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2018 Lincoln Navigator Black Label features African mahogany, 30-way seats

Mark Phelan, Detroit Free Press on

Published in Automotive News

The suspension creates extra legroom for passengers in the third row of seats. The Navigator is one of the rare SUVs that can accommodate adults in all three rows. The new one is a couple of inches longer than the 2017 model, but avoids looking oversize because of several horizontal lines running along its sides. Aluminum body panels are new, and help reduce weight about 200 pounds from the outgoing model.

The Navigator is remarkably quiet for such a large SUV, thanks to active noise cancellation and suspension tuning that also delivers a smooth, cushioned ride.

Other mechanical features include a 450-hp 3.5L twin-turbo V6 that delivers an amazing 510 pound-feet of torque at just 3,000 rpm for smooth acceleration. A 10-speed transmission shifts quickly and seamlessly. The shifter is controlled by horizontal "piano key" switches placed low in the center stack.

The Black Label package on my test vehicle included deep red "burgundy velvet" paint and a matching interior. The leather seats and trim have contrasting stitching. Even the inner sides of the front-door grab-handles have the same pattern stitches on their seams.

That's what designers call a "third read" feature. You're not likely to notice it in the showroom or the first week you own the car, but it catches your eye later, you'll nod and appreciate Lincoln's attention to detail.

Another feature that gets better the more you know about it are the highlights in the deep red Khaya mahogany. As in all other cars, the wood is a thin veneer over a piece of metal. The highlights are created by using a laser to burn tiny holes in the wood. The holes get bigger and the color of the underlying metal changes the longer the laser is focused on a single spot. The size and color of the dots change progressively as they move from one end of the piece of trim to the other.

 

The center console is exceptionally wide and accommodating, but it's covered in a single strip of wood from the large Khaya trees, so the grain flows uninterrupted from front to back.

The headliner is a suede-like material that looks and feels like the Alcantara luxury brands have used before, but it's Dynamica, from a new supplier because Alcantara doesn't make rolls of material wide enough to cover the roof of a Navigator.

A wide head-up display changes automatically when the driver adjusts the gauges below it, so as to not duplicate what you see on the instrument panel.

While only the driver can see the HUD, another special feature is visible only to people outside the Navigator: The Lincoln badge on the grille lights up a soft blue-white when the car is running.

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