(Photos by the author) – Lot of times as car enthusiasts we all have people asking us questions. Our friends, your friends, etc. They want to know what you think about a certain car or truck and sometimes they want to know if they “got a good deal” when they bought something. There are a few ways to broach that topic but I always find that asking the person virtually the same question back works well. If they ask me whether or not I think they got a good deal, I always ask, “Do YOU think you got a good deal?” Normally they say yes. In my opinion a deal is only as good as what you think about it and the same can be said for a lot of things in life. Things like a $99,895 Lincoln Navigator Black Label, for example. Except now the question does not revolve around a deal. No, the question changes.
“Is it worth it?” That’s the question, right? Is this top of the line, fully loaded, luxury beast worth the $99,895 asking price. Well the answer to that is simple. To enough people that car companies in this country are abandoning automobiles to concentrate on building stuff like this, it is worth it. We all get to decide whether or not we like stuff, whether or not it fits our taste, our self-view, and our needs, but one thing we do not get to decide on are the facts and the facts of the automotive landscape for the Big Three are that these things sell as quickly as they can build them and they make more margin on them than anything else in the lineup.
I’ll start by saying this. Lincoln seems to have found their way, specifically with this Navigator. The brand, which has been so lacking in any sort of direction and identity for so long has a world class luxury vehicle in the form of this behemoth. If the idea of the Black Label series is to attract buyers who have large sums to spend and want to be coddled in a vault-like driving experience, they have delivered that. While this Lincoln (like virtually every other) is a hugely upmarket Ford, it feels the way a Lincoln at this price point should feel. You do not, for any length of time think that you are in an Expedition with some nicer trim. Yes, the shape and chassis is the same but the experience is the difference between seeing a good band at a cool venue and seeing an orchestra at symphony hall.
Don’t get fooled into thinking that the Continental is the flagship of the Lincoln lineup. THIS is the flagship of the Lincoln lineup. The Continental is rumored to be on the death watch with the rest of the sedans that Ford is killing off and likely will see its last production run in 2020. There are no such plans for doing anything of the sort with this big fellow.
So what’s the big deal? Maybe there isn’t a BIG deal. There’s not one singular thing I could point to and say, “AH HAAA!” with regard to the price tag. It’s like food. You can get a good burger for five bucks. You can get a burger with Wagyu beef for $30. You get to pick which one you buy and you get to enjoy the one you want to enjoy. This is the Wagyu beef version. There are few vehicles I have ever driven that were more silent on the inside than this one. To the point of being almost shocking. The sound deadening, noise isolation, and sealing of the Navigator are top shelf. I joked about a vault earlier, it truly feels like one.
When it comes to luxury stuff, horsepower is always part of the discussion and the Lincoln Navigator Black Label is not lacking there. The 3.5L EcoBoost turbocharged V6 makes 450hp. That power goes through a 10-speed automatic transmission. Long story short, this thing absolutely hauls the mail for something of its size and girth. The thing gets to 60 in less and 5.5 seconds and covers the quarter in 14.5 seconds. If you were a real sicko and tuned on this thing it would be in the 13s, lickety split. The performance is pretty wild, especially considering the fact that you are only dealing with 3.5 liters of displacement. The 10-speed which is now used in all kinds of cars and trucks is a killer unit and shifted smoothly in regular driving with firm shifts when we were making full throttle acceleration blasts.
How big is BIG? This big. As with all full-size SUVs, space is not a problem. Even the third row in this Lincoln had plenty enough room for full size humans to sit in it, which is kind of saying something as others in this category leave you wanting to jump out the window shortly after assuming a seat in the back. Not that anyone will be hauling plywood of cement in this Navigator but there’s room for days. If you friends were moving out of their mansion you would help transport some of their artwork and sculptures back here. Also, groceries for a full division of the United States Army can be transported without issue.
So ultimately, when people are paying the big dollars for something like this, the guts of the vehicle are what’s going to get them to the salesmen’s desk to sign the paperwork. Lincoln’s designers killed it. This is a luxuriant experience on the order of anything you’d get in a big Mercedes, a big BMW, or any other $100,000 cruiser. The materials are all really nice. The finish on everything is beautiful and the seats are beyond freaking compare. They are 30-way adjustable. They are unlike any other seat I have ever parked my backside in with regard to a production car and they are a $1,250 option. Those seats are covered in a really, really nice leather that again, delivers on the expectation of someone willing to spend this kind of money, in my mind anyway. This particular interior theme is called “Chalet”. There is a “Yacht” themed interior as well, because why not.
Shifting is done with buttons on the dash, the controls for all of the other functions of the car are traditional knobs and buttons. Nothing Earth shattering there but they are good to use and not “over inventive” as some manufacturers seem to be trying to be these days.
Rear seat passengers get their own HVAC controls and they get radio controls as well as a small screen to see what’s playing as well. If you are driving around an executive and they are picking the channels this is cool. If you are driving around your kids, this can get annoying. Trust me.
So if you are a person that is in the market for a Range Rover or a Mercedes GLS, you’ve got a legit American contender in price, content, and experience in the Lincoln Navigator Black Label. The reality is that Lincoln is not trying to convince anyone that this rig is something that they NEED to spend $99,000 on but it has given themselves a player in a shockingly crowded space for people who WANT to spend $99,000 on their next SUV. While that may not be a financial sandbox I am capable of playing in I can say with confidence that the Lincoln stacks up against the big dollar entries from anywhere in the world.
For Lincoln, big and bold seems like a winning formula here just as it was when the brand first captured the American audience in the 1950s and 1960s.