Room for seven people? Check. A sun-roof that’s big enough to impress even a few young adults? Perfect. A setting called “slippery” that causes the vehicle to hug the road when the snow starts to fly? Nice.
I tested out the 2018 Lincoln Navigator recently, driving one to the airport in Minneapolis during a heavy snowstorm, a little worried about how such a large SUV would behave on snowy roads. It took me a few seconds to notice that there’s a specific setting–you use a dial that’s located between the seats–for slippery roads.
I can tell you what it does from experience.
As I drove, the vehicle obviously adjusted the power of the tires to make sure the vehicle never went askew. I’m no daredevil, but it was interesting to press the gas a little and have the vehicle make micro-adjustments you can actually sense as you drive.
This is not the case in the vehicles I actually own, which do not have a setting for traction control. They have acceptable traction, being a bit older with normal tires, but nothing like this test car. In one case, another vehicle swerved in front of me and I decided to change lanes quickly, but never felt like I was going to lose control or swerve.
I experimented with a few other settings for traction control as well. One was called Deep Conditions, which is meant for deeper snow. The vehicle didn’t lurch forward as quickly, presumably preventing tire slip. There are also settings for muddy conditions and a normal setting for dry roads. I’ve never seen such specific options for traction, and I was impressed with how they felt like they made a difference as I drove the vehicle.
The Navigator has plenty of other interesting features, although I was surprised the SUV didn’t have rear-entertainment screens (at least in the one I borrowed). On that long winter trek, it would have been handy to play a DVD for the passengers in the back. It’s possible that fewer and fewer cars will offer these screens since people can use their own phones and tablets.
One feature that did impress me (but you can only test if you own the car): You can request service using Lincoln Pickup & Delivery, which means someone drives to you, lets you borrow a second car, then returns the Navigator after any maintenance or fixes.
I found the seat massage button by accident once. Both seats in the front let you control how the massage works–e.g., the level of massage and where it occurs in the seat. In general, the seats in the Navigator are a big selling point because you can adjust them in so many ways. (You might even say you can adjust them a bit too much, if you find it takes a while to find the exact setting that works for your body type and comfort level.)
Even on the wintry day driving to the airport with seven people, everyone was comfortable. I had no trouble hearing my wife in the second row as we drove, although the passengers in the far back had to speak a little louder than normal.
The base price on the Lincoln Navigator is $72,055–not as high as expected, considering the massive size and all of the tech features and traction control. It’s a little cheaper than the similar Cadillac Escalade, at a $74,695 base price. I’ve never driven an Escalade in a snowstorm, but I can vouch for the Navigator. It was a smooth ride.