The next evolution of the iconic Navigator SUV has arrived

When Lincoln said that it wanted to make a huge splash at the 2016 New York International Auto Show, they clearly undersold the whole concept of making a splash. The American automaker that made its name in the premium luxury segment has been on the peripherals in recent years, but boy, oh boy, did it pick a good time to spread its wings with the unveiling of the Navigator Concept.

I mean that literally and figuratively because as you can see, it’s got those massive gullwing doors that’s almost out of a Transformers movie. Speaking of size, everything about the Navigator Concept is huge, as if it’s trying to intimidate the rest of the premium SUV segment by flexing its muscles to show that the OG has returned to reclaim the throne it vacated a long time ago.

Like it or not, the Navigator Concept is a showstopper. Don’t count on the production version to be anywhere close to this, but for what it’s worth, Lincoln president Kumar Galhotra did say that the concept provides a “strong hint” on what the production model will look like when it hits the market in 2017. If there’s even an ounce of truth into what Galhotra said, I’m going to be waiting with baited breath to see if the new Navigator has the chops to once again revolutionize the luxury SUV segment.

The early returns from the concept version seems to point in that direction so let’s all hope that Lincoln won’t let us down.

Continue after the jump to read the full review.

0Exterior0

2016 Lincoln Navigator Concept High Resolution Exterior
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On the surface, the Navigator Concept doesn’t really look like a concept. There are strong production hints throughout the body and, from certain angles, it even reminds me of the Range Rover Sport, albeit one on PEDs. But, that perception literally evolves the moment its moving parts start, well, moving. Pull out the latches to open the doors and those gullwings immediately rise up like an eagle about to take flight. The doors are massive in size, which makes it even more impressive to see how they open up. They’re probably really heavy too considering that they essentially comprise the front and rear doors of the SUV. Imagine trying to close that door down from inside the cabin; you might get muscles in your arm in no time.

Imagine trying to close that door down from inside the cabin; you might get muscles in your arm in no time.

The front section doesn’t look like a concept at all. In fact, Lincoln’s new rectangular front grille is already visible in the Navigator Concept. The headlights are also similar, including the L-shaped LEDs that are part of the entire housing. The SUV does have another strip of lighting just underneath. The front bumper is also relatively subdued with the only noticeable bit being the pair of thin bars that run the width of the section and flanked by what looks to be fog lamp strips.

The side profile is obviously dominated by the gullwing doors but the Navigator has another neat trick up its sleeve: three rungs of concertina running boards that cascade down as soon as the doors are opened. Lincoln made no mention of the wheels, but they appear to be at least 24 inches in size. And, if there was any confusion on what model this is, the word "Navigator" is proudly spelled out in blocked capital letters over the fender vents and below the straight shoulder line that runs from the tip of the headlights all the way to its counterpart in the rear.

Speaking of the rear, it’s the other part of the SUV that appears to be close to the production version. The taillight configuration is literally one bar that stretches out from one side to another, as if it’s hugging the concept entirely. Lincoln’s “word” logo sits right above it in a pattern akin to how Land Rover does it. Finally, there’s the swept up rear bumper that looks to be the only other part of the concept’s body that looks out place.

Lincoln indicated that the concept was inspired by luxury boats and yachts, hence the use of a Storm Blue paint finish. Apparently, that’s a nod to the gray tones of the sky and the blueness of the sea.

0Interior0

2016 Lincoln Navigator Concept High Resolution Interior
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Lincoln itself admitted that the reason why those gullwing doors were added was to use them to showcase the luxury-stuffed cabin of the SUV

As personality-driven as the exterior of the Navigator Concept is, the design team that came up with this concept still managed to give the interior the more evocative design. Lincoln itself admitted that the reason why those gullwing doors were added was to use them to showcase the luxury-stuffed cabin of the SUV. Space and refinement are the predominant themes of the interior and it’s easy to see why Lincoln took this approach. SUV customers want these two things above everything else when it comes to the cabin.

Lincoln went all out addressing these needs, as exemplified by those six patented Perfect Position Seats that not only have 30 different adjustable methods, but also have — at least in the case of the four seats in the first two rows — WiFi-equipped touchscreen monitors mounted in the seat backs. The driver and the front passenger aren’t completely left out though as they also get a large floating panel screen. Information for this display can be fully customized through another digital touch screen housed in the center stack, just above the two A/C vents. Speaking of those vents, just below them are clear markings of an automatic gearbox but fashioned as actual buttons. I doubt that this is one of those features that will carry over into the production model, but it is pretty cool to think that you can switch gears from drive “D” to neutral “N”, reverse “R”, or park “P” by the simple press of a button.

On the luxury front, the interior of the Navigator Concept is largely defined by the generous amount of teak finishes throughout the entire cabin, complementing the equally opulent use of fine leather. Believe it or not, this concept also has what Lincoln calls a “custom wardrobe management system” that can be accessed by opening the trunk. It’s like a wall cabinet of sorts, but laid out with individual compartments to house clothes, a pair of leather boat shoes, sunglasses, and what appears to be binoculars, among other things.

0Drivetrain0

2016 Lincoln Navigator Concept High Resolution Exterior
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The Navigator Concept is powered by a 3.5-liter EcoBoost V-6 that comes with 400 horsepower. That’s about the extent of the details that Lincoln released on this front. The output is particularly interesting since the production Lincoln Continental already gets 400 horsepower and 400 pound-feet of torque out of a 3.0-liter twin-turbo V-6. There’s obviously more to this than what the company’s telling us so it might be best to hold off on any judgments as far as the production Navigator’s engine and output numbers are concerned.

0Conclusion0

2016 Lincoln Navigator Concept High Resolution Exterior
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This is the kind of concept that creates so many feelings it’s hard to compartmentalize everything into one thought. There are some aspects about the concept that are extremely interesting. The interior, for instance, looks great even if it’s unlikely that the production version will get all of its shiny features. The outright size of the SUV is also a good look, especially if Lincoln really wants to make a splash in the full-sized, luxury SUV segment. On the other hand, I’m not too excited about the look of the front end of the SUV. It’s too simple for a model that’ll carry the Navigator name. Oh, and those gullwing doors? Let’s just hope that Lincoln sticks to its word and leaves it strictly for the concept.

  • Leave it
    • * No on the gullwing doors
    • * Front end looks too simple
    • * Just one engine option?

Press Release

Lincoln today reveals the all-new Navigator Concept, introducing quiet luxury to full-size SUVs and offering a glimpse at what comes next for the brand’s best-known nameplate.

2016 Lincoln Navigator Concept High Resolution Exterior
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"The all-new Navigator Concept reinforces our commitment to give every Lincoln client what we call quiet luxury – vehicles and experiences that are elegant, effortlessly powerful and serene," said Kumar Galhotra, president of Lincoln. "This kind of quiet luxury sets Lincoln apart. Now, we’re showing fans of large SUVs how we can exceed their expectations, without being the loudest statement on the road."

Lincoln invented the large luxury SUV in 1997, and now is reimagining Navigator for modern clients interested in better performance, more space and further refinement.

Lincoln’s design team drew inspiration from luxury sailboats and yachts when designing the new concept. This influenced everything from the clean, modern lines and Storm Blue paint on the exterior that mimics the grays and blues of sea and sky, to the teak finishes, custom gear and wardrobe management system found inside.

The Navigator Concept is engineered to provide drivers peace of mind. It features a 3.5-liter twin-turbo V6 engine delivering more than 400 horsepower and smart new technologies to make this SUV even more sure-footed on different road surfaces and in changing weather conditions.

Drivers can choose several drive modes to improve ride and handling and to find the drive experience that best suits their mood – including steering, suspension and noise levels. Each mode is accompanied by a matching digital animation in the cluster.

Navigator Concept provides the nameplate’s most spacious interior ever – a key want among buyers of large SUVs – delivered with a refinement that leapfrogs competitors

The leather-wrapped interior is rendered in a light blue. Six Lincoln-patented Perfect Position Seats adjust 30 ways to best support occupants’ different body types. The driver’s seat, for instance, includes independent deployable thigh supports for maximum comfort.

2016 Lincoln Navigator Concept High Resolution Exterior
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A custom wardrobe management system holds gear chosen for a day on the water, while Lincoln’s Revel audio system has been specifically tuned to create the highest level sound and visual quality.

All of this is accessed through power gullwing doors and deployable concertina steps. A special lighting sequence welcomes passengers for every journey – a signature Lincoln feature.

The Navigator Concept features Pre-Collision Assist with Pedestrian Detection, which uses radar and camera technology to scan the road ahead. If a collision risk with a vehicle or pedestrian is detected, the system provides a warning to the driver. If the driver does not respond in time, it automatically can apply up to full braking force to help reduce the severity of, or even eliminate, some frontal collisions.

Pre-Collision Assist can help drivers avoid rear end collisions with other vehicles at all speeds, while Pedestrian Detection can help the driver avoid pedestrians at lower speeds. Both systems can reduce the severity of forward collisions, or even prevent certain forward collisions.

A 360-degree camera and enhanced park assist features take the stress out of parking, exiting a parking spot and maneuvering. The system seamlessly integrates views from four cameras – creating an overhead image that allows drivers to see all around the vehicle.

On the road, a lane-keeping system vibrates the steering wheel to alert drivers they are straying from their lane and provides mild steering input to encourage them to steer back toward the center of the lane.

In the cabin, head restraint monitors provide passengers Wi-Fi connectivity, allowing them to wirelessly share music and content from personal devices.

2016 Lincoln Navigator Concept High Resolution Exterior
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For drivers, a large panel screen clearly displays key information. The display can be customized from a digital touch screen housed in the center stack.

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