2008 Lincoln Navigator Review

Consumer Reviews
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2018
The Car Connection
2018
The Car Connection

The Car Connection Expert Review

Marty Padgett Marty Padgett Editorial Director
August 1, 2008

The 2008 Lincoln Navigator has more going for it than bling.

TheCarConnection.com's editors researched road tests on the new 2008 Ford Expedition to write this comprehensive review. Experts from TheCarConnection.com also drove both the Lincoln Navigator and Lincoln Navigator L. This research and experience give this team the ability to offer you an authoritative opinion on this luxurious full-size SUV. This review also pits the 2008 Navigator against other full-size SUVs to give you the best advice even when other reviews might present differing opinions.

Funny to think that the full-size SUV has only been around since 1998, and back then, they were just glorified work trucks--not exactly pigs with lipstick, but you get the idea. Today, the full-size luxury SUV segment is well populated with capable vehicles from three continents.

The Lincoln Navigator slides into 2008 after a major overhaul in 2007, so the changes for this year are pretty slim. Some editors at TheCarConnection.com like the looks of this full-size SUV, as it recalls the grille work of the classic Lincoln Continental models from the early 1960s. Other editors think the style can be classified as "overkill in chrome." Regardless, the appearance is immediately recognizable as Lincoln, so at least it gets props for that.

As it did last year, the 2008 Navigator comes in two editions for 2008: standard and long-wheelbase L, which is 14.7 inches longer than the standard model and has more storage capacity (42.7 cubic feet. vs. 18.2 cubic feet). With both the second- and third-row seats folded, the standard Navigator boasts 103.5 cubic feet of cargo space, while the L model ups that to a cavernous 128.2 cubic feet.

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The Navigator is a large SUV in the latest idiom, with an independent suspension and smooth V-8 power. Both versions of the Navigator are powered by the same 300-horsepower, 5.4-liter V-8 also used in the Mark LT pickup and the Ford Expedition (a kissing cousin to the Navigator). In the Navigator, this engine is teamed up with a six-speed automatic transmission. Rear- and four-wheel-drive versions are available, as before. The Navigator's maximum tow rating is a very impressive 9,100 pounds.

Safety-wise, the 2008 Lincoln Navigator performs very well in government front and side crash tests. Additionally, Stability Roll Control and other dynamic safety equipment are standard.

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. The engine does provide good power, but compared to other V-8 engines in the class, the Ford-sourced 5.4-liter isn't overly impressive. The six-speed automatic did make the 2008 Lincoln Navigator a pleasant cruiser, helping to keep engine speed down at interstate speeds.

The powertrain contributed to the quietness of the comfortable interior. The interior's design, function, and comfort are good, and much more upscale than the Ford Expedition. The Lincoln-style gauges are a fun throwback, and even the third-row seats are comfortable. When not needed, the power-fold feature on those seats is especially convenient. As one editor of TheCarConnection.com recently experienced, cargo that is beyond the reach of one's arm can be "slid" toward the tailgate's opening by unfolding the third-row seat; as the seat raises itself, the cargo shifts rearward.

The updates for the 2008 Lincoln Navigator are limited to comfort and convenience features. There's a standard power liftgate in the back, along with heated and cooled front seats, Sirius Satellite Radio, a THX II-certified audio system, and a power-folding third-row seat, as well as the convenience and safety of a standard rearview camera.

New options for the 2008 model year include a Monochrome Limited Edition Package with new outer trim and cladding, power-folding side rear mirrors, and unique badging. Inside, the Monochrome package adds black carpet and floor mats, black wood trim, and distinct seats with black-leather inserts and Lincoln logos stitched on the headrests. Stand-alone options now include 20-inch chromed aluminum wheels, premium leather seats, a rear-seat DVD entertainment system, power running boards (standard on the L), and a power moonroof.

The Europeans competing in this segment are serious about delivering an excellent driving experience. Frankly, it's hard to beat the Mercedes GL if you can afford it. The Land Rover Range Rover is smaller than the Navigator, and it drives smaller, too. However, it's big enough, and if you'd ever think of venturing off-road, the Land Rover is simply amazing. However, the reliability on the Rover isn't sterling.

The Japanese luxury SUVs aren't the class leaders in this category of vehicle. The big Lincoln Navigator will outhaul them, and it offers more interior gadgets; plus, the quality issue isn't the trump card it used to be. Furthermore, the styling (especially for the Infiniti QX56) of these SUVs is somewhat awkward or undistinguished.

8

2008 Lincoln Navigator

Styling

The 2008 Lincoln Navigator may indeed be the ultimate "Blingmobile."

The 2008 Lincoln Navigator is bold, flashy—maybe even a little pretentious, according to the reviews consulted by TheCarConnection.com.

Some editors at TheCarConnection.com like the look of this full-size SUV, as it recalls the grille work of the classic Lincoln Continental models from the early 1960s. Other editors think the style can be classified as "overkill in chrome."

Automotive.com gives the most neutral opinion on the big Lincoln’s style: "the Navigator's basic shape is clean, if slightly bland...the profile is tidy for such a big vehicle, almost lean.” More typical is the assessment from Cars.com, which says the Lincoln Navigator "might as well be called the Blingmobile, thanks to its giant, diamond-cut chrome grille." Edmunds reports that the Lincoln Navigator 2008 has the "most amount of chrome available on the nose of any current production vehicle." However, in this era of cost-cutting, Cars.com points out that chrome "is very expensive these days and is rarely used on new cars and trucks," revealing that the Lincoln Navigator 2008 "grille is actually painted plastic, and when you get up close you can tell it isn't substantial." However, they also say "it sure looks real from far away, though, and will look that way to the people and drivers you pass on the street." In any event, they point out that the "2008 Lincoln Navigator is about as big, bold and flashy as they come." The reviewer at Mother Proof quips "other than it being just a smidge pretentious, I like the way it looks...it is distinctive, stylish, and decidedly Lincoln...discreet, however, it is not."

When it comes to the Lincoln Navigator's interior design, Automotive.com says that "if you like the retro design you won't be disappointed with the finish, particularly with the lighter Anigre wood trim, the square-ish shapes and flat switch clusters inside the Navigator generate a kind of post-modern, Scandinavian feel." The test driver at Cars.com loves "the retro gauges," which bring to mind his grandfather's "Cadillacs of the 1970s and early '80s," and says they're "easy to read and extremely distinctive, the gauges make an elegant statement." According to Kelley Blue Book, the design influence goes back even further: "The instrument bezels, 'inspired by popular rectangular fashion eyewear,' have a '50s retro look."

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2008 Lincoln Navigator

Performance

The 2008 Lincoln Navigator may handle well enough, but it's still underpowered.

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."

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2008 Lincoln Navigator

Comfort & Quality

The 2008 Lincoln Navigator interior is wonderfully luxurious, but marred by some lower-grade materials.

The 2008 Lincoln Navigator is as big inside as it is on the outside, with comfortable seats and plush appointments.

As last year, the 2008 Navigator comes in two editions for 2008: standard and long-wheelbase L, which is 14.7 inches longer than the standard model and has more storage capacity (42.7 cubic feet. vs. 18.2 cubic feet). With both the second- and third-row seats folded, the standard Navigator boasts 103.5 cubic feet of cargo space, while the L model ups that to a cavernous 128.2 cubic feet.

Automotive.com reports "any version of this full-size sport-utility vehicle can seat either seven or eight." According to Cars.com, "inside the cabin, big, plush seats welcome the driver and passengers." It is noted here that the Lincoln Navigator 2008 "third row was about as cramped as any third row in a large SUV these days, but the power fold option was nifty to watch." In any event, the Lincoln Navigator has "no shortage of room in any direction...the seats are generously sized and very supportive," says ConsumerGuide.

Storage and cargo space are equally generous. While Cars.com remarks that the Navigator’s "center console sports four cupholders for the incredibly thirsty traveler," this source points out that "it didn't fit much other stuff...there were no smaller cubbies for things like breath mints, change, a cell phone, etc." However, Automotive.com states that folding "the second- and third-row seats...the Navigator L opens a whopping 129 cubic feet of cargo space."

The materials used in the Lincoln Navigator draw mostly favorable notice. ConsumerGuide notes "luxuriously soft leather upholstery and real-wood interior trim are standard," but the "premium ambiance is let down by low-budget switchgear feel, painted plastic panels, and a few too many unpadded surfaces." Cars.com also  contends there's "something odd in the texture of 2008 Lincoln Navigator's new interior plastic...it doesn't seem nice enough to be in a pseudo-luxury vehicle."

Kelley Blue Book says the 2008 Lincoln Navigator is "uncannily quiet inside due to a new acoustic windshield, thicker side glass and increased insulation throughout."

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2008 Lincoln Navigator

Safety

The 2008 Lincoln Navigator is a real safety performer.

Crash scores for the 2008 Lincoln Navigator are among the best for any SUV on the market.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) awards the Navigator five out of five stars in front impact protection and four stars in rollover resistance, but Cars.com notes that the 2008 Lincoln Navigator "has not been crash tested by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, which has a more stringent testing process than NHTSA."

Automotive.com says that the Lincoln Navigator's "standard safety features meet the luxury-class baseline," and includes "dual-stage front airbags, front occupant side-impact airbags and curtain-style head protection airbags for all outboard seats." In addition, every Lincoln Navigator is "equipped with Lincoln's AdvanceTrac anti-skid stability program. This system features Roll Stability Control, which uses a gyroscopic roll-rate sensor to enhance rollover resistance," as well as "four-channel antilock brakes (ABS), rear obstacle detection and a tire-pressure monitor," all offered as standard Lincoln Navigator equipment. Cars.com notes that "tire pressure is always important to keep an eye on, and even more so with SUVs." ConsumerGuide offers "kudos to Lincoln for making a rearview camera available, but it's unfortunately part of a pricey option package."

Automotive.com also comments on visibility, which the Lincoln Navigator 2008 has in abundance: "once the driver gets comfortable, however, it's hard to beat the commanding view ahead. A Greyhound bus or tractor-trailer rig are about the only vehicles on the road that can obstruct the driver's forward vision in a 2008 Lincoln Navigator."

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2008 Lincoln Navigator

Features

Luxury and gadget fans will find much to love inside the 2008 Lincoln Navigator.

Experts at TheCarConnection.com note that Ford Motor Company is generous with
2008 Lincoln Navigator extras.

Automobile reports that several Lincoln Navigator 2008 "comfort and convenience features that were extras are now standard" on the 2008 Lincoln Navigator, "including a power liftgate, heated and cooled seats, Sirius satellite radio, a 14-speaker THX surround-sound audio system, and PowerFold third-row seats."

New options for the 2008 model year include a Monochrome Limited Edition Package with new outer trim and cladding, power-folding side rear mirrors, and unique badging. Inside, the Monochrome package adds black carpet and floor mats, black wood trim, and distinct seats with black-leather inserts and Lincoln logos stitched on the headrests.

Other Lincoln Navigator 2008 options include "a power moonroof, voice-activated DVD navigation, rear-seat DVD entertainment system, 40/20/40 split-bench second seat, a cargo management system, power-deployable running boards, Class IV trailer towing package and chrome aluminum wheels," according to Kelley Blue Book.

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August 13, 2016
2008 Lincoln Navigator 2WD 4-Door

Best vehicle I have ever owned!

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This is one of the finest, great driving, comfortable vehicles I have ever owned. I can drive for 300 miles, and not be tired.
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