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The Lincoln Navigator is a full-size luxury SUV marketed and sold by the Lincoln brand of Ford Motor Company since the 1998 model year. Sold primarily in North America, the Navigator is the Lincoln counterpart of the Ford Expedition. While not the longest vehicle ever sold by the brand (it is shorter than the 1958–1960 Lincolns and the 1969–1979 Lincoln Continentals), it is the heaviest production Lincoln ever built. Considering its Ford counterpart, it is also the Lincoln with the greatest cargo capacity and the first non-limousine Lincoln to offer seating for more than six people.

Lincoln Navigator
2014 Canadian International AutoShow 0122 (12645566113).jpg
Manufacturer Lincoln (Ford)
Production 1997–present
Model years 1998–present
Assembly Wayne, Michigan, U.S. (Michigan Assembly Plant) (1997–2009)
Louisville, Kentucky, U.S. (Kentucky Truck Plant) (2009–present)[1]
Body and chassis
Class Full-size luxury SUV
Body style 5-door SUV
Layout Front engine, rear-wheel drive / four-wheel drive

The Lincoln Navigator was the first Lincoln (aside from the ill-fated Lincoln Versailles) to be produced in a factory outside the Wixom Assembly Plant since 1958. From 1997 to 2009, production was sourced at the Michigan Assembly Plant in Wayne, Michigan. Since 2007, production has also been sourced from the Kentucky Truck Plant in Louisville, Kentucky.



At the end of the 1980s, in the United States, sport-utility vehicles gradually began to transition from dedicated off-road vehicles towards dedicated family vehicles, similar to station wagons. In 1991, the Jeep Grand Wagoneer ended its 28-year production run. However, by the time of its discontinuation, the vehicle had gained a famous reputation for its high content, featuring the same content as a luxury sedan. Following its official entry into the United States in 1987, the Range Rover was upgraded in trim corresponding with its higher price.

As a response, General Motors introduced the Oldsmobile Bravada in 1991, convincing several other manufacturers to introduce mid-size luxury SUVs. As full-size SUVs such as the Chevrolet Suburban and Ford Expedition are highly profitable vehicles, the Lincoln Navigator came to life out of an effort of badge engineering (remarketing a vehicle, such as a Ford, as a Lincoln with upgraded trim and content).

First generation (1998–2002)Edit

First generation (UN173)
Production May 1997 – March 2002
Model years 1998–2002
Assembly Wayne, Michigan, U.S. (Michigan Assembly Plant)
Body and chassis
Platform Ford U platform
Related Ford Expedition
Ford F-150
Lincoln Blackwood
Engine 5.4 L Triton SOHC V8
5.4 L InTech DOHC V8
Transmission 4-speed 4R100 automatic
Wheelbase 119.0 in (3,020 mm)
Length 204.8 in (5,200 mm)
Width 1998–99: 79.8 in (2,027 mm)
2000–02: 79.9 in (2,030 mm)
Height 2000–02 2WD: 75.2 in (1,910 mm)
1998–99 2WD: 72.7 in (1,847 mm)
2000–02 4WD: 76.7 in (1,948 mm)
1998–99 4WD: 76.7 in (1,948 mm)

The Lincoln Navigator was launched on July 1, 1997 for the 1998 model year, with the first vehicle rolling off the assembly line on May 14, 1997.[2][3] Based directly on the Ford Expedition, introduced the year before, the Navigator gave the Lincoln-Mercury its first full-size SUV (slotted above the Mercury Mountaineer, based upon the Ford Explorer).

In its first calendar year of sales (1998), Navigator contributed to an unprecedented event of recent decades – the overtaking of the Lincoln brand by perennial rival Cadillac in annual sales volume. Initially, published figures indicated that Cadillac had outsold Lincoln by a scant 222 vehicles sold, thanks to an enormous surge in Cadillac Escalade sales in December 1998, from hundreds in previous months to almost 5,000. A subsequent audit resulted in a retraction/apology in May 1999, attributing the "error" to "overzealous" "low-level" employees.[4]


The Lincoln Navigator was also developed under the Ford program code name UN173, with the Expedition developed under the UN93 program code name.[5] A full-size body-on-frame vehicle, the Navigator was mechanically related to the Ford Expedition; both vehicles were related to the 1997 Ford F-Series. As with many high-end SUVs, the Navigator featured independent front suspension (short-long arm/SLA); the rear suspension was of a live rear axle design. Using an optional feature from its Ford counterpart, the Navigator was designed with load-leveling air suspension; tuned primarily for ride comfort, the air suspension lowered itself when the vehicle was parked.

Although technically available with rear-wheel drive, the primary drivetrain on the Lincoln Navigator was ControlTrac, a computer-controlled automatic four-wheel drive system. As with the Expedition, the Navigator was fitted with four-wheel anti-lock disc brakes.

Using the same 230 hp 5.4L Triton V8 as the Expedition/F-150 paired with the 4-speed 4R100 automatic transmission, the 1998 Lincoln Navigator came with a towing capacity of 7,700 pounds (3,500 kg).[6] During 1999, Lincoln would fit two different engines in the Navigator in an effort to better match full-size SUVs from General Motors. At the beginning of the model year, the Triton V8 was upgraded to 260 hp; as a running change during the model year, Lincoln would replace the SOHC Triton with a 300 hp DOHC 5.4L V8, named InTech (borrowing a name from the Mark VIII). Due to the increase in power, towing capacity would increase to over 8,500 lb (3,900 kg).


Although the Lincoln Navigator shares the same bodyshell as the Ford Expedition, giving it a similar exterior appearance, Lincoln stylists would make many design changes to differentiate the two vehicles. Forward of the windshield, the Lincoln Navigator shares no body panels with its Ford counterpart, with its own front fascia (a grille design shared with the 1998 Lincoln Town Car and the 2000 Lincoln LS), wheels, roof rack, lower body trim, and taillights. The interior of the two vehicles shared more commonality, with the dashboard common to both vehicles (with greater use of wood trim); the Navigator was given its own seat design. To make for a quieter interior over the Expedition and Ford F-Series, the Navigator made greater use of sound deadening materials and higher-quality carpeting.

The Lincoln Navigator included standard features available or optional on the Expedition, including power driver and passenger bucket seats, 2nd-row bucket seats (with a 2nd-row bench seat as a delete option), floor consoles, and keyless entry. The few options available included a power moonroof, a universal garage door opener, 7 seven to 8 eight passenger seating an electrochromic rearview mirror (filtering out headlight glare from vehicles seen in the mirror), and a premium audio system (a seven speaker, 290-Watt audio system with a 6-disc front console-mounted CD-changer, and rear seat audio controls), and 17-inch alloy wheels.[7]

During its production run, Lincoln made few changes to the first-generation Navigator. In 1999, alongside the addition of the InTech V8, power-adjustable brake and accelerator pedals were added; the previously optional 17-inch wheels became standard.

For 2000, the fender-mounted radio antenna was integrated into the right-rear window, while the interior received Nudo leather seating surfaces.[8] The options list expanded to include a satellite navigation system, heated and cooled front seats, a reverse-sensing system, and side-impact airbags.

For 2001, several minor cosmetic changes were made. On the grille and tailgate, the Lincoln emblem was given a black background (replacing the previous red); on the tailgate, the Lincoln and Navigator badging switched sides. A VHS-based video entertainment system became an option.

Second generation (2003–2006)Edit

Second generation (U228)
Production April 2002 – 2006
Model years 2003–2006
Assembly Wayne, Michigan, U.S. (Michigan Assembly Plant)
Body and chassis
Platform Ford U platform
Related Ford Expedition
Ford F-150
Engine 5.4 L InTech DOHC V8
5.4 L Triton SOHC V8
Transmission 4-speed 4R100 automatic
6-speed ZF 6HP26 automatic
Wheelbase 118.8 in (3,020 mm)
Length 2003–04: 206.0 in (5,230 mm)
2005–06: 207.5 in (5,270 mm)
Width 2003–04: 78.7 in (1,999 mm)
2005–06: 80.2 in (2,040 mm)
Height 77.8 in (1,980 mm)
2003–2006 Lincoln Navigator, Germany

For 2003, a number of changes and improvements were made to the Navigator thanks to a thorough redesign. The Navigator continued to share a platform with the Ford Expedition, which was also redesigned for 2003, but continued to differ from it in terms of styling and various upscale features. The 2003 redesign featured a thoroughly revised exterior, the first since the Navigator's launch, with only the front doors and roof panel unchanged from the previous generation. The new exterior came with things such as a larger chrome waterfall grille, brighter quad-beam headlights with larger housings, revised chrome door handles set in color-keyed bezels, and slightly wider running boards. Inside the Navigator was an all-new instrument panel and dashboard area which, significantly, was not shared with the Expedition. Inspired by the symmetrical, "dual-cockpit" layout of the 1961 Lincoln Continental, the instrument panel and dashboard area was adorned with real walnut burl wood inserts and panels and switches painted with a low-luster satin nickel color. Adding to the upscale interior design further were white LEDs, 120 in all, which provided backlighting for controls and switches. Additionally, to direct attention to the high-quality satin nickel-faced analog clock mounted in the dashboard, an articulating door is present to conceal the radio head unit and optional satellite navigation system when they are not in use.[9]

Highlighting the Navigator's design changes were other new features and options for 2003. Newly available features like Ford's Safety Canopy side curtain airbags and a tire pressure monitoring system improved occupant safety. Convenience was enhanced by the availability of power running boards (an industry first), power-folding third row seats, a power liftgate, and HID headlights (for top end models). The available rear-seat video entertainment system was updated to be DVD-based and all Navigators now came with standard 18x7.5-inch alloy wheels with 18x8-inch chrome wheels available as an option.

Like the redesigned 2003 Expedition (U222), the Navigator benefitted from a reworked chassis, new rack-and-pinion steering, and an all-new independent rear suspension (IRS), which brought better handling and ride comfort. The Navigator continued to benefit from a load-leveling air suspension but it now lowered the vehicle by an inch when stopped in the interest of easing entry and exit. The Navigator's powertrain was modified from the UN173, but the 5.4 L DOHC V8 used before was no longer advertised under the InTech name. But it now produced 300 hp (224 kW) at 5500 rpm and 355 lb⋅ft (481 N⋅m) of torque at 3750 rpm Due to changes brought with the redesign, the Navigator's base curb weight increased to 5,760 lb (2,610 kg) in two-wheel drive models and nearly 6,000 lb (2,700 kg) in four-wheel drive models. In turn, towing capacity dropped slightly.[10]

Tire-pressure monitoring was made standard for 2004 while Ford's AdvanceTrac, a type of traction control system, with Roll Stability Control was an option. In 2004, for 2005 the Navigator received a minor facelift with new square-shaped foglights replacing the circular ones used previously. AdvanceTrac with RSC was now standard while HID headlights were available on all models. In the interest of cost effectiveness, the 5.4 L DOHC V8 introduced in the 1999 model year was replaced by the same 5.4 L 3-valve SOHC V8 that had been available in the F-150 since the 2004 model year. Though having a different head design, the new engine offered similar overall output, producing 300 hp (220 kW) at 5000 rpm and 365 lb⋅ft (495 N⋅m) of torque at 3750 rpm. On a side note, the new engine was not marketed under the Triton name in the Navigator even though it is mechanically identical to the F-150's engine. The venerable 4R100 4-speed automatic transmission used in earlier Navigators was replaced with a new ZF Friedrichshafen AG-sourced 6-speed automatic transmission. The 2005 Navigator's base curb weight fell to 5,555 lb (2,520 kg) while four-wheel drive models dropped to 5,842 lb (2,650 kg). Towing capacity increased slightly over the previous model year to 8,600 lb (3,900 kg) in two-wheel drive models and 8,300 lb (3,800 kg) in four-wheel drive models.[11] For 2006, an Elite package for the Ultimate trim level was made available, including a DVD-based satellite navigation system with a voice-activated touch screen, THX audio system, rear-seat DVD entertainment system, and HID headlights.

Third generation (2007–2017)Edit

Third generation (U326)
Also called Lincoln Navigator L
Lincoln Navigator L Limousine (with conversion)
Production August 2, 2006 – July 2, 2017[12][13]
Model years Initial version: 2007–2014
Refresh version: 2015–2017
Assembly Wayne, Michigan, U.S. Michigan Assembly Plant (2007–2009)
Louisville, Kentucky, U.S. (Kentucky Truck Assembly) (2009–Present)
Body and chassis
Platform Ford T1 platform
Related Ford Expedition
Ford F-150
Engine 2007–2014 version: Triton SOHC 5.4L V8
2015 refresh:
EcoBoost 3.5L V6
Transmission 6-speed ZF 6HP26 automatic
6-speed 6R80 automatic
Wheelbase SWB: 119.0 in (3,023 mm)
L: 131.0 in (3,327 mm)
Length SWB: 208.4 in (5,293 mm)
L: 223.3 in (5,672 mm)
Width SWB: 78.8 in (2,002 mm)
L 2WD: 78.1 in (1,984 mm)
L 4WD: 79.7 in (2,024 mm)
Height 78.3 in (1,989 mm)
Curb weight SWB: 5,780 lb (2,622 kg)-5,986 lb (2,715 kg)
L: 6,031 lb (2,736 kg)-6,239 lb (2,830 kg)
2007-2014 Lincoln Navigator SWB
2007–2014 Lincoln Navigator LWB

The Navigator was redesigned under the U326 program code name, with new styling and mechanical features for 2007. Unveiled at the Chicago Auto Show in February 2006, the Navigator featured its most distinctive styling update since its introduction with new front and rear fascias and side cladding. In the front was a large, upper chrome grille resembling those of classic Lincolns like the 1963 Continental, an all-new, more complex headlight design, a lower chrome grille with integrated foglights, and a more prominent "power dome" hood. Elsewhere, an updated rear fascia featured taillights inspired by the Lincoln MKZ and chrome trim was more prominently used along the Navigator's sides, including chrome lower body molding on the doors. The distinctiveness of the Navigator's exterior followed into the interior, highlighted by an all-new dashboard and instrument panel. These areas saw an extensive use of rectangular shapes, such as in the gauges, as well as greater use of real wood and satin nickel accents.

Accompanying the Navigator's redesign for 2007 was a new model, the Navigator L developed under the U418 program code name. Comparable to the Cadillac Escalade ESV, the Navigator L is 14.7 inches (370 mm) longer than the standard Navigator on a 12-inch (300 mm) longer wheelbase, increasing its cargo capacity. The Navigator L was introduced parallel to the Expedition EL, an extended version of the Ford Expedition. Both the Navigator and Expedition were redesigned for 2007 and based on Ford's T1 platform, which is related to the same platform that the 2004+ F-150 is based on. Compared to the Navigator's previous platform, the new platform provides greater rigidity for better driving dynamics. The independent rear suspension has been replaced with a new five-link IRS design to further enhance handling and ride quality. The Navigator continued to come with standard 18-inch alloy wheels but both 20- and 22-inch wheels are now available. The 5.4 L 3-valve SOHC V8 introduced in the 2005 Navigator remained unchanged for 2007. The ZF Friedrichshafen 6-speed automatic transmission was replaced by Ford's own 6-speed design, the 6R80 for the 2009 model year. Due to the Navigator's redesign, its base curb weight increased to 5,872 lb (2,663 kg) in two-wheel drive models and 6,070 lb (2,750 kg) in four-wheel drive models. Navigator L models were even heavier at 5,963 lb (2,705 kg) in two-wheel drive models and 6,221 lb (2,822 kg) in four-wheel drive models. In spite of this, thanks to their improved frame, the Navigator's towing capacity increased for 2007, approaching 9,000 lb (4,100 kg) in two-wheel drive models.[14]

Since the 2007 model redesign, the Navigator no longer uses the same transfer case as the Expedition. Expedition four-wheel drives continue to use a two-speed dual range transfer case with off-road low range reduction gearing and default off-road program that remaps (reprograms) the electronic throttle control and traction control system response for off-road conditions. Navigator four-wheel drives have been demoted to a light-duty one-speed single range transfer case which lacks low range gearing.

For 2008, packaging for the Navigator's luxury and convenience features was simplified, resulting in the elimination of the perennial Luxury and Ultimate trim levels and the standardization of a number of features that were previously optional. Some of these newly standard features included heated and cooled front seats, power-folding third row seats, a power liftgate, and a 600-Watt 14-speaker THX II-Certified audio system. Also newly standard was a 3.31:1 rear axle ratio, though a 3.73:1 ratio was still available as option for the Navigator and remained standard in the Navigator L. Newly available was a rearview camera to aid in backing up.

For 2009, the Navigator's 5.4 L V8 gained 10 hp (7.5 kW) as well as flex-fuel capability. The rearview camera that was new for 2008 was now standard, as were heated second row seats, Front Park Assist, a capless fuel filler, rain-sensing windshield wipers, and Lincoln SYNC.[15]

The third generation Navigator and Navigator L continued to be offered for the 2010 model year, with only slight changes.[16]

For 2011, both the Navigator and the Navigator L feature HD Radio, Sirius TravelLink, and Lincoln SYNC as standard on all trims.[17]

For the 2013 model year, the only changes made to the Navigator were the addition of new color trims: Kodiak Brown Metallic Tri-Coat, Midnight Sapphire Metallic, and Ruby Red Metallic Tinted Clearcoat.[18]

The 2014 model year was a carryover from 2013 with the same features and no cosmetic changes. This would be the last model year that it would feature the front grille fascias.

2015 refreshEdit

Refreshed 2015 Lincoln Navigator

In March 2013, Ford had confirmed reports that the next generation Lincoln Navigator would not be a repackaged Ford Expedition as the previous generations were, despite trailing the MKX in terms of sales but ahead of the MKT, but hopes to make it more competitive in the luxury SUV segment as they prepare to take on the Cadillac Escalade, Infiniti QX80, and the Mercedes-Benz GL-Class, each of which had already or would launch new generations within 2013 or 2014,[19] and would be designed by the new Lincoln design team that also designed the new 2013 MKZ. It would be completely new and would feature the 3.5 Ecoboost, new interior and exterior and performance upgrades.[20] But in May 2013 a prototype Navigator with a different front grill was tested featuring the EcoBoost in preparation for the updated Navigator,[21] which was followed by more spy shots taken in September 2013 that was sporting Lincoln's updated signature front grill.[22]

On January 22, 2014, three photos of the 2015 Navigator were released on Twitter[23] and Instagram,[24] along with an announcement that the refreshed SUV would be revealed at the Washington Auto Show the following day (January 23, 2014).[25] However, hours after the leaks were made public, Lincoln held a press event in Detroit for the vehicle[26] and revealed the updated Navigator earlier than expected.[27]

The 2015 Navigator and Navigator L kept the same exterior styling design as the Expedition instead of the reported repackaging that was announced earlier by Ford. However, it now featured an updated front grille with the rear tailgate lights bearing a resemblance to the Dodge Durango. The EcoBoost V6 engine is the only engine offered for the 2015 model year and makes 380-horsepower and 460-lb ft. The exterior included HID headlamps with LED running lights and full LED taillights. The twenty-inch wheels comes standard, replacing the 18-inch wheels, while a reserve package featured 22-inch wheels. The dashboard panels features MyLincoln Touch with Sync as a standard and controlled through an eight-inch, touchscreen display in the dash, and home to twin 4.2-inch displays that flank a central speedometer, falling in line with the rest of the Lincoln models. The push-button start became standard, likewise a passive entry and a rear-view camera. The blind-spot monitoring was added as an optional feature.

Both the refreshened and redesigned Navigator and Navigator L went into production in the Summer of 2014, and arrived to dealers in the fall of 2014 as a 2015 model.[28][29]


2016 Lincoln Navigator SUV 4x4 NHTSA[30]
Frontal Driver:      
Frontal Passenger:      
Side Driver:      
Side Passenger:      
Side Pole Driver:      
Rollover AWD:       19.8%
Rollover RWD:       21.2%[31]

Fourth generation (2018–present)Edit

Fourth generation (U554)
Also called Lincoln Navigator L
Lincoln Navigator L Limousine (with conversion)
Production September 25, 2017-present
Model years 2018-present
Assembly Louisville, Kentucky, U.S. (Kentucky Truck Assembly)
Body and chassis
Platform Ford T3 platform
Related Ford Expedition
Ford F-150
Engine Ford EcoBoost 3.5L V6
Transmission Ford 10-speed 10R80 SelectShift automatic

Transfer case (4x4 models)

2-speed BorgWarner 4417
High range ratio: 1.00:1
Low range ratio: 2.64:1
Wheelbase SWB: 122.0 in (3,099 mm)
L: 131.0 in (3,327 mm)
Length SWB: 210.5 in (5,347 mm)
L: 223.3 in (5,672 mm)
Width SWB: 78.8 in (2,002 mm)
L 2WD: 78.1 in (1,984 mm)
L 4WD: 79.7 in (2,024 mm)
Height 78.3 in (1,989 mm)
Curb weight SWB: 5,780 lb (2,622 kg)-5,986 lb (2,715 kg)
L: 6,031 lb (2,736 kg)-6,239 lb (2,830 kg)
Lincoln Navigator Concept at the 2016 LA Auto Show.

In March 2016, The Lincoln Navigator Concept was unveiled at the 2016 New York International Auto Show, which offered an overall design as a preview of the U554 Navigator. However, the concept's gullwing doors and the stair-inspired steps were only featured as part of a display of the production model.[32] That elicited a joking comment from, when it echoed a response from editor Aaron Bragman, who correctly predicted that Lincoln would retain the same features without the gull wings and steps.[33]

On April 12, 2017, Lincoln introduced the officially designed fourth generation Navigator at the 2017 New York Auto Show.[34] This version, like the fourth generation Expedition, is designed to be lighter, more spacious and luxurious than the previous generation, losing 200 pounds with a new aluminum body and features a new 3.5-liter V-6 engine paired with a 10-speed automatic transmission. Specifications are now rated at 450 hp (336 kW) @5000 rpm, 510 lb⋅ft (691 N⋅m) @3500 rpm (matching the Ford F-150 SVT Raptor). 12-inch configurable instrument cluster and head-up display are among the new offerings. The Navigator will continue to offer the standard size and extended length L versions along with the same level trims as the previous generation. Lincoln has set a MSRP at $73,000 (US) for the standard size and $84,000 (US) for the L version.[35]

The Navigator family also debuted the upmarket "Black Label" series, with three new optional trims, Destination, Chalet, and Yacht Club. The three will be the most expensive Navigators in the fourth generation lineup, carrying a MSRP base price starting at $94,000 (US) for the standard size and around $98,100 (US) for the L version.[36]


On January 14, 2018, The Lincoln Navigator was awarded Truck of the Year at the 2018 North American International Auto Show, marking the first time that a Lincoln vehicle has been given a NAIAS award, as well as the first American-built Luxury Sport Utility Vehicle in this segment to win in this category.[37][38]


Calendar Year American sales
1997[39] 26,834
1998 43,859
1999[40] 39,250
2000 37,923
2001[41] 31,759
2002[42] 30,613
2003 38,742
2004[43] 36,398
2005 25,844
2006[44] 23,947
2007 24,050
2008[45] 14,836
2009[46] 8,057
2010[47] 8,245
2011[48] 8,018
2012[49] 8,371
2013[50] 8,613
2014[51] 10,433
2015[52] 11,964
2016[53] 10,421
2017[54] 10,523


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