Style, twin-turbo V-6 empower Navigator

The redesigned 2018 Lincoln Navigator Black Label SUV near Glen Haven. (Bud Wells photo)

As I approached the two sets of steep, tightly linked hairpin curves in the new Lincoln Navigator on the Devils Gulch Road to Estes Park, I twisted a knob to “slow climb” mode; the big SUV slowed, grunted a bit and maneuvered the switchbacks within its own lane on the narrow highway, never intruding into the lane of opposite direction.

The 2018 Navigator has been redesigned, for the first time in years; it’s 3 inches longer and has shed some weight, though at 5,700 pounds who can tell.

The Lincoln’s six drive modes are a feature, with names of Normal, Conserve for efficiency, Excite for responsive, Slippery for icy, Deep for heavy snow and the Slow Climb. Accompanying graphics clue in the driver at a glance for what mode has been engaged, with no need to look down at the knob.

A year after introduction of the impressive Continental sport sedan, the new Navigator is equipped to compete with other full-size luxury SUVs, such as Range Rover, Mercedes GLS, Cadillac Escalade, Toyota Land Cruiser.

Like, the Ford Expedition which I reviewed earlier, the Navigator 4X4 has scrapped its V-8 engine in favor of the 450-horsepower (510 torque), twin-turbo 3.5-liter V-6 engine and 10-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters.

The shifter is push-button type. Performance is strong; no deficiency from the fewer cylinders under the hood. My overall fuel mileage was 19.5 (EPA estimate 16/21).

A first-timer in the driver seat will probably push the “pro trailer backup assist” button in place of the starter button. The trailer touch is right in front of the driver, the starter button is on a ledge, almost out of sight. The Pro Trailer allows the driver, with proper Navigator settings, to release grip on the steering wheel and allow the system to back the trailer or boat to its intended location.

The interior was dressed up in dark leather. Like the Continental, Lincoln has paid special attention to front seating comfort for the Navigator. The split seats are plush, with massaging seatbacks and effective cooling. Cargo space behind the third row of seats is 20.9 cubic feet; fold the third row flat and that expands to 57.5 feet. The power liftgate can be foot-activated.

The Navigator was the high-end Black Label edition, so brace yourself for a look at the sticker – $98,145. Among features in addition to the aforementioned are power illuminated running boards, forward and reverse safety sensors, tip-and-slide second-row seats, panoramic roof.

It’s on a wheelbase of 122.5 inches and is 210 inches in overall length.