When it came to creating a new generation of the Lincoln Navigator—the car that launched the idea of the luxury, full-scale SUV more than 15 years ago—Lincoln’s design director, David Woodhouse, started with a story.“I invented a family called the Cunninghams,” he explained. “They were New York–based and taking a trip to the Hamptons to their beachhouse or yacht. It was taking the idea of a navigator to quite literally going back to navigating by the stars.”
This scenario of an East Coast family road trip resulted in the Lincoln Navigator 2018 and its combination of elegance and scale. So far the new model, available in the coming months, has received rave reviews as it has made its way from the New York Car Show to the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, and, most recently, Montauk’s Surf Lodge, where people could sit inside the car and experience the unique features of the interior. Woodhouse is especially proud of the horizontal nature of the dashboard—the gearshift is even a piano-key panel of buttons for park, neutral, and drive—and the center console, which floats instead of connecting to the dash. “We want the interiors to be about sanctuary and instill a feeling of calmness and equilibrium,” the designer said. “When you’re on holiday and see the horizon on the waterline, that feeling instills this sense of peace and calmness.”
Woodhouse also spoke about Frank Lloyd Wright’s idea of the prairie and how he underscored the importance of horizontal lines. “Frank Lloyd Wright is embedded in the legacy around Lincoln,” said Woodhouse. “He proclaimed Lincoln to be the most beautiful car in the world and owned a string of Lincolns during one of our great eras.”
But even Wright, the great architect and innovator, couldn’t have imagined some of the cutting-edge features the Navigator offers. The lengthy list includes 30 different seat positions, a key fob that remembers your preferences as you approach the car, backseat massagers, individual climate and audio controls, Wi-Fi, wireless connection to 10-inch entertainment screens, and Sling Media. Another notable highlight is the 20-speaker Revel Ultima audio system by Harman—so important to the model that the brand celebrated it this summer with a partnership with Surf Lodge for a concert series that included Lauryn Hill, Ben Harper, and Whitney.
But not all the design elements are tech-based. Bold color combinations are also a key component of the new design, especially with the brand’s ultra-high-end Black Label offerings, which include three color themes. The Yacht Club package—exuberant shades of blues and grays, contrast piping, and bleached teak—is a particular standout for embracing colors beyond the normal blacks and tans of luxury interiors. Another option, Destination, evokes a library with shades of Cognac and oxblood, while the Chalet package includes Espresso and Alpine Venetian leathers with Silverwood appliqués inspired by a ski lodge.
Black Label also comes with member services like a lifetime of complimentary car washes and a custom culinary experience. Sounds like the makings of a road trip you never want to end.