Lincoln Navigator (1998)

Lincoln Navigator (1998)A friend of ours described the Navigator as "a Ford Expedition...that J. C.Whitney threw up on."

The Navigator is, basically, a Ford Expedition. The major difference isthat it's got a 5.4-liter instead of a 4.6-liter engine--which, by the way,ought to be against the law. Why? Get this: The EPA rating for this caris 12 miles per gallon in the city, 16 miles per gallon on the highway. Inthis day and age, that's downright obscene! Quite frankly, we think thisis a ridiculous vehicle to own.

We didn't care much for the Expedition, either. It's not that thesevehicles aren't well built. It's not that there's anything wrong with themtechnically. We just think they're too doggone big, consarn it! If we hadto choose between the two, we'd choose the Ford Expedition.

Why? It's not quite as garishly appointed, and the ride is slightlyfirmer. The Navigator's handling is "squishier," to borrow an adjectivefrom the automotive sciences. That's not to say it was bad, but itcertainly could have been better.

There's no doubt about it--the Navigator is comfortable on long rides. OurProducer, Dougie Berman, took it to Pennsylvania one weekend. Of course,it cost him $1,386 to fuel the beast, but it was an extremely comfortableride. And, being that most of it was on highways designed fortractor-trailers, there wasn't a lot of trouble handling the corners.

The Navigator, by the way, has a completely useless running board. Arunning board, if you remember correctly, is supposed to assist one ingetting in and out of the vehicle. Well, in this case, the geniusdesigners at Lincoln decided that they'd incorporate a narrow running boardthat, for all intents and purposes, was just for looks. The end result?The only function of the Navigator's running board is to collect mud, dirtand water...so when you do get out, you have to step over the running boardto get to the ground--and you get mud on the back of your pants in theprocess. Someone's idea of aesthetics? Nice design, guys!

If you compare getting in and out of the Navigator to getting on and off ahorse, you're all set--and you won't be disappointed. Get a running start,and go for it. Most of the time, you should make it just fine.

If you live in or near a city, there could not be a worse car for you toown. Need to parallel park somewhere? Forget it. You might as well driveover a few cars and park on top of them.

So, who should buy this car? Well, if you live out in the sticks, don'tmind spending 35 bucks every time you stop to fill up (and trust us, you'llbecome good friends with Norm at the Kwik Stop) and you've got a big familyand loads of gear to haul around, you might want to take a look at theNavigator. But don't come whining to us when gas goes up to the $4 agallon it ought to be priced at.

We predict that this will be a hugely popular car...in Texas. TheNavigator is big and fancy, which makes it perfect for the average Texan.It also needs all that space between Plano and Midland just to make athree-point turn.

A final note: The Navigator has one great feature--it comes with a toiletbowl built into the back seat. Okay, it's not a toilet bowl. But, c'mon, itsure looks like a toilet bowl, doesn't it? Now, who was the slanthead atLincoln who dreamed up this aesthetic touch? It's only a matter of timebefore someone's 3-year-old lifts the lid and...well, you get the idea.

View cars.com model report on this vehicle.


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