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2004 Lincoln Navigator

by Jeff Voth
Please allow me to start this review with a skill testing question.

Though it may seem a stretch to mention the two vehicles in the same sentence, other than the obvious items such as a steering wheel, leather seats and speedometer, what distinctive interior feature do both the current Lincoln Navigator and Audi TT have in common?

Not sure? I will tell you the answer later in the review.

2004 Lincoln Navigator Luxury SUV

The 2004 Lincoln Navigator is a luxurious SUV, leaving little room to question its claim as a worthy challenger to the Cadillac Escalade. It should be remembered the Navigator was the original segment buster in the full-size SUV market. Though previous models were clumsy and overweight, the latest Navigator is graceful and polished.

That is, of course, if you can allow yourself to call a 17-ft, 6,000 lbs. sport-utility vehicle graceful. It is safe to say the Lincoln Navigator will never be confused for anything other than what it is, and that is big. But surprise, surprise, you may find the ride and drive characteristics capable of justifying the use of the word "sport" in sport-utility.

Powered by a potent 5.4 liter-Triton V8, the Navigator produces 300 horsepower at 5,000 rpm and 355 lb-ft of torque at 2,750 rpm, with most of the torque available between 1,750-4,800 rpm.

While the current generation Cadillac Escalade is actually quicker and more powerful at 345 horsepower, the Lincoln Navigator does an equally admirable job of propelling itself down the road in a hurry. There is also a positive side to having 45 less horsepower than your main rival. In everyday driving, the Navigator is better at conserving fuel.

A single-piece platform comprised of hydroformed box rails allows for the unusual addition of a fully independent front and rear suspension on what is essentially a truck chassis. The Navigator handles all the curves and bumps you can throw at it with ease. Steering is power assisted rack and pinion.

Brakes are 4-wheel disc with anti-lock. Lincoln adds computer-controlled brake force distribution (EBD) and a new brake assist device which supplements the amount of brake force applied in an emergency stop. It's surprising how fast this big SUV is brought to a halt when necessary.

A conscious effort to trim down the exterior shape and size has resulted in a very attractive design.

While there is no mistaking the Navigator as anything other than a Ford built vehicle, the designers have done a nice job of solidifying the brand identity as Lincoln.

2004 Lincoln Navigator Exterior

The tabletop sized hood complete with a large multi-ribbed grille, sharp creases and body lines provide an instantly recognizable profile to the Navigator.

Side cladding is kept to a minimum and fold-in mirrors help ease the congestive restraints of most drive-through entrances and garage door openings.

Side running boards are standard, with an optional power feature that allows for easier entrance and exit. Due to my six foot plus frame, I found myself stepping over the running boards more often than not. But the power feature was most appreciated by my wife and two teenage daughters.

Inside the Lincoln Navigator is a showcase for simplistic elegance. Leather seats are wide and very comfortable. Eight-passenger seating is available, with both middle and rear bench seats providing space for up to three.

Our test vehicle was equipped with seven-passenger seating. The centre portion of the middle row was replaced by a large storage compartment big enough to hold a small suitcase. A high mounted DVD entertainment system is also available as an option.

The front centre console flows away from the dash, while hardwood and satin finish metal add warmth. As is the case in the Audi TT, (the answer to my trivia teaser at the start) the Lincoln Navigator provides a flip down cover for the central stereo controls in a satin metal finish.

Front seats offer not only heat settings from 1-5, but air conditioning as well. Power window controls and seats are easily adjusted, along with the mirrors, HVAC switches and wipers.

The same cannot be said for the steering wheel mounted controls. In this case, the Lincoln Navigator offers too many features in such a small space. Gauges are easy to read, but lack the warmth found in the rest of the interior. A round analog clock adds a touch of class.

2004 Lincoln Navigator Interior

Useful storage space abounds. Large cupholders, a voluminous front center compartment and wide side door pouches will hold almost anything. Trunk space is positively decadent. I'm almost convinced that with the back seats folded flat, an Audi TT could fit inside.

At the press of a button, the optional power liftgate folds the back seats completely flat and out of the way. Placing items in the trunk of the Navigator is better than you might expect for a vehicle this large. To accommodate ease of entrance and exit, air-controlled suspension lowers the vehicle by a full inch while at rest.

In conclusion, having a Lincoln in the driveway instead of a Ford or Chevy still carries with it the appearance of exclusivity. With so much going for it, the 2004 Lincoln Navigator looks sure to hold its own with the Cadillac Escalade.

Next up for Lincoln is a luxury pickup truck based on the 2004 Ford F-150? Having introduced the vehicle at the Detroit Auto Show earlier this year, we may see it soon as a 2005 model, or later next year as an early 2006.

Description: Full-Sized SUV
Model options: Luxury Sport/Ultimate Sport
Wheelbase: 118.8 inches
Overall length: 187.8 inches
Engine size: DOHC 32-valve V8
Transmission: 4-speed Automatic
Drive: Rear wheel drive, available 4x4
Braking: Power 4-wheel disc, ABS/EBD
Air bags: 2 (front) 2 (side)
Fuel mileage city/hwy: 13/18
MSRP: $ 49,375- $56,550

Click here for more information on the Lincoln Navigator.
For the Lincoln 2004 Model Guide : Click Here