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2018 Lincoln Navigator: Three Traits Flagship Sedans Can't Match

Motor Trend logo Motor Trend 8/2/2018 Motor Trend Staff


For most of the Automotive Era, manufacturers have produced—as the ultimate expression of their engineering might, design savvy, and marketing capabilities—a flagship sedan. The S-Class. The Phantom. The Mulsanne. The Fleetwood. The Continental. All are three-box cars. Each has propelled world leaders, autocrats, mafia dons, etc. But now these folks and even midlevel megalomaniacs are demanding vehicles that elevate their social standing both literally and figuratively. Ground clearance and sight lines are "the new black" in cars. Having just spent a week in the most fabulous Lincoln money can buy—a Navigator Black Label—I took some notes on the missions this Lincoln can tackle that no Town Car, Continental, or other low-clearance three-box could hope to accomplish.

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Twice as Many Back Seats

© Motor Trend Staff

Luxobarges are all about rear seats that pamper, and in this department, the Navi doubles your pleasure. When you roll in Black Label style, even the way-back gets electric seat-back recliners, USB jacks, reading lamps, coat hooks, and ample stretch-out room—even with the standard wheelbase (L models are crazy roomy). The press of a button electrically whisks the middle-row throne out of the way so that Mr. or Ms. Almost-As-Big can easily and gracefully alight from their perches on an electrically deployed stair. Sadly, 30-way adjustability, ventilation, and massage programming have yet to be offered aft of the front row, and the third row lacks even the heat and armrests of the second, but give Lincoln a year or two to add these caprices.

Armors More Easily

a car parked on the side of a road© Motor Trend Staff

The car platforms most sedans are built on (POTUS's Beast is a notable truck-based exception) aren't typically engineered to carry much more weight than the avoirdupois of four or five average passengers. But the Navigator's ladder-frame truck chassis has a gross vehicle weight rating of 7,350 to 7,800 pounds. Thanks to the switch to aluminum bodywork, that leaves some 1,600 to 1,750 payload pounds to work with—and that's before you switch to mil-spec high-speed run-flat tires. Plenty of capacity for some light firearms-resistant armoring. It can also tow 8,100 to 8,700 pounds' worth of horses, yacht, or SWAT support.

Six-Hoffa Cargo Area

© Motor Trend Staff

Put all the seats up, and you've still got 19.3 to 34.3 cubic feet of very cubic space to work with in the back—that equals or doubles the size of the typical sedan trunk. Lower the third row, and you've got 57.5 to 73.3 cubic feet of nice, wide, tall stash space. It even includes four robust cargo tie-down hooks. Of course, sedans have one advantage here, in that they're better at isolating the seated passengers from any sounds or smells emanating from the cargo area. During my week with the Navigator, I hauled six sheets of Durock, six sheets of paneling, and a Fiat 124 Spider transmission back there. Bonus: Whatever doesn't fit in back can ride up top on a luggage rack with three cross-bar mounts that can handle another 125 pounds. Try that with a sedan.

2018 Lincoln Navigator front side© Motor Trend Staff 2018 Lincoln Navigator front side

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