memory mirrors with puddle lamps.
Safety-wise, the 2009 Lincoln Navigator performs very well in government front and side crash tests. Additionally, Stability Roll Control and other dynamic safety equipment are standard.
The Bottom Line:
The 2009 Lincoln Navigator is a well-rounded, full-size SUV offering both luxury and performance.