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2016 Lincoln Navigator: New Car Review

If you’re looking for information on a newer Lincoln Navigator, we’ve published an updated review: 2019 Lincoln Navigator Review

For those who need a full-size, body-on-frame luxury SUV that’s as adept at coddling its occupants as it is at pulling heavy loads, the 2016 Lincoln Navigator is one of a handful of choices. Competitors, such as the Cadillac Escalade and Infiniti QX80, offer newer platforms and more high-tech features, while buyers can spend less on an equally opulent GMC Yukon Denali, but the Navigator can out-tow them all, and its distinctive styling is pure Lincoln.

For 2016, Lincoln’s Navigator is offered in standard- or long-wheelbase form with a choice of two trims, Select and Reserve. The Navigator’s interior features soft-touch surface, high-quality leather and a configurable instrument cluster. MyLincoln Touch, a source of criticism in the past, has been sent packing, replaced by a vastly improved SYNC 3 system with faster screens and a more user-friendly interface.

What’s New for 2016?

The Navigator drops the previously pesky MyLincoln Touch system in favor of the greatly improved SYNC 3. See the 2016 Lincoln Navigator models for sale near you

What We Like

Strong engine; best-in-class towing; handsome interior; SYNC 3; good fuel economy; impressive handling for a vehicle of its size

What We Don’t

Missing some high-tech options, such as adaptive cruise control and collision avoidance; no power-folding second-row seat; dated styling

How Much?

$64,285-$78,500

Fuel Economy

A twin-turbocharged 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6 powers the 2016 Lincoln Navigator. Those accustomed to a V8 engine might question the wisdom of such a move, but after one drive, we’re certain that there will be no doubters left standing. The EcoBoost engine delivers more power and better fuel economy than its predecessor, pumping out an impressive 380 horsepower and 460 lb-ft of torque. Fuel economy figures for 2-wheel-drive models are 16 miles per gallon in the city and 22 mpg on the highway (15 mpg city/20 mpg hwy for the L) and 15 mpg city/20 mpg hwy when 4-wheel drive is added to the mix (15 mpg city/19 mpg hwy for the L).

Standard Features & Options

Lincoln offers the Navigator in standard- and long-wheelbase L models in either Select or Reserve trim. L models add an additional 14 inches to the Navigator’s length, providing more cargo and passenger space.

The Navigator Select ($64,285, 2-wheel drive; $67,860, 4-wheel drive) includes 20-inch polished wheels, SYNC audio with the voice-activated SYNC 3 infotainment and navigation system, bi-xenon headlamps, dual automatic climate control with rear-seat controls, perforated leather seating on the first and second rows, 10-way power driver and passenger seats with power recline and 2-way power lumbar support, heated and cooled front seats, a power-folding 60/40 third-row seat, a power tilt-telescopic steering wheel, voice-activated navigation, THX II 5.1 surround-sound audio, a blind spot monitoring system with cross-traffic alert, cruise control, front and rear parking sensors, a rear backup camera, the MyKey remote fob with push-button starting, a heavy-duty trailer tow package, power adjustable pedals, a power rear lift gate, a self-leveling rear suspension and remote starting.

The Navigator Select L ($66,650, 2-wheel drive; $70,225, 4-wheel drive) includes all the same equipment, plus a 4.10:1 rear axle.

The Navigator Reserve ($72,345, 2-wheel drive; $75,345, 4-wheel drive) adds premium leather seating in all three rows, 22-in wheels, 2-tone paint, Lincoln Drive Control adaptive suspension, Ziricote wood trim and a hand-wrapped leather dash, door panels, console and steering wheel.

The Navigator Reserve L ($74,735, 2-wheel drive; $77,735, 4-wheel drive) includes the same equipment, plus a 4.10:1 rear axle.

Stand-alone options include a power sunroof, a rear-seat DVD entertainment system, heated rear seats in 40/20/40 or bucket-seat configuration, 20-in and 22-in aluminum alloy wheels and a 4.10:1 axle on the short-wheelbase Navigator.

Safety

The Navigator includes all mandated safety equipment, including front, side and side-curtain airbags. Also standard are Lincoln’s AdvanceTrac with Roll Stability Control, an SOS-Post Crash Alert System and, on 4-wheel-drive models, Hill Descent Control. In crash tests performed by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the Navigator received five out of five stars overall, with three out of five stars in the rollover test. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has not tested the 2016 Navigator.

Behind the Wheel

For an SUV weighing in at 5,800 pounds (6,300 pounds for the 4-wheel-drive L), the Navigator is surprisingly easy to control. An electric power-steering setup returns good feedback, and we found that the twin-turbocharged 3.5-liter V6 was never lacking. There is ample torque delivered around 2,500-2,750 rotations per minute, and the 6-speed automatic does an excellent job of holding gears when power is needed and shifting to the most efficient gear when cruising. Not having a V8 hasn’t suppressed any of the Navigator’s towing ability, and it retains its best-in-class status with a maximum tow rating of 9,000 pounds.

The Reserve trim adds Lincoln Drive Control with continuously controlled dampening. The system contains three driver-selectable suspension settings, including Comfort, Normal and Sport. We found the Comfort setting to be the most enjoyable, delivering a soft, smooth ride without floating or wallowing. The Sport setting, with its firmer ride, seemed to improve cornering when encountering tight turns but also made the ride noticeably stiff.

Other Cars to Consider

2016 Cadillac Escalade — The Escalade costs significantly more than the Navigator and offers more high-tech features and a more powerful engine. However, the Escalade’s third-row seat isn’t as comfortable or accommodating.

2016 Lexus LX 570 — The Lexus LX 570 costs more than the Navigator but can’t match the Lincoln for fuel economy or towing. The LX 570’s rear seats are not as spacious or convenient, either.

2016 GMC Yukon Denali — Like the Escalade, the Denali offers more premium tech features than the Navigator, and it has an optional 420-hp V8. The Denali also costs less than the Navigator.

Used Land Rover Range Rover — A 2012-2014 Land Rover Range Rover is considered to be the ultimate premium luxury SUV, and it has the added advantage of true off-road ability. The Range Rover’s fuel economy isn’t spectacular, though, and its third-row seat is tiny.

Autotrader’s Advice

If you don’t need to regularly haul six passengers, we’d avoid the L and choose the short-wheelbase Navigator Reserve with a power sunroof and rear-seat entertainment center. All-wheel drive probably isn’t necessary if you don’t do a lot of towing or don’t live where snow and ice are regular visitors. Find a Lincoln Navigator for sale

 

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