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PERFORMANCE | 7 out of 10
still saddled with an underpowered engine
the engine seems woefully lacking in the power department
This Lincoln is not as muscular as rival Cadillac Escalade
still lacks the standout performance expected of today's luxury SUVs
Though it’s reasonably quick and agile for such a big SUV, the 2008 Lincoln Navigator suffers in comparison with the much more powerful Cadillac Escalade.
This is the opinion of most reviews normally consulted by TheCarConnection.com.
Automotive.com reports that every Lincoln Navigator 2008 is "powered by a 300-hp 5.4-liter V8," which sounds impressive until one discovers that the "single-overhead cam Triton V8 still generates a maximum 300 horsepower, and virtually every other big SUV has passed it by." Cars.com agrees that while the Lincoln Navigator "has the looks part down...the 300-horsepower V-8 engine seems woefully lacking in the power department, especially at takeoff." Edmunds says the 2008 Lincoln Navigator "still lacks the standout performance expected of today's luxury SUVs, as its 5.4-liter V8 feels a bit breathless next to the V8s in the Escalade, Infiniti QX56 and Mercedes-Benz GL450," and ConsumerGuide agrees that it "is not as muscular as rival Cadillac Escalade."
The Lincoln Navigator 2008 compensates in part for its relatively gutless engine with an excellent transmission. Cars.com says this "six-speed automatic is the sole transmission, and the Navigator can tow up to 8,950 pounds when properly equipped." According to Automotive.com, "the automatic transmission...might be the best...it's both smooth and responsive, [and] performs almost exactly as we like, shifting up or down when we would if we were doing it with a gear-change and clutch, and almost never shifting inappropriately."
Rear- and four-wheel-drive versions are available, as before. The Navigator's maximum tow rating is a very impressive 9,100 pounds. Fuel economy, though, is no strong suit. ConsumerGuide reports that their test Lincoln Navigator "returned just 12.5 mpg, low even for this class." This source notes that 2008 Lincoln Navigator "4WD models are too heavy to be rated in the EPA fuel economy program."
When it comes to driving the big "Gator," it's easy to see that Lincoln knows what it's doing. The four-wheel independent suspension provides a smooth ride, but there's a fair amount of roll in corners. Ultimately, the handling is secure, but this isn't a truck that likes hustling. AutoWeek says "steering response and overall body control make the big ute a surprisingly agile handler." According to Cars.com, "the ride was pleasant on most surfaces, but nothing spectacular"; in any event, the Lincoln Navigator 2008's "sheer size and weight tame most surface imperfections," reports ConsumerGuide.
Fortunately the Navigator has decent brakes. Automotive.com reports that "initially, the brake pedal feels a little soft, but it's very progressive in application and easy to master for smooth, even stops, despite a curb weight exceeding 6,000 pounds for all-wheel drive models."
The 2008 Lincoln Navigator may handle well enough, but it's still underpowered.