Expert review written by the Kelley Blue Book vehicle review editorial team.
As a main rival to the Cadillac Escalade and formidable competitor to others in its class, the Lincoln Navigator puts an enticing foot forward by being comparably equipped as the rest, but at much lower price point. With a plush, quiet interior and an even more comfortable ride, the Navigator is ready to haul any family in a luxurious manner while towing their boat or horse trailer.
You'll Like The 2012 Lincoln Navigator If...
If you are looking for a luxurious family hauler with the lowest starting price in its class along with an excessively spacious cabin capable of accommodating eight passengers and their gear, the 2012 Lincoln Navigator is worth your consideration.
You May Not Like The 2012 Lincoln Navigator If...
Unless your next luxury SUV must possess an eighth seat, you may find the 7-passenger Infiniti JX, Acura MDX and Buick Enclave more appealing with their superior agility, fuel efficiency and pricing.
The 2012 Lincoln Navigator adds a blind-spot side monitor for the outside mirrors and Lincoln’s Sync Applink mobile app integration feature.
Depending on the configuration, the Lincoln Navigator can seat up to eight passengers as well as enough cargo space to host a family picnic. Opting for the second-row captain’s chairs drops the Navigator’s seating capacity to seven but gains a convenient center console nestled between the two seats. The Navigator’s expansive interior begins to make sense if you are planning to consistently fill all three rows of seats. To help combat some of the frustration associated with today’s intricate infotainment systems, the Lincoln Navigator employs Sync voice-recognition software with over 10,000 commands for simpler operation over a variety of multimedia functions.
Big and bold, the 2012 Lincoln Navigator makes its presence felt on the road. The Navigator’s flashy exterior is characterized by a massive chrome front grille placed between large xenon headlamps and scores of chrome accents. The Navigator rides on standard 18-inch bright-machined alloy wheels, with fender-filling 20-inch chrome wheels available as an option. Though the power liftgate and power-folding third-row seats help, the Navigator’s tall load-in height can make packing cargo difficult. The elevated step-in height is mitigated by power-assisted running boards that extend and retract automatically.
This 2012 Lincoln Navigator boasts a stiff structure and fully independent front and rear suspensions. Monotube shocks all around improve the ride and enable more precise tuning, while a variable-boost power steering pump reduces low-speed effort and improves higher-speed feel and feedback. The Navigator is rock-solid yet surprisingly agile and comfortable on the road, even on rough surfaces. Performance is more than adequate, with a robust 5.4-liter V8 engine and appropriately large brakes to haul it down with authority. The extra-long L version feels heavier (because it is), yet drives smaller than it looks. Both are uncannily quiet inside due to an acoustic windshield, thick side glass and superb sound insulation throughout.
The 2012 Lincoln Navigator’s Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) starts just shy of $59,000, while the L model and its additional 15 inches will tack another $2,000 to the bottom line. Opting for 4-wheel drive adds nearly $3,000. Both Navigator models are considerably less expensive than the Cadillac Escalade and Escalade ESV, yet Kelley Blue Book projects the standard and stretched Navigators’ 5-year residual values to be nearly identical to the pricier Escalades. Navigator transaction prices may vary, so be sure to check KBB’s Fair Purchase Price to see what people are actually paying for their Navigators in your area.
The 2012 Navigator’s standard feature list is generous. Among the major items are automatic xenon headlamps that are nearly three times brighter than conventional halogen bulbs, 10-way power adjustable front seats with heating and cooling, heated second row seats, a power-foldable 60/40-split third-row seat, rear backup camera, keyless entry keypad for the driver’s door, and power-adjustable pedals. Multimedia is supplied via voice-activated navigation with SiriusXM Satellite Radio and Travel Link, HD Radio, and a 14-speaker THX II-certified audio system. Standard safety features include a full complement of airbags, trailer sway control, Lincoln’s MyKey system, and a host of supervisory features for inexperienced drivers.
Options for the Navigator include a power moonroof, a rear-seat DVD entertainment system and the Monochrome Limited Edition Package, which adds monochromatic accents, olive ash interior wood trim and premium leather seats with black inserts and piping. Additional standalone options include a Class IV trailer towing package, remote starting system and 20-inch chrome alloy wheels.
LINCOLN SYNC APPLINKSync Applink is a new feature designed to control popular mobile applications on your smartphone through voice commands. Simply download the compatible apps and connect your smartphone to the vehicle via Bluetooth to manage applications like Pandora, Stitcher or NPR News.POWER-DEPLOYABLE RUNNING BOARDSTo facilitate ingress and egress of this lofty SUV, the 2012 Lincoln Navigator offers standard power running boards that automatically extend when any door is ajar and retract once all doors are closed.
Under the Hood
The 2012 Navigator is powered by a SOHC 5.4-liter V8 that delivers a smooth 310 horsepower and 365 lb-ft of torque through a 6-speed automatic transmission with tow/haul mode. The available 4-wheel drive (4WD) system uses a 2-speed transfer case with optional electronic shift-on-the-fly capability. In low range it shifts the engine’s electronic throttle control to a special off-road calibration for more precise torque management in the worst conditions, such as climbing hills under slippery conditions.2012 Lincoln Navigator and Navigator L5.4-liter V8310 horsepower @ 5,100 rpm365 lb-ft of torque @ 3,600 rpmEPA city/highway fuel economy: 14/20 mpg (gasoline, 2WD), 10/14 mpg (E85, 2WD), 13/18 mpg (gasoline, 4WD), 9/13 mpg (E85, 4WD)
As America’s first full-size luxury SUV, the 8-passenger Lincoln Navigator’s immediate success subsequently paved the way for additional challengers such as the Cadillac Escalade, Infiniti QX56, Lexus LX 570 and Mercedes-Benz GL. Big and capable, the Navigator can now add "high-tech" to its list of superlatives thanks to the addition of Lincoln’s new smartphone integration software, Sync Applink. Although skyrocketing gasoline prices have forced a market shift towards smaller, more-efficient crossovers, those still craving a traditional SUV will appreciate the 2012 Lincoln Navigator’s luxurious amenities, extraordinary cargo capacity and intimidating stature.