Hot off the assembly line, the newly redesigned 2018 Lincoln Navigator, is off to a great and unexpected start. The good news for Ford is that it sells everyone it makes. The bad news is that it can’t build enough of them to keep up with consumer demand. The highly praised SUV started the year off by winning the “North American Truck of the Year” award at the North American International Autoshow. The finalist was selected by a panel of 50 auto writers.
The most significant recognition for the 2018 Lincoln Navigator was winning the J.D. Powers “U.S. Appeal Study” and receiving the highest score (915) of any model. It was also the highest score ever recorded in the history of the study, which began in 1996.
“The Appeal Study is based on responses gathered from November 2017 through February 2018 from nearly 68,000 purchasers and lessees of new 2018 model-year vehicles who were surveyed after 90 days of ownership,” according to J.D. Powers.
Although Ford only produces a handful of Navigators (1,300), sales of the new generation model have increased by over 80 percent from last year. Percentage wise, it’s the fastest sales growth of any SUV in the market. If Ford increases its production, there’s no telling how many it can sell.
Overall, in the first three months of this year, some 40,521 large luxury SUVs were sold in the U.S., which was up from 36,008 a year earlier. Sales of the 2018 Lincoln Navigator rose 63 percent, the Range Rover Velar sales were up by 39 percent, while the Infiniti QX80 experienced a 5 percent increase. Meanwhile, sales of other competitors like the Lexus LX, and Mercedes GLS were have fallen.
The segment leading Cadillac Escalade, which was up only 8 percent, doesn't plan on launching its redesign until 2020, which is two years away. Meanwhile, Fiat Chrysler also has plans to jump into this hot market and is building a large luxury SUV called the Jeep Grand Wagoner.
The redesigned Lincoln Navigator appeals to buyers who want style, size, luxury and performance. They have found it in the stylist Navigator, which is powered by a turbocharged 3.5-liter V6 that produces 450 horsepower and 510 pound-feet of torque.
The new Navigator is light on its feet, which is due to its aluminum body and parts that make it 150 pounds lighter. It is also one of the quietest and most fuel-efficient large SUVs on the market. It no longer looks like a humongous boat, but has a suspension that feels like its floating down the road. The platform was built off an upgraded version of the Ford F-150 chassis and independent rear suspension. The wheelbase is longer than its predecessor and comes in two sizes - the base model has a 122.5-inch wheelbase and the Navigator L extended version has a 131.6-inch wheelbase.
I tested the 2018 Lincoln Navigator 4x4 Reserve model that came loaded with standard exterior and interior features. My favorite option is the power heated and cooling massage seats, which is an extra $1,250. They're the best massage seats I’ve ever experienced in a vehicle. They are a stress reducer, but seem too relaxing to be driving around in dense traffic.
According to sales stats, most buyers are opting for the Reserve package, which is an extra $12,500 over the $81,205 base MSRP. It comes with more luxurious features, including softer leather throughout the interior, suede wrapped material, plush carpeting, and real wood panels. It also comes with a 50,000 mile maintenance plan and in-home delivery.
The new Navigator doesn’t leave anything or anyone behind. It includes all the bells and whistles, including a wireless phone charger and access to the internet. Although it looks more compact than the older model, it has more interior room than other large SUVs currently on the market.
What more can I say? Ford is a winner with the newly redesigned 2018 Lincoln Navigator. However, if you consider getting one, be prepared to wait in line. For more information on specs, ratings and pricing click here.