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2012 Lincoln Navigator Overview
For those into conspicuous consumption on a budget, the 2012 Lincoln Navigator may be worth a look. This full-size luxury SUV sports plenty of chrome, a V8 powerplant, plenty of glitz and comes in both standard and stretched versions. Three rows of seats offer accommodations for 7 passengers, and third-row seating is actually adult-size. Two trims, the Navigator Base and Navigator L, are offered for this high-end ute, with the L boasting 223.3 inches in overall length and a 131-inch wheelbase (standard length overall is 208.4 inches with a 119-inch wheelbase). Standard cargo capacity with the rear seats folded is 128.2 cubic feet in the lengthened (L) version and 103.3 cubic feet in the Base trim, with both trims featuring the unique and ever-so-handy power-folding third-row seats. Each trim, though delivered in a standard rear-wheel-drive (RWD) configuration, is also available with on-demand four-wheel drive (4WD), and, of course, both are fashionably endowed with leather and techno-bling. The cost for Lincoln’s posh SUV starts at almost $58,000 for the Base Navigator without extras - not stratospheric, but certainly worthy of some number crunching.
The Navigator’s traditional rival is the potent and status-driven Cadillac Escalade, but upstarts, such as the Mercedes-Benz GL-Class and Infiniti’s QX56, though pricier, are also more powerful and refined, both inside and out, than Lincoln’s hefty ute. Additionally, Ford’s low-ball Expedition offers many of the features offered in its luxury cousin for considerably less money. The Navigator, however, will certainly fulfill the expectations of those in the market for a versatile, capable and plush full-size family vehicle.
Only one powertrain, an E85-capable (FFV) 5.4-liter V8 with the ubiquitous 6-speed automatic transmission, is available to the Navigator lineup. This combo puts out 310 hp and 365 lb-ft of torque, and with variable valve timing (VVT) gets an estimated 14 mpg city/20 highway in the RWD configuration. In its 4WD variation, the Navigator sports a locking mechanical center differential, electronic hi-lo gear selection and auto-locking hubs. Though rarely, if ever, purchased for its off-road capabilities, this plush ute does make light of wintry weather and could even make a creditable job of touring the lower forty, in a pinch. Finally, with the optional Class III/IV towing package, this elegant brute can haul a maximum trailer weight of 9,000 pounds, in RWD configuration.
True to its heritage, the 2012 Navigator comes chock full of appearance, comfort and convenience goodies. Outside, look for 18-inch alloy wheels, a roof rack, power-folding step running boards, a Class II trailer hitch and wiring, rear power liftgate and heated, power-adjustable mirrors. Gracing the cabin are leather, chrome and wood accents, premium leather upholstery, heated power-adjustable front seats, reclining second-row seating and the power-folding third-row seats. Power door locks and front windows, cruise control, tri-zone climate control and tilt-wheel steering are all standard amenities, as are memory for driver's settings, front and rear parking sensors and a rear-view camera. Look for the 14 THX premium speakers to deliver 600 watts of sound in 5.1 surround from the MP3-capable single-CD player, with satellite radio and a USB connection chipping in additional music options. A dashboard video monitor handles CD/DVDs, while the whole entertainment package, as well as the standard hard-drive-based navigation system, is interfaced with Ford’s popular SYNC system and bolstered by Bluetooth hands-free communication technology.
Besides its hefty allotment of standard goodies, the Navigator can also be delivered with available remote engine start, a power sunroof, 8-passenger-capacity second-row bench seating and 20-inch polished aluminum wheels.
Notwithstanding its awesome size, the 2012 Navigator line comes equipped with such standard safety features as 4-wheel antilock brakes (ABS), traction and stability control, 3-row head airbags and front side-mounted airbags. Additional safety equipment includes front fog/driving lights, turn-signal-integrated mirrors, xenon high-intensity-discharge (HID) headlights, a post-collision safety system and a remote antitheft alarm.
Poor gas mileage, tepid acceleration under a load and a hesitant transmission are among the glitches plaguing owners of the 2011 Navigator. Some problems with the SYNC/navigation/audio interface also dog owners, as does the fact that this high-end ute is burdened with poorly designed front headrests and some off-putting cabin plastics and has yet to offer push-button start. Ride comfort, on the other hand, as well as build quality, unburdened performance and its wealth of standard luxury and high-tech features draws raves from owners, as do the Navigator’s tight turning radius and grown-up-size third-row seating.
by Eric Tallberg
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