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Automotive Section


Lincoln Navigator a comfortable people hauler – and Explorer hybrid gets the job done

It's comfortable, offers all of the electronic features we've come to know and perhaps to love (or not), and it's big enough to cut a major swath through traffic as you pilot it around town. But is the Lincoln Navigator any good?

I suppose that depends on the eye of the beholder. After spending a week or so with the 2021 Lincoln Navigator, I came away impressed with its capabilities but also grateful that I have bus driving experience in my past so I was much more comfortable behind the wheel than I might have been otherwise.  

Yep, it's that big! So big that my wife refused to get behind the wheel (the baby!). And that's too bad because I think she would've enjoyed the experience once she got used to being at the helm of a road-based aircraft carrier.

Oh, well.

Huge or not, the Navigator is all Lincoln – by which I mean luxurious as all get out, with three rows of leather-trimmed seats and about as much comfort and convenience as one could expect from today's auto marketplace.

Which means that, besides plenty of leather, you get stuff like wood trim and metal accents and power-operated second and third row seatback folding. It also means you get a twin-turbocharged V-6 that Lincoln says makes 450 horsepower and 510 lb.-ft. or torque, with a rated towing capacity of up to 8700 pounds.

That power and torque combo is plenty to move this behemoth along with alacrity, and to add to its flexibility Lincoln offers six driving modes, from eco (which they call "conserve") to "sport" (which they call "Excite" in – to rip off the Simpsons – the most blatant case of false advertising since "The Neverending Story"). There are also settings called "Slippery, Deep Conditions, Normal and 4x4". Each mode tunes the Navigator's drive train, including its shift points, the adaptive suspension, drive lines, information displays etc. You make your choices via a knob on the centre console. more...

Lincoln reaches for new heights in luxury SUV performance

Ford's upscale division has kind of been missing in action for a while, but with its new, aviation-inspired naming regimen it's aiming to come back with a vengeance. And judging by the first two new models I've driven, they've done a pretty nice job of it.

The Aviator, which is based on Ford's popular Explorer SUV that's also offering a brand-new generation this year, is a "mid-size" model with three rows of seats (in this case, the third row raises and folds via power, too, a nice touch). It rides on a new, rear drive platform but all-wheel drive is standard in Canadian trim and, according to Lincoln "gives you the propulsion-like feel of rear-wheel drive, and the confident grip of standard all-wheel drive."

Can't argue that. As much as I love rear wheel drive, there's something to be said for all-wheel drive when the roads get to be a tad more challenging than standard summer driving. Heck, full-time awd can even tighten up a vehicle's handling on dry roads, as evidenced by awd sport wagons such as those by Audi and Subaru, vehicles that stick to the road like, well, like the dickens.

Naturally, a vehicle the size of the Aviator isn't going to handle like a Porsche 911, but judging from my week in the Lincoln Canada's sample Aviator Reserve it does a pretty decent job of its duties. And if the base model's apex-carving (which includes an adaptive suspension) isn't good enough for you, you can opt for the optional Air Glide Suspension, which Lincoln says "replaces traditional hard coil springs with air bladders that can be inflated and deflated to help soften your ride-creating the sensation of riding on air." This system can also make the Aviator "kneel-down to greet you as you approach and to raise and lower based on specific drive modes", Lincoln says. That's mighty subservient of it!

It's also hardly unique in this type of vehicle, but that doesn't mean it isn't welcome. I'm not sure it's really necessary – I thought the "base" suspension was just fine, but it's there if you want it. more...

Lincoln takes flight with new Corsair

Lincoln is out with a set of new SUV models that updates its line with a decidedly airplane-like – or tech-like anyway – mien, and judging from my couple of weeks in a pair of them they've done a very nice job of it.

The two I drove are the new Corsair, which replaces the Escape-based MKC, and the Explorer-related Aviator that sent the horrid-looking MKT to the showers. Between them there's also the Nautilus, which has no aviation connection in its name at all and fits in the product line like the Edge fits into Ford's (between the Escape and the Explorer).

Hopefully, the Nautilus won't lead to Ford shareholders getting a "sinking feeling"…

Anyway, my first experience with the new line was with the Corsair, which if I were looking to purchase or lease a Lincoln would be my choice, because it's small and I like small. And I liked it a lot. It's handsome, has a beautiful interior and it drives very well.

Corsairs' new bodywork differentiates itself from the more mainstream Escape very well; if I didn't know they were related under the skin I probably wouldn't have realized it. It's cool and classy inside and out, drives very well, and coddles you very nicely.

I'd have kind of liked it to see Lincoln install reverse gull wing doors onto it to hearken back to the Vought F4U Corsair whose name it shares, but the doors are all quite conventional – and I can't imagine how automotive engineers could have pulled that feat off, anyway.

The base price of Lincoln Canada's "Reserve" sample was $50,500, which is a pretty fair price to these eyes for a luxury SUV like this. It was optioned up quite a bit, however, and some of the added value is stuff I'd like to have were I buying one: stuff like "equipment group 202A" and its heated/ventilated front seats and heated rear seats, heated steering wheel and rain-sensing wipers with de-icer, co-pilot 360 degree package (60-Degree Camera, Active Park Assist Plus,  Evasive Steering Assist,  Reverse Brake Assist  and Adaptive Cruise Control with Traffic Jam Assist which includes Stop-and-Go and Lane Centering, and even Speed Sign Recognition). The package also includes the dynamic handling and remote start features. more...

Lincoln MKC is a nice drive – but you'd better act soon

It may appear to be a last gasp for an automobile that's long in the tooth, but the 2019 Lincoln MKC compact SUV/crossover is still a very compelling vehicle that has a lot going for it.

But since this is the last year of the MKC (it's supposedly being replaced by the new "Corsair"), you might not want to dilly dally – and you might even be able to score a better deal on existing inventory, though a lot of that depends on the dealer's hunger and your negotiating skills.

I don't know how different the Corsair is going to be, but the MKC is already a fine vehicle, building on the "more pedestrian" but still very nice Escape whose DNA it shares, while upping the luxury and performance ante.

How bad can that be?

As nice as the Escape is, the MKC gives you a lot to love for the extra cash. For example, while the base engine is shared with the Escape (a two-litre turbo four rated at 245/275 horses/torque), Lincoln Canada's sample came with the bigger, 2.3 litre turbo engine that ups the oomph ante to 285/305 stallions/torquey things. That's a noticeable difference and, while there's some lag (but not a lot) from the turbo, the engine does seem to appreciate being used. more...

Big Navigator a cushy and plush drive

This was certainly the nicest bus I've ever driven!

Lincoln's new Navigator, redesigned for the 2018 model year, is a really nice vehicle for those looking for a motorhome-sized SUV that coddles with the best of 'em.

It isn't a motorhome, of course, just a reasonably conventional LARGE three row SUV for the luxury-minded buyer.

And it features the great new interior treatment I first saw on the company's Continental, though I don't believe it's identical to that one. I may be a voice barking in the wilderness, but I think these new Lincolns feature one of the best interior designs I've been in. In fact, if this interior keeps trickling across the Lincoln line to the little MKC (the smallest Lincoln SUV, which will apparently be renamed upon the debut of its next generation), they might have one of the most compelling interior lines in the business.

If only the Navigator didn't drive like the HMS Titanic! more...

Lincoln's biggest car and smallest ute make driving in Southern Ontario nearly tolerable

How do you cope with stupidly low speed limits, endless semi-trailers choking the two right lanes (even if there are only two), and drivers who seem to think that, because they're from the Centre of the Universe™, they have a right to drive as moronically and/or in others' faces as they want?

Oh, and how about the endless signs peppered over the roadsides cajoling you how to drive, how to live, how to do everything except drive distracted (because it appears to only be okay when it's the government doing the distracting)?

Well, you could try driving in a Lincoln. It won't make the drive better, but it can certainly make it a lot more pleasant.  more...

Fusion Sport and MKZ offer sporty variations on a mid-sized them

One is the sportiest version of Ford's mainstream mid-size sedan, while the other's Lincoln's variation on the theme. So, when it comes to a choice between the Fusion Sport and the Lincoln MKZ, which is the better car?

Waffle time (syrup, anyone?)! As is so often the case, the answer is a clear "it depends." Mostly, it depends on your budget, I suppose, because the loaded Ford Fusion sport Ford loaned me to wring out for a week is priced at $42,388 (sans taxes, etc.) while the MKZ stickered for $59,300. That's a pretty big spread for what beneath the surface are two cars who share a lot of their DNA. more...

Lincoln MKC and MKX - Ford's upmarket brand Escapes its roots and hones its Edge

If you're looking for a compact or mid-sized crossover from Ford but want something a little more exclusive, Lincoln just may have what you're seeking.

The MKC and MKX, which are up market versions of the Ford Escape and Edge, respectively, are both comfortable and luxurious vehicles that drive well and will coddle your bones nicely. I spent a week in each of these vehicles recently and came away quite impressed. I think they'd be even more impressive if the manufacturer would integrate more completely the terrific new interior found in the excellent Continental, but in the meantime you get a better and nicer Ford for a not-too-unreasonable premium over the garden variety Fords.

My favourite of the two is the MKC, for the mere reason that it's more a size I like. It isn't hard to see the Escape under the surface, but the MKC manages to Escape its more mainstream brother by adding a more attractive body style and a bunch of luxury and creature touches designed to raise this vehicle's premium profile - which it does quite well.

The MKX is to the Edge as the MKC is to the Escape, and of course there's nothing wrong with that. Lincoln Canada's sample also carried the "Reserve" designation, with a starting price of $52,000 CAD, which isn't a lot more than the MKC considering how much extra material is required to expand the vehicle from compact to midsize (I wonder if they have big stretching machines at the factory). more...

New Continental puts Lincoln firmly back on the map

It doesn't wallow, nor does it feel like a car my grandfather would drive. In fact, it looks as if Lincoln has thrown down a gauntlet with the 2017 Continental, announcing to the world that the famed marque is not only back, but capable of taking on the competitors head to head.

When was the last time you read that about a Lincoln Continental?

It's something I had never written before, let alone thought. Oh, I liked the MKZ I drove last fall a lot, but as nice as it was it still felt like a "gussied up" Fusion (which it is, really), whereas after spending a week in the grand new Continental I came away excited for the future of the famed nameplate, which had kind of gone to sleep as a major luxury brand.

Yep, the new Continental is that good! Welcome back! more...

Lincoln MKZ offers a capable and luxurious drive

Remember Lincoln? Ford's high end division used to be out front - whether as luxury limo-type vehicles such as the Continental, "hot rods" of song, and even the original 1960's TV Batmobile, which was really a Lincoln under the skin.

Whatever happened? Lincoln is still around, but today their vehicles are basically gussied up Fords - not that there's anything inherently wrong with that. But it seems to me that the high end vehicles should be the state-of-the-art ones, with their stuff trickling down to their lesser brands. This is how companies like Lexus have done it traditionally - stuff that began life on the top line vehicles, even such currently "pedestrian" features such as traction control, ABS and airbags, have made their way down the market and can now be found on the "lowly" Toyotas.

Ford may be looking at changing this reverse trickle down thing, starting with the upcoming Continental that looks very interesting indeed, but in the meantime we have vehicles such as the MKZ that's under discussion here. At heart, it's a Fusion - again, not that there's anything wrong with that - that has been, well, enhanced. And it's enhanced very nicely for the most part. more...

Lincoln hybrid can waft or zip - and sip

You could call the Lincoln MKZ hybrid a kind of multifunction device. It's not only a pretty nice car in its own right, but its maker appears to have designed it to appeal not only to what could be - perhaps unkindly - considered its traditional audience, but those whose bent tends more toward curve carving as well.

It's an interesting tightrope walk. Within a few minutes of having first picked up Lincoln Canada's MKZ hybrid, I hated driving it. It was so darn soft - I read somewhere once that it's as if the car "nods agreeably" when it goes over road irregularities - and it also felt as if it would flip over onto its roof the first time I took it to an off-ramp. It had been a while since I drove a car that rubbed me the wrong way so quickly.

Ah, but once I got the car home and started messing with its settings, I discovered a Sports mode that made it not merely acceptable as a driver's vehicle, but quite nice. more...

Lincoln MKC a small but major step forward for automaker

If you've been wondering where Lincoln has gone, you may not be alone.

The company is still around, of course - it has never gone away - but in recent years it seems to have developed a low profile that's only now being raised thanks to new products such as this little SUV, the MKC. And if my week in the version that sports the larger of the two engines offered is any indication, they've come up with a real winner in the "cute ute" market niche.

The MKC shares a lot of its underwear with the current Ford Escape, which isn't a bad place to start. more...

Self-parking Lincoln a Big and Bold Statement

If the Lincoln MKT is any example, the Ford Motor Company is being quite successful in the return from its near-death experience. It's a technologically advanced vehicle that's also good to drive and will carry an abundance of people and/or stuff.

Okay, the exterior looks a bit like a giant steam clothes iron, with its pointed prow and "split waterfall grille", broad flanks and relatively flat butt (the latter of which I can merely aspire to!), but once you get past that – if you can – you'll discover a very nice vehicle. more...

Lincoln MKZ and Ford Fusion – Variations on a Theme

Whether you want your car luxurious or mainstream, the Ford Fusion and Lincoln MKZ sedans are nice pieces of work.

I spent nearly back-to-back weeks with the four cylinder Fusion and the V6 MKZ, both of which were new 2010 models, and came away more impressed than I had expected to be. more...

Lincoln MKS – Sedan in Sync

Lincoln's new full size sedan is packed with all kinds of nifty features and offers good performance. But is it enough to bring in new customers to the famous brand? I don't know. What I do know is that after a week driving the all wheel drive version of the MKS I found myself a tad underwhelmed.

It was the little things, because when it comes to the big things, this car seems to have it right. It's attractive, has more than enough power, is comfortable and comes with enough creature comforts to comfort most creatures. more....

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Jim Bray is a member of the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada. His columns are available through the TechnoFile Syndicate.

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