Even if John Q. Navigator-Buyer never ends up driving his purchase on a rutted road, he's satisfied in knowing that with his 4x4 Navigator he could. And then there's always poor weather to be driven in, even if it's just a Florida thunderstorm.
The 2001 Navigator 4WD employs Ford's Control Trac system, which has a two-speed transfer case. This offers more versatility than an all-wheel drive system, as drivers can select between a full-time all-wheel drive mode with a variable front/rear torque split or a true off-road mode with a locked 50/50 front/rear torque distribution.
But road-trippin' with the crowd, be it the spouse and brood or a gaggle of skiers off for a long weekend, is what this full-sized SUV was definitely designed for. It's all about passenger comfort and a luxurious interior environment. From its precisely-engineered suspension to its contoured leather seats (with available heaters) and amenities from a cabin air filter to separate climate-control for all three rows, the 'Gator is ideal for crossing state lines.
Many 'Gator buyers also had intentions on towing, and they've made a fine choice. The 4WD can pull up to 8,100 pounds. Lincoln paired its 5.4-liter V8 with a four-speed electronically controlled automatic overdrive transmission to churn out 300 horsepower and 360 lb.-ft. of torque, which is arguably enough power; a number of critics expected more from an SUV of this size. A trailer-towing prep set-up with tow hook came standard.
The Navigator's three rows of seating could accommodate seven or even eight people comfortably; Lincoln offered a second-row bench seat instead of buckets separated by a center console, at no extra cost. This worked well for anyone who regularly needed the additional seating or cargo room. The second and third rows were each given their own set of climate controls.
The standard equipment list was long, featuring exterior amenities such as roof rails, step rails, oversized heated body-color side mirrors, swing-out rear windows, and a full-sized spare. The interior offered amenities including leather-covered seats, soft-touch material on the dash and doors, wood and metal accents, and a leather-wrapped wood steering wheel. Anyone lucky enough to drive could the Navigator could appreciate the height-adjustable pedals and seat-position memory, and all passengers would benefit from the cabin air filter.
Mechanical features included limited slip differential, stability and traction control, and a wishbone front suspension and beam rear suspension with stabilizer bar. The suspension also came with an automatic leveling function that also kneeled down one inch for passengers' entry and exit.
Most people who purchased a brand-new 2001 Navigator 4WD were quite satisfied, touting its size and style especially. Still, there have been scattered complaints about a lack of reliability, especially concerning electrical and computer problems, which is the drawback to a vehicle with so many bells and whistles. Another common complaint concerned fuel consumption: no surprise to anyone.