I had the good fortune recently to drive the Lincoln Navigator and the all-newish Lincoln Nautilus for a week at a time each and almost back to back. What an interesting compare-and-contrast essay that makes! First off there’s the unignorable aquatic theme.
Long before a nautilus became an expensive way to procrastinate hurting your abs, it was a mollusc — a sea slug. Not just any mollusc though. According to Wiki (please donate today!), nautili haven’t really changed in millions of years. Meaning? Nature got it right the first time. Which is charming because the Nautilus is pretty much Lincoln’s renamed and enhanced MKX, a luxury midsized SUV. (We’ll revisit this vehicle in the next article.)
Then there’s the Navigator. How is that aquatic you’re wondering? Originally a navigator was someone who steered boats, like Prince Henry. It comes from the same root word as naval, nautical and, if you go way back in time, that other ab-killer from the practice of yoga, savasana. Aka boat pose.
Only later did the word come to mean someone who steers other navigable machines from hot air balloons to spaceships to bigass SUVs.
Anyway, Navigator is an apt name because this thing’s like a boat (not unlike the Nissan Armada or Jeep Compass). It’s easy to see why a rapper or mommy-blogger would love it. There’s loads of comfortable room for the former’s posse or the latter’s boat pose. Exactly how much room? It was actually too big for our parking pad in central Toronto.
To be fair, the issue was one of height rather than area. At 2030mm wide with the mirrors out and 5635mm long, this 2018 Navigator Reserve L would’ve tucked uncomfortably onto the pad. Getting in and out would’ve required painfully sucking in the abs but with active park assist, there’d be no scraping the paint. However, at 1933mm tall, the roof rails would’ve been shorn off by the heavy crossbeam our parking spot’s sliding door hangs from.
So, I had to park it illegally in the lane behind our house for a full week. Which sometimes made me feel like a badass rapper who flaunts society’s rules and, other times, an ignorant mommy-blogger who believes the world owes her free parking. Lucky for us, our neighbours are good people.
Like a boat requiring advance warning to navigate around an iceberg, driving it out of the narrow angular lane required an Austin Powers 20-point turn before we were onto city streets. Even then, navigating it was a constant game of slowing to a crawl to slip past the city’s innumerable construction sites spilling onto public territory; those garbage trucks with their Canadarms grabbing recycling bins from sidewalks; those ubiquitous brown delivery vans blocking vital thoroughfares during rush hour — and your basic ignorant city driver texting head-down while drifting into our lane.
Given all that external stress, the exceptional comfort and quality of bling within the Navigator is something you’ll welcome. Your posse can distract itself with the rear seat entertainment system. It’s a $2350 extra — but what are you gonna do? It’s your posse and you came up with them. Given all the real estate inside, any items you pack are likely to shift and slide unless you purchase the tiered cargo management system for an extra $500. And given all that real estate, plus the aforementioned roof rail system up top, it’s shocking that you may need to tow anything. Nonetheless, this tester also came with the heavy-duty trailer tow, itself a $2,000 extra.
Out in traffic, when you do gain a few inches, you’re rewarded with a lionhearted 3.5L V6 turbocharged engine. Rationalize to yourself that you need it to tow whatever’s in your trailer. The engine leaps to attention in ‘Excite’, one of six descriptively named drive modes. With such meaningful titles including Slippery and Conserve, drivers get a good idea of why they’d want to employ these different modes. Most folks just want to get from A to B safely. These titles explain how and why to do it.
But with such sensible nomenclature, how did the same manufacturers come up with such inexplicably oceanic names as Navigator and Nautilus, the other SUV whose luxuries we’ll explore more in the next article? Read it now.
2018 Lincoln Navigator Reserve L 4X4 MSRP: $93,500
As Driven: $106,300
2019 Lincoln Nautilus AWD MSRP: $53,350
As Driven: $69,450