At the Canadian International Auto Show I noticed big groups gathering at the Tesla display and around a new car called the Kia Stinger. On that day at that time, those were the vehicles with the buzz.
Tesla vehicles, expensive, exotic and high tech, still intrigue people. The Kia Stinger is a new sports sedan with the good looks of a BMW-Audi-Mercedes-Benz rolled in to one-but with a entry price of $44,195. That’s a winning combination.
The all new Lincoln Navigator also had a crowd pleasing shine on it. One guy inspecting it with a friend said, “If you had an Audi R8 and a Navigator, that would be a perfect combination.”
That combination would also cost you nearly $300,000.
I test drove the Lincoln Navigator, a top of the line model called the Reserve. The base price is $90,500 and my model, after a few extra options was $102,300.
A recent article in the New York Times reported that this new Navigator is a hit in the US, and people who buy it, are going for the most expensive, top of the line model.
This vehicle is massive. It has three rows of seats. The first two rows feel like seats at the spa, the third row, usually child sized, are also decent. A panoramic sunroof floods the interior with enough sun to raise red peppers. While tanning, the front seat occupants can find bliss adjusting their seats in 30 different ways.
Though hefty and lacking in aerodynamics the Navigator is surprising sprightly to drive. A 3.5-litre V6, twin turbo delivers 450 horsepower. With 510 lb.-ft of torque the Lincoln will never be left in the dust.
As a comparison the drive feels more “truck” like than a top of the line Range Rover, with more body motion and less steering feel, but it’s pleasant and easy to pilot. If you don’t happen to drive a FedEx truck for a living than you will appreciate the Lane Departure feature which also gently steers the Navigator if you happen to drift over the white lines.
With its steroidal size, the Navigator was also expert at cruising along Hamilton’s potholed roads. Where other vehicles would slam through craters, the Navigator would traverse them with grace. And with a towing capacity of 3,810 kilograms, you could pull your own trailer full of pothole-fixing asphalt if need be. Though heavy duty and brawny, the Navigator fuel consumption numbers are not too shocking at 14.9 L/100 km in the city and 11.3 L/100 km on the highway.
The cabin is stylish and extremely quiet, with loads of technology for tinkerers. An iPad like display screen is anchored on the dash, programmable virtual instruments face the driver, and a heads up display reads out on the windshield like a digital ticker tape. Even the palm sized key fob carries computer power. If you have it on hand while approaching the Navigator, it turns on lights, unlocks doors and deploys the running boards that are essential for easy entry.
Lincoln continues to polish the brand. For 2018 models, they will pick up and return your car if it needs service (within a 30 km radius of a dealership), and give you a Lincoln loaner. Once in a while they may take you to dinner or a special event. Their theme is modern luxury and it’s working. In February sales of the Navigator were up 45 percent.
Kathy Renwald is an award winning freelance journalist and a regular columnist for the Bay Observer, Hamilton Spectator, Grand Magazine and Wheels.ca. She covers city issues, lifestyle and autos.