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2019 Lincoln Navigator: New Car Review

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author photo by Autotrader February 2019

Big, bold and unapologetically American, the 2019 Lincoln Navigator makes the kind of visual statement luxury SUV owners love to display. Although it shares many components with its Ford kin, the Navigator is no longer a gussied-up Ford Expedition clone, a truth made all the more evident when one looks at the Navigator's stunning exterior and its even more stunning interior. Though it is at its most distinctive, and frankly fantastic, when done up in one of three Black Label trims, the Navigator's interior is well-made, interesting to look at and packed with luxury features. Its 12-in Sync3 touchscreen is also easy to use. Importantly, however, the cabin offers considerably more space than other full-size SUVs (especially the Cadillac Escalade), with a third-row seat that can comfortably fit even large adults. In fact, opting for the extended Navigator L only adds extra cargo space behind the equally-sized third row.

The 2019 Navigator also benefits from superior mechanicals, as well, including an adaptive suspension on most trim levels and a turbocharged V6 (shared with the Ford F-150 Raptor) that pumps out 450 horsepower and 510 lb-ft of torque. With a modern powertrain and advanced safety feature, the Navigator may very have just leapfrogged its closest rival, the Cadillac Escalade, and moved right into the realm of Land Rover, Mercedes-Benz and Lexus.

What's New for 2019?

The 2019 Lincoln Navigator carries over largely unchanged. Last year's Tech Package is added to the Reserve trim, while the Revel audio package gains a CD player. Black Label models gain 30-way adjustable front seats.

What We Like

Adult-friendly third-row seat in both body lengths; smooth and very powerful engine; ample standard feature content; high-style cabin; class-best towing

What We Don't

Ride could be more comfortable; unique color schemes exclusive to most expensive Black Label trim

How Much?

$74,500-$105,000

Fuel Economy

Every Navigator is powered by a 3.5-liter turbocharged V6 that produces a prodigious 450 hp and 510 lb-ft of torque. A 10-speed automatic transmission and rear-wheel drive are standard, while 4-wheel drive is available. The Navigator can tow as much as 8,700 pounds.

Fuel economy is 16 miles per gallon city, 23 mpg highway and 19 mpg in combined driving with the regular length body style and RWD. The extended-length Navigator L can get up to 16 mpg city/22 mpg hwy/18 mpg combined. 4WD lowers those estimates to 16 mpg city/21 mpg hwy/18 mpg combined.

Standard Features & Options

The Lincoln Navigator is available in regular and extended-length (L) body styles. There are Premiere, Select, Reserve and Black Label trim levels.

The base Premiere ($74,500) is the only trim that's regular length only. It comes standard with 20-in wheels, automatic LED headlights, LED fog lights, a hands-free power lift gate, parking sensors, a rearview camera, blind spot monitoring, a rear cross-traffic warning system and automatic wipers. Inside, you get proximity entry and push-button start, tri-zone automatic climate control, heated 8-way power front seats, driver memory functions, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, power-adjustable pedals, a power-folding third-row bench and heated second-row captain's chairs (power folding and sliding). Tech features include a 12-in LCD instrument panel, a 10-in Sync3 touchscreen interface, 4G LTE Wi-Fi, integrated navigation, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, six USB ports, four 12-volt outlets, one 110-volt house-style outlet and a 14-speaker Revel audio system with HD and satellite radios, an auxiliary audio jack and a media player interface.

The Select ($78,850/L $82,085) adds an adaptive suspension, 22-in wheels, a windshield wiper de-icer, a heated steering wheel and a wireless charging pad. It is also eligible for options not available on the Premiere.

The Reserve ($86,500/L $89,700) adds standard 4WD, an illuminated Lincoln grille emblem and ventilated 24-way "Multi-Contour" front seats. Also standard is adaptive cruise control, forward-collision warning with automatic braking and pedestrian detection, an automated parking system, lane-departure warning and keeping and a head-up display.

The Select can be equipped with the Technology package, which includes adaptive cruise control, forward-collision warning with automatic braking and pedestrian detection, an automated parking system, lane-departure warning and keeping and a head-up display. The Reserve can be equipped with a CD player and a 20-speaker Revel Ultima sound system.

The Black Label ($97,690/L $100,890) includes all of the above options, plus upgraded exterior trim, special paint choices and a choice of three unique interior styling "Themes."

All but the base trim can be equipped with optional 30-way "Perfect Position" front seats (standard on Black Label) and a dual-screen rear entertainment system. A panoramic sunroof is included on the Navigator L Reserve. It's optional on the regular length model.

Safety

Every Navigator comes standard with wind-correcting stability control, front side airbags, full-length side curtain airbags, blind spot monitoring and a rear cross-traffic warning system. The Technology package adds forward-collision warning with automatic braking and pedestrian detection, and lane-departure warning and keeping.

In crash testing, NHTSA gives the 2019 Lincoln Navigator five stars, with five stars in all but the rollover test, which earned four stars for the AWD model and three for the RWD model.

Behind the Wheel

Admittedly, we were a little disappointed by the Navigator's ride, despite most trims riding on adaptive suspension dampers. We were expecting a buttery-smooth Lincoln, but there was just a bit too much impact harshness felt over big bumps. Unfortunately, that's probably unavoidable given the truck architecture and the 22-in wheels found on most trim levels.

That, however, is one of the few foibles we experienced with the 2019 Navigator. Sure, it's a big and heavy truck with handling to match, but its steering makes maneuvering easy and tackling winding roads reassuring. Those adaptive suspension dampers at least do a good job keeping body motions in check. For a big and heavy truck, the Navigator is excellent. It's also incredibly quick thanks to its smooth and powerful turbocharged V6.

The interior is where the real show happens, especially in the divine Black Label trim level's cool "Yacht Club" blue or "Destination" dark red. Lesser trims still impress, however, with their design that's best described as 21st century meets Mid-Century Modern. It evokes Lincoln's greatest era while not going the retro route. As for the 21st century credentials, the 12-in touchscreen is mounted high, is easy to reach and takes advantage of Lincoln/Ford's Sync3 infotainment tech. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are included.

As for space, you literally cannot beat the Navigator for third-row space unless you get a van. Large adults can comfortably fit back there for hours, whereas small children have every right to complain in the back of an Escalade. Second-row space is excellent, as it should be, and can be outfitted with a full center console for added comfort and storage. Cargo space is palatial and the load-in height, though taller than a crossover, is nevertheless much shorter than the Escalade's. In total, the Navigator offers superior practicality.

Other Cars to Consider

2019 Ford Expedition -- The Expedition is also relatively new and offers the same interior space and a bit more towing capacity, but it has less power and a less luxurious interior.

2019 Infiniti QX80 -- The Navigator is still the overall superior package, but the QX80 is also considerably cheaper.

2019 Mercedes-Benz GLS-Class -- The GLS may not have the Navigator's ultimate space and towing capability, but it's far better than you'd expect given it's a crossover. Its high-lux cabin is the only competitor that can top the Lincoln.

Used Land Rover Range Rover -- The old Navigator would've made this comparison ridiculous, but that's not the case with the new one. The high-style Range Rover, albeit a cheaper used one, is indeed a worthy alternative to the Navigator (or vice versa).

Autotrader's Advice

If you have the money, the Black Label's uniquely stylish interior themes make it the most desirable trim by far. Otherwise, opting for the Select trim is your best bet given its adaptive suspension, bigger wheels and access to accident avoidance tech, the latter of which some people may not want (it's standard on the Reserve).

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New 2019 Lincoln Navigator 4WD Reserve
New 2019 Lincoln Navigator
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New 2019 Lincoln Navigator 4WD Reserve
New 2019 Lincoln Navigator
MSRP $88,445
Saving this vehicle to yourMy Autotrader account
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New 2019 Lincoln Navigator 4WD Reserve
New 2019 Lincoln Navigator
MSRP $89,275
This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
2019 Lincoln Navigator: New Car Review - Autotrader