Test Drive: 2018 Lincoln Navigator

Courtesy Lincoln

This full-size SUV proves perfect for a comfortable expedition even when the trip doesn’t yield the expected bounty.

I’m driving around Anthony’s Nose, the colorful name for a mountain overlooking the Hudson River, in the 2018 Lincoln Navigator north toward the small village of Cold Spring, New York, like a man on a mission. The trip is inspired by the sheer size of the Lincoln Navigator—when I look into the rear view mirror the third row seating seems like it’s in a vehicle behind me. Cold Spring is known for its antiques and a large item like a piece of furniture can fit easily into the SUV once the seats are folded down. Heck, the Navigator is so big it feels like I can plunder the whole village.

Legend says Anthony’s Nose was named for the size and shape of the proboscis belonging to one of Henry Hudson’s seaman when he discovered the river bearing his name in 1609. If it bears any resemblance to the steep and windy road I’m on, then the nose on Anthony must have been impressive. The Navigator, though, handles the curves with aplomb and with a 450 horsepower V6 engine governed by a smooth-shifting, 10-speed transmission under the hood, an uphill climb is no chore at all. With 200 pounds shed from its prior weight thanks to an aluminum alloy chassis, the 2018 Lincoln Navigator moves a lot quicker than earlier incarnations.

But perhaps more impressive is the Navigator interior. In addition to being spacious and equipped with particularly comfortable seats, the nicely styled Navigator is remarkably quiet for a vehicle with truck antecedents. There are so many storage compartments the Navigator feels like a rolling cupboard, an attribute that makes the SUV very family friendly. The Wi-Fi can handle up to 10 devices and the Revel audio system will compete for passengers’ attention.

Courtesy Lincoln

Cold Spring is on the east bank of the Hudson opposite the storied West Point military academy and it’s a quaint old village with narrow streets and tiny parking lots. At times, maneuvering the Navigator here is like piloting a cruise ship among row boats, but a 360-degree camera system that creates an overhead image of the area around the SUV makes the job pretty easy. There are other handy driver aids, including hill descent control and a trailer backup assist which automatically steers the vehicle. Adaptive headlights narrow and extend their reach at highway speeds but widen it at slower speeds through neighborhoods. The instrument display explains the best application for all the driver modes and I liked cool little touches like the speedometer dial that has numbers illuminated at the edge of a darkened circle like a solar eclipse.

I’m ready to rake in a big haul but after a few hours of meandering among Cold Spring’s antique shops, the only items that loosen my purse strings are a 90-year-old book about the founding of the now vanished New York Central Railroad and a vintage set of six tall blue water glasses. Both the book and the glasses fit easily into the storage compartment underneath the center console of the Navigator but given the Navigator’s steady ride, I have no qualms about pressing one glass into immediate service as it fits perfectly into a cup holder and adds an extra touch of blue-tinted luxury. I pull out of Cold Spring knowing full well that if I had driven here in a two-seater, I would have found a roomful of furniture I loved.

$88,625 as driven; lincoln.com.