Lincoln is making a big bet on tech.
4 min read
What do millennial drivers crave in an SUV? Lincoln is hoping that “help not getting lost” is high on the list.
This summer, Lincoln’s flagship SUV, the Navigator, came equipped with something the company hopes will appeal to younger buyers: Waze. Sure, most of us already have the traffic and speed trap-avoiding app downloaded on our phones, but we’d all also agree that having to look down at our phones bouncing around in a cupholder as we drive around can a drag and a distraction. The Navigator’s SYNC 3 system ends that by letting drivers plug in and operate the app on the dashboard vehicle’s touchscreen, which keeps your eyes up and your thumbs off the phone keyboard.
Sounds pretty sweet, but is it really? Earlier this summer, I had the chance to find out for myself and spent a weekend behind the wheel of a Waze-equipped Navigator. I have two boys who both play summer travel baseball, and I, sweet Lord, did I need help. If you’ve ever been connected to the world of travel sports, you know that you spend many, many weekend hours driving around in circles and stopping at Dunkin’ Donuts asking where the heck the stupid field is. I am not blessed with a great sense of direction, so often times, I’d put the address of the field in the car’s GPS for ease of viewing and also on my phone’s Waze for traffic-free detours, and it’d feel like I was stuck in the car with two old people arguing about the best way to get to the bingo tournament.
So right off the bat, having a singular voice was amazing, and the touchscreen’s capability to quickly and safely dial up the nearest rest stop was incredible. I quickly became spoiled by the newfound ease of use and was blown away by the overall experience of driving a Lincoln Navigator.
No offense to my usual ride, a 2008 Saab wagon that is one transmission fix away from that great junkyard in the sky, but the Navigator is great big beautiful monster. Truth be told, I wouldn’t really mind getting lost in it. Its roomy, luxe interior was way nicer than my car (and honestly, my house) and the air-conditioned seats were a welcomed relief after hours spent in the blazing baseball sun. Plus, the seats are adjustable in 30 different ways — if you can’t get comfortable here, you need a new butt. The second row of seats can be two captain’s chairs or one bench. My kids opted for complete separation, which cut down significantly on them punching each other. There is a third row as well, but we kept that area folded down for baseball bags and Gatorade-stocked coolers. And we had plenty of room to spare, the storage was bigger than my first New York City apartment.
As for the ride? I’m not a gearhead really, but I will say that the 450 horsepower V-6 made that bad boy move. My 11-year-old is a stickler for rules, and he was constantly checking the speedometer: “Dad, you are going way faster than the speed limit.” (Shoulda banished him to the third row!)
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The Navigator starts around $72,500, and you certainly get what you pay for. If your business or your kids’ athletic careers have you on the road a lot, this is a pretty fantastic way to do it in comfort and style, without getting lost. But I wouldn;t blame you if you wanted to.