Navigator leads the luxury, full-size SUV in right direction

first_img Sure, there are bigger rides on the market. But they tend to the brutish side both style-wise and in your rearview mirror. Big (Chris Noth) was a refined kind of a guy, comfortable picking up a check or selecting the right wine. The Navigator is likewise refined. And he wouldn’t blanch at paying $65.15 for 19.282 gallons of regular, which the Navigator consumed during a week of routine cruising around the west San Fernando Valley. Like Big, the Navigator has a healthy appetite. The latter is one thing not to like, especially where gasoline prices are today. But folks who buy or lease full-size SUVs are not focused on miles per gallon. They are in them for the size, comfort and amenities. The Navigator obliges. It’s 77.8 inches tall, 207.5 inches long and 80.2 inches wide. This kind of size dictates that you get serious about your spatial rather than personal relationships, especially if you are used to tooling about in a regular-size vehicle. The Navigator does have a warning system that emits a pinging sound if you get too close to an object while backing up. Parking in our garage each night was a stop-and-start process of nudging it to a snuggled position about an inch from the wall. A front-facing parking feature would be a nice addition to a vehicle this big. The Navigator just fit in, but I couldn’t squeeze between it and my wife’s PT Cruiser. Comforts abound, though, starting with the running boards that fold down from the frame with an airplane-like landing gear sound. I quickly learned there is an easy way and hard way to climb in. The easy way: Step onto the running board with your left foot, grab the convenient hand-hold and slide on up behind the wheel. Insert the key, and the seat and steering wheel both return to your preset position. The hard way: Any other way. Bigness has a plus, too. This is a high-riding car, which means in typical L.A. traffic you have a better chance of seeing just what’s held you up than the driver behind you, unless they are driving a semi. You can have lots of company, too, since the Navigator features three rows of seating. “There’s good leg room here,” said a commercial real estate broker I know. That’s the first thing he does when checking out a car. And he’s checked out lots of them. Big center consoles split the driver’s and second-row seat, and knobs to turn and buttons to push are plentiful. The interior is trimmed in blonde wood. Up front is a navigation system with Sirius satellite radio, a DVD player and THX sound system, which cranks when a video is played in the home theater system mounted to the roof just in front of the second row. Audio and video jacks are included so other equipment can be hooked up. The third row seats flatten out at the touch of two buttons just inside the cargo. And the rear hatch has a power assist, too. One drawback is that the instruments in the dash are a bit undersized and hard to read in the daytime. And the car weighs more than three tons and is a little sluggish off the line. But all in all it delivers what it was designed for, elegant luxury in a full-sized SUV. “If luxury is your No. 1 goal and you’re not into subtlety, by all means you’ll want to check out the 2007 Lincoln Navigator and compare it to Caddy’s new Escalade or Chrysler’s Aspen,” said the consumer Web site Edmunds.com. LINCOLN NAVIGATOR ULTIMATE 4X4 TOP SPEED: 160 mph ENGINE: 5.3 liter, 300 HP, V8 TRANSMISSION: 6-speed automatic SUSPENSION: Multi-link rear wheel BRAKES: 4-wheel disc with ABS FUEL ECONOMY: Not available PRICE: $50,655 base; $58,820 as tested TRIVIA: Lincoln introduced the Navigator in 1998 to compete with the Cadillac Escalade. THE MANUAL SAYS: Event data recorders are capable of collecting and storing data during a crash or a new crash event. THE WIFE SAYS: “Mind if I go in the garage and watch a video?” after we misplaced the remote to the home theater system’s DVD player. SOURCE: Daily News research — Gregory J. Wilcox, (818) 713-3743greg.wilcox@dailynews.com If HBO’s “Sex and the City” had been set in Los Angeles, Big likely would have rolled in the Lincoln Navigator Ultimate 4×4. One with the $5,450 Elite package of motoring bling. VIDEO Drive Time: Lincoln Navigator The Lincoln Navigator is big. Very big. It’s got a killer stereo system and cool runners, but isn’t easy to park. Daily News reporter Greg Wilcox gives it a test drive. center_img 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more