- Roomy interior
- Usable third row (L)
- Responsive, smooth transmission
- Excellent ride, reasonable maneuverability
- Retro in a good way
- Engine not gutsy enough for full loads
- Tough visibility without electronic aids
- No modern infotainment system
- Retro in a bad way
The 2013 Lincoln Navigator feels uniquely American in a way that's unmatched by most other big SUVs; but it's behind the times in many respects.
The 2013 Lincoln Navigator stands as a last holdout for a couple of old-guard groups. First, it's one of an ever-decreasing number of body-on-frame, truck-based SUVs; second, it's an old-style luxury vehicle, seemingly designed for Middle America, the excess of the 72-ounce steak, and the ever-present fantasy that yes, you could tow a loaded horse trailer if you wanted.
And that image is in part the fault of Ford. The automaker hasn't changed the look of the Navigator in years; it retains the boxy proportions with smoothed-and-rounded corners that the automaker's pickups had some years earlier, and while it and the closely related Ford Expedition used to be more or less synchronized with those haulers, they never inherited a version of the F-150's crisper look. At once iconic and retro (yes, in both a good and bad way), the Navigator collects trinkets from the brand's heritage going back to the 1960s station-wagon era and matching it with a boldness that counters that of the Cadillac Escalade. Inside the retro-themed gauges and styling no longer look fresh (retro-grade?), although they convey the luxury message.
The 2013 Lincoln Navigator finds its way through another model year with a powertrain that puts it at a disadvantage compared to most other big, truck-based SUVs, although in other respects the Navigator doesn't at all handle like the land yacht it is. With 310 horsepower, the Navigator's 5.4-liter V-8 is woefully behind nearly every competing model. And it's no surprise that the Navigator isn't quick. That said, the six-speed automatic transmission does make the best of it, with smooth, decisive shifts, and most of the lineup can be equipped with either rear- or four-wheel drive. Provided you're okay with merely adequate power, the Navigator does handle better than many other models this big and heavy.
The Navigator remains a reasonably match for weekend towing needs--at a rating of 9,100 pounds max--but consider that with a curb weight of around 6,200 pounds, it's a strained relationship.
Noise insulation, higher-grade materials and more touchable finishes make the Navigator a true luxury-grade vehicle. A few small exceptions to the quality feel are the hard plastic trim elements, chrome-painted plastics, and sometimes cheap-feeling switchgear. Despite the small downside, there's not shortage of handy small storage spaces or cupholders.
Vehicles as large as the 2013 Navigator can sometimes disappoint on functionality. But the Navigator's plus-sized exterior doesn't preclude space-efficiency here; you'll find big seats but also reasonably good versatility and one of the best interiors of any large SUV.
Compared to the more basic models of the Ford Expedition, which the Navigator is related to, the Lincoln gets better materials and trims even though their interiors are essentially of the same design. And just like the Expedition and other SUVs in this class, the Navigator is offered in two different lengths--Navigator and Navigator L. The Navigator L adds 14.7 inches of overall length while doling out an additional 24.5 cubic feet of cargo space. Plus, power fold capability means the third row can be quickly and easily stowed when not in use, and it can be used to scoot faraway cargo toward the rear, as it moves the cargo aft when unfolding the seats.
The 2013 Lincoln Navigator isn't cutting-edge, but it does offer a very long list of features combined with some over-the-top luxury features like cooled front seats, power-deploying running boards, and a power-folding third-row seat. What's sorely missing from the Navigator's feature set is a modern infotainment system, such as MyLincoln Touch. But an EasyFuel capless fuel fill and heated second-row seats are on the standard-feature list and options include a power moonroof, rear-seat DVD system, perimeter alarm, illuminated entry with approach lamps, remote start, and adjustable pedals.