North American Truck of the Year 2018: Why Pros with Auto Careers Love the Lincoln Navigator

automotive careers
The Navigator’s coronation as the 2018 North American Truck of the Year underlines a remarkable turnaround for Lincoln. One of the biggest vehicles of its type, the Navigator has traditionally been tucked away in the luxury niche market and has been a slow but steady seller for almost two decades.

The transition it has made to prize-winning standout at the North American Car, Utility and Truck of the Year (NACTOY) awards was definitely helped by a combination of factors including a major visual revamp and the prioritization of comfort. But how did what is arguably an SUV win out as truck of the year? Here’s what students need to know!

The Navigator’s SUV Body Will Stand out Those with Auto Body Training, but Truck Power Is There

Any professional with auto body technician training will need just one quick look at the Navigator to identify is as a luxury sports utility vehicle (SUV). However, this certainly doesn’t preclude the vehicle from being a powerhouse. In fact, it was the Navigator’s towing capacity that helped classify it as a truck—rather than an SUV—for the award.

The Navigator offers up impressive output, with its 3.5 litre V6 twin-turbo engine providing 450 horsepower and 510 lbs. ft of torque. Additionally, this extra power is delivered with considerably better fuel economy, due to advances in body materials shaving 200 pounds of weight from the Navigator.

Towing is no problem either, with the vehicle capable of a hefty 8,700 pounds. The extension of the Navigator’s features to assist with more workmanlike concerns, like the inclusion of a pro trailer back-up assist function, is what helped the comfort-focussed vehicle beat out the competition and bag Lincoln its first-ever NACTOY award.

Exceeding in a Crowded Field Through Comfort

The 2018 version of the Navigator has arguably left no stone unturned in its pursuit of comfort and convenience. It boasts a range of features that are designed to simply make driving the vehicle safer and more pleasant, ranging from six drive modes (including ‘Slippery’, ‘Slow Climb’ and ‘Excite’), to speed-responsive adaptive lighting , enhanced parking assist features, and 100% LED lighting.

Add to this features that make being in and around the car more comfortable, including ultra-quiet interiors, rear-mounted entertainment systems, a laser-beamed ‘welcome mat’, added cargo space within the vehicle, powered seat positioning, a huge sunroof, wireless charging, and approach-activated running boards for easy access. The sheer space available within the Navigator is already an established characteristic of the brand, but delivering it with the contours and sheer style offered by the 2018 model helped push the Navigator to the front of the pack.

Pros with Auto Careers Were Impressed by the Break with an Unglamorous Reputation

The renaissance of the Navigator is especially impressive when it’s less-than-glamorous history is taken into account. It still holds the record as the heaviest vehicle ever produced by Lincoln, and has progressed through a total of four generations since the initial version was offered in 1998. Originally produced as a vehicle that would allow Lincoln to enter the increasingly profitable family SUV market, the Navigator’s appearance was criticised as overly large and ungraceful, with the vehicle being lumped in with other visually-suspect SUVs of the period including the Buick Rendezvous and Pontiac Aztek.

As North America pivoted towards SUVs over the 2010s, the Navigator found itself increasingly well positioned. With an excellent reputation for safety and capacity already established, an eye-catching concept car for the newest Navigator was unveiled at the 2016 New York International Auto show. Commentators with auto careers noted the gull-wing doors designed to facilitate urban parking and extending steps for easier boarding. While all these features didn’t ultimately make it to the final model, the overall emphasis on luxury (both inside and out) present in the redesign was firmly indicated. It helped to mark an impressive turning point for the navigator—one that seems to have more than paid off.

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