Harrison Ford? What the hell does he have to do with the Lincoln Navigator? I'll get to that in a bit. First, let me express how stoked I was when I found out I was going to be driving a Lincoln Navigator for a week. I was at the launch of the current generation Ford Expedition back in July of 2006 and I clearly recall liking the big galoot.
As you all know, the Lincoln Navigator has always been the other favourite mode of transportation of pimps, mafia and the likes. The Navigator's enforcer aura has also tickled the fancy of all types of ball players since it first arrived back in 1998. I have always wanted to meet a chromed-out Expedition and now I have.
Upon closer inspection of my press truck, I came to realize that the 2012 Lincoln Navigator isn't all badass as it might have once been. In fact, I've found it to have a few wrinkles which actually made it somewhat endearing. Are you starting to get it? Harrison Ford used to be badass, but now he's a nice and handsome old guy.
On the inside, it's much of the same. The boxy symmetrical presentation of the dashboard dates back to another time. Every control, dial and knob are still highly functional for say, a guy Harrison's age. Someone half his age might prefer the jazzier user interface found in the Ford Explorer, for example.
In any case, everyone will find the Navigator's comfort levels to be outstanding. Indy always felt so comfortable with his fedora on this head. The big Lincoln's seats rival most La-Z-Boy chairs and the amount of interior space is akin to the size of Harrison's ranch; all 800 acres of it.
Despite being a body-on-frame vehicle, like Mr Ford, the 2012 Lincoln Navigator is still solid, rugged and pretty much ready for anything. In spite of that, the Navigator still prefers cruising city streets over going off-road. I don't know about you, but Harrison seemed far more comfortable sitting at the news desk in Morning Glory than he did running away from the Soviets in the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.
Under bonnet, the truck ('cause we can call it that) sports Ford's venerable 5.4L V8. Rated at 310 hp and 365 lb-ft of torque, it's outclassed by many of its younger full-sized competitors like the 400 hp Infiniti QX56. Harrison can no longer compete physically with the likes of Hugh Jackman.
However underpowered, the 5.4L's silky torque delivery and easygoing 6-speed autobox still get the job done. Most of the torque swells in at just over 3,000 rpm, so the 2,723 kg (6,003 lb) friendly giant gets moving. The cost, however, is fuel. Lots and lots of fuel... I averaged 19L/100km in mixed driving. I'm still shivering at the thought of filling up the 106L tank. Want Harrison Ford in your movie? It'll cost you $20 million. Same thing.
Comfort be thy name
Body-on-frame used to signify getting shaken to the core before ralphing your lunch, back in the day. This old dog soaks up the world's nastiest paved roads with little shuddering. The refinement level of the Navigator rivals that of the old Town Car, it even surpasses it. The Navigator stays quiet and docile on the highway; it's almost cocoon-like. Han Solo, the old dog (or was it pirate?), eventually trusted Lando with the Millennium Falcon...
The 2012 Lincoln Navigator is truly all about comfort, almost. Its older design does betray the driving position as the steering wheel is not telescopic. I found it difficult to stay put in my perch, especially when navigating in the city. On the freeway, leaving one hand on the wheel was the only way to be at ease.
At $73,900, the Navigator is priced at the lower end of its segment which includes the likes of the aforementioned Infiniti QX, the Cadillac Escalade, the Lexus LX and the Audi Q7. Unfortunately, it finds itself in a dying segment where there really only is room for one American and one German. Perhaps the next Navigator will shine, should it come back. For certain, the next instalment of Indiana Jones is coming; let's hope it'll be better than the last.
Like Harrison, the Navigator is getting old but hasn't lost all of its charm. The wrinkles are more obvious, but you can't help yourself from saying: it's Harrison; it's a Navigator.