The 2018 Lincoln Navigator is a no-holds-barred luxury SUV

The Navigator's biggest challenge is its high price, but at the same time, that’s part of its appeal.

2018 Lincoln Navigator
The 2018 Lincoln Navigator. –Lincoln

The Lincoln Navigator is all-new for 2018, giving this full-size luxury SUV a major makeover. It has a whole new look, a stunning interior, and a powerful engine. It’s every bit a luxury SUV with a price that reflects its uncompromising design.

That price tag is perhaps the Navigator’s one big drawback. The base model starts at $72,055, which puts it out of reach for most buyers. The 2018 Lincoln Navigator Black Label we tested sits at the top of the trim range and was priced at $100,315. It’s the most luxurious Navigator available, and it looks and feels the part if you can get past the price.

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The Navigator offers unabashed luxury with a striking exterior design that grabs your attention. It has a big grille with an eye-catching design, unique wheels, and lines that are anything but subtle. If you want to go unnoticed, then this is not the SUV for you.

Its grand exterior is matched by a plush interior with cushy leather seats and room for up to eight passengers. There’s a power-folding second and third row with a choice of second-row captain’s chairs or a bench seat. The Navigator’s impressive size gives it a third row that can easily accommodate adults, which isn’t something you can say about most SUVs. No matter where you sit, the Navigator makes sure you feel like you’re in a luxury vehicle.

Adding to its appeal is an infotainment system with a standard 10-inch touchscreen that dominates the dashboard. The SYNC 3 system includes Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and AM/FM/CD. The Black Label trim also has a standard 20-speaker Revel Ultima audio system. Not only does it sound fantastic, but the speaker grilles are beautiful and add to the interior’s ambiance.

Power comes from a 3.5-liter twin turbocharged V6 engine with 450 horsepower and 510 pound-feet of torque paired to a 10-speed automatic transmission. That’s the kind of power you need to make a large SUV like the Navigator feel like something smaller when you hit the gas. It’s partly the horsepower and partly all that torque that make this a responsive ride without any hesitation.

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It’s also a smooth ride, which is one of the hallmarks of a luxury vehicle. The transmission shifts are quiet and well-timed, so the Navigator never sounds strained, and the cabin is remarkably quiet. You won’t hear the wind or the road, which makes the Navigator a refuge from the world on the other side of the windows.

Despite its size, the Navigator handles well. That engine makes sure you have plenty of power to merge into highway traffic. Steering is tight without being tiring. It’s an effortless drive that makes short work of daily commutes or family road trips.

There isn’t any crash test data on the Navigator yet, but there are plenty of standard and available safety features to set your mind at ease. Starting with the Reserve trim, there’s a safety package with a heads-up display, automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, automatic high beams, lane-departure warning, and forward-collision warning. This package comes standard on the Black Label.

It’s hard not to like the Lincoln Navigator. While some vehicles compromise in the interest of keeping pricing down, the Navigator is having none of it. This is a luxury SUV and it won’t be anything else. It has bold styling, an opulent interior, and a powerful engine that doesn’t forget that driving a luxury SUV should be half the fun.