CARS.COM — The Lincoln Navigator has long been an easy-to-drive full-size SUV with one of the roomiest interiors in the segment — but it hasn’t felt as luxurious as the competition for some time. We’ve wondered for a while whether Lincoln wants to be considered a true luxury brand and was willing to take the necessary steps to get there. After seeing the redesigned 2018 Navigator — first shown at the 2017 New York International Auto Show — we now have an answer: an emphatic yes.
Related: 2018 Lincoln Navigator Preview
After taking in all the cars at a busy New York show, the Navigator came out on top, taking home Cars.com’s Best in Show award. One of the big reasons for its win was its upscale interior, but it also impressed in other ways. Here are five things that make the new Navigator a legit luxury SUV.
1. It Has Flagship SUV Presence
Lincoln wowed show-goers a year ago with the Navigator Concept, and even though the concept’s stunning gullwing doors and entrance stairways are gone, the production Navigator keeps the underlying style. With its distinctive chrome grille, floating-roof design cues and turbine-inspired wheels, the Navigator has a real shot at challenging the current king of bling: the Cadillac Escalade.
2. Lincoln Sweated the Details
Luxury SUVs are at their best when they’re able to surprise and delight their owners, and the 2018 Navigator offers a few things that might do the trick. On uplevel trims, the Lincoln star in the grille and exterior LEDs illuminate as you approach the SUV, and ambient interior lighting illuminates each of the SUV’s three rows of seats.
3. There’s Useful Technology
Besides premium design cues and materials, the Navigator incorporates tech features designed to help the driver and make life on the road more convenient for families. Available speed-sensitive adaptive headlights provide a wider field of view at low speeds that narrows at higher speeds to reduce glare. Plus, Slingbox owners can stream TV shows on the available rear-seat entertainment system’s screens. The Navigator also features Amazon Alexa-based connectivity to smart devices in your house, so you can turn off your home’s lights from the driver’s seat.
4. Exclusive Black Label Offerings
Nowadays, it’s not enough to offer just a finely finished luxury SUV; brands need special exclusive versions, too. Enter the Navigator’s Black Label lineup, which pairs striking interior colors and materials with a personalized shopping experience and other perks.
5. It Packs Plenty of Power
A 400-plus-horsepower drivetrain used to be the stuff of high-performance sports cars, but this kind of power has become common in full-size luxury SUVs. The 2018 Navigator features a twin-turbo V-6 engine under its hood making an estimated 450 hp — 70 hp more than the previous-generation Navigator — with power routed to the wheels through a 10-speed automatic transmission.