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2006 Lincoln Navigator

2006 Lincoln Navigator Test Drive

by Jessica Howell

What about the rims?" They asked eagerly when they caught wind that I was driving a Lincoln Navigator for the week. (They, by the way, referring to nearly everyone I spoke to.) Well, the rims were 18-inch chrome-plated aluminum if you must know. Funny thing, because when handing the keys back after a week of tooling around town in the full-size luxury SUV, chrome rims were hardly the first thing that I missed.

What I do miss is the Navigator's incredibly smooth ride - powered by the standard 5.4L V8 with 6 speed automatic transmission, the easy, nimble handling so rare in a hefty SUV and the luxury-laden interior that made my hour-long commutes a bit more tolerable, if not slightly invigorating.

My first impression of the Lincoln Navigator: This might be worth the astronomical cost of gas that it takes to run… but then again, if you can afford the pricey sticker, you're probably not too worried about the cost of gas.

(If you're wondering about fuel economy, it's near 13/18mpg for city and highway respectively.)

Seating seven, Navigator is a natural choice for large families - or if you happen to be a celebrity (which many Navigator owners are,) your entourage. The cabin is roomy and comfortable for passengers big and tall, and even caters to vertically-challenged drivers (like my 5'1" publisher) thanks to adjustable foot pedals - which can shorten the foot-pedal distance by up to three inches - and save as one of two seat settings. While our test model had second-row bucket seats, a 40/20/40 split bench can be installed in second row at no charge, boosting passenger count to eight, and leaving adequate legroom for adult and child alike, even in the farthest third row. The first two rows of seating are upholstered in soft, pebbled leather.

If you're lugging loads of purchases, not people, you'll like the power-folding third row folding seats that lower into the floor to provide flat cargo space with the quick touch of a button. And yes, it really is as easy as it sounds. Fold down the second row bucket seats manually and you'll find yourself with 104 cubic feet of storage for weekend hauls.

The interior styling is modern and clean, sophisticated despite it's large, looming size. High tech instruments come aplenty and are easy to use without becoming overwhelming. An analog clock adorns the satin-nickel center stack in typical classy Lincoln style and American walnut burl wood trims the dashboard, doors and steering wheel.

Our test model was the 4x4 Ultimate topped off with the Elite package, which bumps up lux details to include voice activated Navigation system with touch-screen, THX Audio (nine speakers, Six-disc in-dash CD changer and SIRIUS Satellite Radio capability,) rear seat DVD entertainment system and power-deploying running boards that automatically lower when you open a door - giving you an additional four inches to easily lift you into the cockpit - and retract underneath the vehicle when closed.

MSRP for Navigator Ultimate starts at $55,285 while the Elite package adds $7,045. Throw on the Limited Edition Monotone package and the total vehicle price edges out at $62,150. I won't say that I didn't appreciate the little touches that the Elite package offered, but I would have happily driven any model - with or without power-deploying running boards.

You'll likely find the Ultimate's list of standard amenities more than suitable: class exclusive heated/cooled front seats, power moonroof, ControlTrac, and AdvanceTrac with Roll Stability Control. It may have only been one week, but the Navigator left us feeling pampered, protected and (fittingly enough) well-navigated as we traversed Detroit's pavement jungle. And at the end of the day, when you're pulling into the driveway of Point B - isn't that what's really important?

Read more on Lincoln Navigator in RTM's 2006 Model Guide