Lincoln Takes Luxury Lead With New Navigator

Since being introduced in 1998, the Lincoln Navigator has earned the reputation of having the ne plus ultra of luxury SUV interiors. While the design of the 2018 remodel breaks with that of its predecessors, which were essentially updates rather than redesigns, it continues to reinforce that notion.

“The Navigator is like Manhattan, there were so many demands we had to get in there,” Lincoln Motor Company design director David Woodhouse says with a laugh. And get in there they did, beginning outside, where the Lincoln star logo on the grille softly illuminates and LEDs in the lower front body and tail lamps subtly engage as passengers approach, a luminous Lincoln welcome mat beneath the front doors. At night, ambient interior lights sequentially illuminate each of the three passenger rows in turn. The belt buckles are even equipped with LEDs.

Once inside, the key fob recalls individual driver preferences for adapting seat, mirror, and pedal positions, as well as climate control and entertainment settings. The “perfect position” seats, adjustable up to 30 different ways and offering massage, heating, and cooling functions, were inspired by Charles and Ray Eames’s classic lounge chair. “There’s definitely an analogy there,” Woodhouse says. Second row passengers can control their own audio and climate. Even the third-row seats can power recline.

For their part, the 20 Revel Ultima speakers offer three listening modes: stereo, audience, and on-stage. The six USB ports are fast charging, while the first-row’s phone charger is wireless. The Navigator is Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatible and the rear-seat entertainment system allows passengers to stream content wirelessly with an Android device to one of the 10-inch adjustable screens mounted on the rear of the front seats—where the passengers can monitor and select viewing content.

While the design process might have been like Manhattan, Woodhouse channeled cues from the Hamptons into the interior aesthetic. “From a design perspective, we wanted to make it more about aspiration than reality,” he says. “We envisioned the perfect family trip, from the city to the beach. And then we provided a place of sanctuary and quiet luxury.”

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