It had been a surprise that Lincoln discover the tight and twisty back roads of sleepy Santa Barbara, California, to commence the principal drive of the luxurious new 2003 Navigator, as an alternative to an expansive horse ranch or Beverly Hills country club. It absolutely was a straight bigger surprise the truth that jumbo SUV seemed as nimble on those roads countless other, smaller vehicles. In addition to being constructed away from wore on combined with the miles accumulated, it became increasingly easy to overlook the Navigator’s large size because of significant changes to the chassis, steering, and Lincoln Navigator suspension.

It may not be a coincidence that ride and handling improvements are classified as the first things we noticed concerning this vehicle: Navigator engineers spent a considerable period of time studying the Lincoln driving experience, and set out to achieve consistent driving dynamics surrounding the Lincoln line. Calling it “Lincoln DNA,” engineers planned to produce an “addictive driving experience, unique for Lincoln” and embed it “across every vehicle in the lineup. It’s this that today’s luxury vehicle customers expect,” says Engineering Director, Dr. Mike Renucci.

To make this happen new a higher level refinement, the Navigator has moved to somewhat of a fully boxed hydro-formed frame that may be 70 percent torsion-ally stiffer than last year’s classical frame for reduced noise, vibration, and harshness, even on rough and uneven road surfaces. With a more rigid platform to hang from, a detailed-new air suspension may very well be fine-tuned to better balance ride comfort, off-road ability, and payload capability.

The popular front and Lincoln Navigator rear suspension assemblies employ upper and lower control arms with spring-over-shock load-leveling air springs and monotube dampers as an alternative to the independent front / solid-axle rear configuration present in the prior Navigator and standard in the current Cadillac Escalade and Lexus LX 470. Navigator replaces its previous recirculating ball system with a carefully tuned rack-and-pinion setup for friction-free steering with smooth transitions and low effort around town, completing the dynamics transformation.

Similar to the chassis, the surface receives an extensive makeover for 2003. When using the exception with the roof panel and front doors, each one of the bodywork is completely new. In front, behold Lincoln’s signature grille, clear-lens quad-beam halogen headlamps, Navigator air conversion kit and integrated tow hooks and fog-lamps. For easier entry and exit, optional power running boards deploy each time a door is opened – sliding out four inches through the rocker panel and three inches toward the rear – and retract should the doors are closed. The electricity-assisted lift gate can raise or lower the door in about 10 seconds, and automatically retracts should it encounter an obstacle (effectively demonstrated when Lincoln Mercury Product Specialist Jim Cain confidently stuck his arm under the closing gate).

Inside, seating surfaces are leather which has a milled pebble finish, floor and mats are plush carpet, A-pillars and headliner are textured fabric, and also other surfaces, comprising the center panel, controls, switches, and the different parts of trim are painted a low-luster satin nickel color with sparing touches of chrome for a sophisticated appear and feel.

Standard features include dual-zone climate control with auxiliary outlets and controls for your second- and third row passengers; two-driver memory setting for front power seats, mirrors, brake and accelerator pedals; AM/FM premium audio system with in-dash six-disc CD changer; remote key-less entry with keypad; and a protracted Rear Park Assist system that uses the variety of ultrasonic sensors and radar to detect obstacles when reversing. Split folding second- and third-row seats boast three-point belts at each position, along with the third-row seats can optionally power-fold with precisely the push of your mouse button. A lower-tech contribution to the lux quotient, more extensive sound absorbing materials and better body sealing help supply a more quiet cabin.