Machine Design

2002 Lincoln Navigator -- What a beast

The Lincoln Navigator is one sharp and impressive ride. Not to mention huge...

The Lincoln Navigator is one sharp and impressive ride. Not to mention huge. The first thing my 9-year-old daughter said when I picked her up after school was, "Wow, this puppy sure is big!" Compared to other SUVs I've driven, this one truly makes you feel like you're King of the Road (or in my case, Queen).

First off, I have to give special mention to the power-adjustable brake and accelerator pedals. This feature makes this SUV an all-size drive. Seeing that I'm only 5-ft, 3-in. tall, I felt much safer adjusting the pedals up higher rather than having to move the driver seat closer to the steering column. The pedals can be moved 3 in. towards or away from the driver and settings stored in the driver's memory controls.

The muscle behind this responsive beast is a 5.4-liter four-valve V8 engine that produces 300 hp at 5,000 rpm and 355 lb-ft of torque at 2,750 rpm. This balance of torque and horsepower gives drivers all the off-road engine they could possibly need. And you'll definitely have no problem accelerating onto the freeway or passing up slower-moving vehicles. The combination of the Navigator's power and size makes you feel like you can drive through (or over) anything. Driving my daughter to school one morning, I encountered an extremely slow driver in a compact car, and she shouted out, "You'd better move it buster, or we're gonna drive right over you." Another plus is a fail-safe cooling system that protects the engine from potential damage due to coolant loss.

Speed-sensitive, variable-assist power steering provides confident handling. The Navigator's ride is very smooth for its size, thanks to its rear load-leveling suspension. The height of the vehicle adjusts based on the cargo weight. Our test vehicle was the 4x4 version, which features four-corner load-leveling that automatically adjusts vehicle height at all four wheels. The vehicle's ladder-type frame provides excellent torsional stability. The vehicle was put to the test on a rough stretch of road under construction and it passed with flying colors.

The interior of the Navigator was luxurious for an SUV. Eight people can ride in very comfortably in the standard Nudo leather seats with wood accents. An available climate-controlled seating system constantly monitors the seat-surface temperatures and ambient conditions to provide maximum comfort. A thumbwheel switch cools or heats the seats to the desired temperature within 2 to 3 min.

Aside from the standard comfort amenities such as air conditioning, power-adjustable front seats, solar-tinted windows, and heated exterior mirrors with memory, our test vehicle featured a rear-seat entertainment system ($1,280) with a 7-in. flip screen with VCR, great for entertaining children while you listen to the radio or a CD; skid-plate package ($115); and 17-in. chrome cast-aluminum wheels ($595). One other addition is a reverse-sensing system ($255), which is well worth the investment. Other features include illuminated running boards, maximum cargo volume of 109.9 cu ft, storage bins on both sides of the cargo area, and a 30-gallon fuel tank for a long cruising range.

Base price for our test vehicle was $47,965. Tack on $2,825 for the add-ons and a $715 destination fee, and you can own the Navigator for $51,505.

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