Italy has the Stelvio Pass, California has Big Sur (Hwy 1) and Switzerland the Furka Pass, all of these pale in comparison to what Vancouver, British Columbia has to offer. Tucked into the picturesque Canadian Coast Mountains and along the Howe Sound is a strip of tarmac known as the Sea to Sky Highway. Carved through the side of mountains this roadway has the majesty of Alpine Mountains to one side and the jaw-dropping beauty of the Pacific Ocean to the West. It carves its way north with long sweeping curves, s-curves and switchbacks and long straights culminating in the world-renowned Alpine ski resort of Whistler. This route and destination presented the backdrop for the Canadian unveiling of the all-new Lincoln Navigator.
It may be hard to believe, but, the Lincoln Navigator created the Full-Size Uber SUV segment some 19 years ago. The new 2018 Lincoln Navigator presents an all new ground up design. Constructed on an aluminum intense, body on frame structure; the newly minted SUV is leaner, but, more muscular in appearance. At the heart of the machine, beats a revamped twin turbo V6 churning out no less than 450 ponies and 500 lb-ft. of torque. All of this translates into a highly spirited, yet, manageable and smooth driving dynamic. I have said in the past that Lincoln’s new lineup espouses “Quiet Luxury”. The Navigator extends this concept even further, managing its 3-ton mass with ease and composure. Weight transitions in curves were imperceptible and the vehicle remained incredibly flat in the curves, only feeling unsettled in extreme maneuvers at higher speeds.
The Navigators exterior elegance and presence flows through to the interior. In most full size luxury SUV’s there is a lot of interior real estate to deal with. The efforts in creating a functional and pleasing space often result in a very bulky truck like feel to the interior with a large expanse of plastic and leather with little aesthetic appeal or flow. This is not the case with the Navigator. The interior is very inviting and warm. You are greeted with the presence of textured woods, aluminum, chrome and Wolsdorf leather. Fine touches like the textured wood are from the same piece of wood to ensure grain patterns match throughout the vehicle. Rather than a solid armrest, the front and rear armrests are split in the centre. This breaks the visual lines to reduce the feeling of bulkiness. It also presents the interior as being tailored for the occupants. The center stack rather than being one solid connected piece, splits just below the center vents. This cue is both functional and artistic. Under the split you find a large storage bin for bags. However, visually it again breaks dash lines, making the dash a distinct feature that occupies it’s own space rather than feeling overpowering. What is eye-catching is the 10inch touch screen for the Revel Ultima Infotainment system. The Revel Ultima system utilizes no less than 20 speakers, powered by individual amplifiers, to surround the occupants of the vehicle in a theatre like experience. For those who still remember the old school Navigators on 20inch rims rolling through the hood, the Revel system pounds hard with no distortion – no need to hit the local Visions or Audio Video Unlimited.
The pinnacle of the interior experience of the Navigator has to be the 30 way Perfect Position seats. Arguably, no one in the industry comes close to this level of adjustability and positioning experience. Combined with this level of seat adaptability is the Active Motion massage, created with the help of physiotherapists, the system massages and rolls trigger points in the legs and back to reduce muscle and driver fatigue.
The rear occupants are met with equal levels of refinement, with optional dual 10inch multimedia screens, captain seats, independent audio controls and host of media connections like HDMI, USB and SD cards. The third row occupants have easy access thanks to a tilt and slide function that allows for a child car seat to remain secured. Take it from me, at 6’3” I could easily manoeuver in and out of the seats and remain seated very comfortably with ample leg and head room.
Lincoln Canada could not have picked a better setting to unveil the Navigator. The full-time all-wheel-drive system surefootedly maneuvered through the undulating streets of Whistler Village. Over the two day excursion through Whistler, a chauffeured drive through the sunlit alpine mountains was made that much more magical by soaring through the peaks in an AStar 350 helicopter at a height of nearly 10,000 feet over the highest peak in the range, Mount Waddington. This was followed by a movie star landing in the parking lot of the Pemberton Golf Course greeted by a delectable afternoon buffet.
The final evening in the snowy paradise culminated in the Bearfoot Bistro for an exquisite four-course meal beginning with a one of a kind Champagne Sabering experience and ending with liquid nitrogen chilled ice-cream and a nightcap of Purity Vodka chilled to minus 32⁰C in the Ketle One Ice Room. At the culmination of the evening, the Lincoln Navigator awaited outside. As we approached the vehicle, it began to glow, anticipating our arrival. It started with the Lincoln Star Logo, the lights and then the doors, coined Lincoln Approach Detection. It is a truly inviting beginning to ones driving experience.
The departure from Whistler was met with a fresh powdering of British Columbia snow. It was the perfect ending to the adventure and ideal conditions to showcase the Navigators prowess. It confidently conquered the inclement weather never feeling unsettled or lost for traction. The new 2018 Lincoln Navigator is surely set to reclaim the thrown it created. The only question you will have to ask your self is, “Do I get the normal or long wheelbase version (12 inches longer just in case you were wondering)?”