2012 Lincoln Navigator L

7.4
2012 Lincoln Navigator L

The Basics:

It's among the biggest passenger vehicles on the road--and if you're looking for cubic feet of space and of chrome, the 2012 Lincoln Navigator L has to be on the short list of SUVs. 

Lavish and large, the 2012 Lincoln Navigator is luxury, American-style, but its powertrains are a step behind those of the competition.

With more than an extra foot (15 inches) of extra length, the Navigator L has a longer wheelbase and a bigger cargo bay than the already-large Navigator SUV. The stretch translates directly into a more roomy back seat, and to easier entry and exit for the third-row seat.

The size can be a benefit wherever the Navigator may fit, but if you live in suburbs or even a city where space is at a premium, the huge Navigator L should give you pause. It's more than 19 feet long in all, after all, and not every garage will pass muster, nor every parking garage, for that matter.

On the upside, the extra length doesn't change the Navigator's performance too much, and the long-wheelbase L may actually ride a little better than the plush Navigator. Either version clearly shows its truck roots, but the smooth-shifting automatic transmission makes the most of the smallish V-8 for performance that's not as dull and distant as you might reasonably expect.

From other angles, too, the stretched Navigator doesn't vary from the original's stylebook that much. The interior's identical, and the longer rear glass and doors are tough to pick out unless you're seeing them side by side. That said, the Navigator's nearing the end of its current generation, and though the look has aged well, we're wondering where Ford goes from here, now that big SUVs aren't an easy fit in the high-mpg future or in Lincoln's shift to smaller, more frugal vehicles.

The 2012 model year brings HD Radio and power running boards as standard equipment to the Navigator lineup, joining its standard SYNC, real-time traffic, rearview camera, parking sensors, and heated second-row seats.

For the complete take on the Navigator L, be sure to browse all the pages of our full review for the Lincoln Navigator.

 

Buying Tips:

It's among the biggest vehicles you can buy--and can be as difficult to park as that suggests--so make sure you really need something as large as the Navigator L before you buy.

Other Choices:

  • 2012 INFINITI QX56
  • 2012 Mercedes-Benz GL Class
  • 2011 Lexus LX
  • 2012 Cadillac Escalade
  • 2012 Land Rover Range Rover

Reason Why:

Blinged out with chrome and laden with high-tech features, the 2012 Lincoln Navigator L sides with the Cadillac and Infiniti full-size SUVs when it comes to being showy. The Escalade is priced much higher, though it's pretty much usurped the Navigator as the domestic image SUV of choice--and the Escalade comes in Hybrid trim if your conscience weighs as heavily on you as these trucks do on the planet. The Mercedes-Benz GL-Class is close in size and in price to the Navigator, and its diesel edition is our favorite big luxury ute, bar none. The Infiniti QX is one hefty, quiet shuttle for seven, but some of its styling cues are awkward. The Lexus LX 570 is, if anything, less efficient with space and fuel than the Navigator. There's also the class benchmark, the five-seat Range Rover, which comes up short on value and on seats, but wins hugely on prestige, looks, and craftsmanship.

The Bottom Line:

Big, brash, and unabashedly American, the 2012 Lincoln Navigator L is one of the biggest SUVs you can buy--for better and for worse.

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