The redesigned 2003 Lincoln Navigator has more gadgets than Mr. Wizard.Automatically retracting running boards, a power tailgate, a power folding third seat, heated and cooled seats, navigation system and a rear-seat DVD player with ceiling-mounted fold-down screen are all available on the Ultimate, the model that Lincoln expects to account for roughly half of all Navigator sales. The new model, available in two-wheel and four-wheel drive, starts at $48,035 for the two-wheel-drive Luxury model, $49,285 for the Premium and $54,210 for the four-wheel-drive Ultimate. The test vehicle was a dark red four-wheel-drive Ultimate. Since its debut in 1997, the Navigator has established itself as one of the top luxury SUVs. It ranks with the Cadillac Escalade, BMW X5, Mercedes-Benz M500, Toyota Landcruiser and Lexus LX 470. The 2003 redesign includes a new frame, new body panels (except for the roof and front doors), independent rear suspension and "more of everything," in the carmaker's words. Visually, the new Navigator looks much like the old one, except that it sits a little lower and looks a little smoother. Body panel gaps are tighter and the overall appearance is cleaner and more unified. Comfort and convenience are the Ultimate's goals. Everything you do with it is easy. Open the door and the running boards glide out to meet you. Approach the vehicle with your hands full of packages, and the power tailgate rises at the touch of a button. Need to fold down the rear seat? Again, it does so at the touch of a button. Wood and leather are abundant throughout, of course, and the interior's new design theme includes dark wood highlighted by satin nickel finishes. A large metallic silver panel folds over the stereo and navigation screen, creating an interior look that is much like a high-tech audio system. White LED lights are used throughout, and the luminescent gauges look rich without being gimmicky. SUV safety and stability are important items, and to that end the Navigator has anti-lock brakes, Ford's AdvanceTrac vehicle stability system and side-curtain airbags that protect occupants in a side impact or rollover. Ride and handling are smooth and effortless. The steering is almost too easy. The independent rear suspension, similar to the one on the Ford Expedition, absorbs bumps with a minimum of upheaval and yields handling that feels more secure in tight turns. The truck's new, hydroformed frame is significantly stiffer than the previous model, and that also helps forge a smoother ride and more responsive handling. The 300-horsepower, 5.4-liter DOHC V-8 burbles with horsepower and moves this 5,994-pound truck with reasonable elan. It gobbles gas, however, and is rated at 11 miles per gallon in the city and 16 on the highway. It can tow a maximum of 8,500 pounds. Larger brakes erase speed easily, and the huge Michelin tires on 18-inch wheels add to the smoothness of the ride. Any vehicle this size is bound t o feel big, but the Navigator can be maneuvered in tight spots with reasonable ease, in part because the high driving position gives a commanding view. Rear parking sensors are very helpful in parking lots or when parallel parking because rear vision is not the greatest. Inside, the new Navigator feels richer and better finished than the first one. The instrument panel and steering wheel have nice texturing that makes them look elegant. The perforated leather seats can be heated or cooled, another comfort plus. The climate control has separate zones for driver, passenger and the rear seat. Three rows of seats for SUVs are all the rage, and the Navigator can seat six people pretty comfortably. The second-row captain's chairs make passengers feel as if they are riding in a lounge chair. A folded second-row bench seat is more convenient for carrying large objects. One thing I didn't like was the location of the power window switches on the central console. They are mor intuitive on the door. Small "puddle" lights in the bottom of the outside mirrors create a nice pool of light in front of the doors, and that is a nice feature. The redesigned Navigator is better in almost every area. It looks better, works better and is a marvel of electronics. Price
The four-wheel-drive Ultimate starts at $54,210. Options on the test car included power running boards, power sunroof, navigation system, chrome wheels and the rear-seat entertainment system. The sticker price was $61,335. Warranty
Four years or 50,000 miles. Point:
The redesigned Navigator looks sleeker than before, with a lower stance and tighter fitting panels. Nearly every conceivable comfort item is available, making this truck as comfy as a four-wheel family room. Counterpoint:
The power window switches are located on the center console, the navigation system is not the easiest to use and gas mileage is 11 miles per gallon in the city. SPECIFICATIONS:
Engine: 5.4-liter, 300-hp V-8
Transmission: automatic Four-wheel drive
Wheelbase: 118.8 inches
Curb weight: 5,994 lbs.
Base price: $54,210
As driven: $61,335
Mpg rating: 11 city, 16 hwy.
Cars.com Expert Reviews
|Jim Flammang||Cars.com National||January 24, 2003|
|Mark Glover||The Sacramento Bee||January 17, 2003|
|Larry Printz||The Morning Call and Mcall.com||December 1, 2002|
|Tom Strongman||KansasCity.com||September 25, 2002|
|Anita And Paul Lienert||The Detroit News||August 28, 2002|
|Warren Brown||washingtonpost.com||June 30, 2002|
|Royal Ford||Boston.com||June 30, 2002|
|Steven Cole Smith||Orlando Sentinel||June 27, 2002|
|Jim Mateja||chicagotribune.com||June 23, 2002|
|Tom Strongman||KansasCity.com||May 25, 2002|
|Anita Lienert||The Detroit News||May 1, 2002|
|Jason Stein||July 29, 2002|
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