Premium large SUV; Built in USA
  • 4-door wagon
  • 4-door wagon
  • longitudinal front-engine/rear- or 4-wheel drive
Good condition price range: $4,200 – $46,700*

2003 Lincoln Navigator

2004 Lincoln Navigator

2005 Lincoln Navigator

Lincoln Navigator interior

  • Cargo room
  • Passenger room
  • Trailer-towing capability
  • Control layout (navigation system)
  • Entry/exit
  • Fuel economy

Frankly, the related Ford Expedition offers much the same driving experience and utility, for less money than Lincoln’s version. Still, unique power features and good road manners make the Navigator a credible player among high-end SUVs.


Class-exclusive power running boards and a new power liftgate highlighted the 2003 redesign of Lincoln’s full-size sport-utility vehicle. Essentially, the Navigator is a Ford Expedition luxury spinoff. Dimensions changed little, but styling was revised. Introduction of an independent rear suspension lowered the rear floor by 9 inches, to provide more third-row leg room. Navigator’s new dashboard design was not shared with the Expedition.

Luxury, Premium, and top-line Ultimate models were offered, all equipped with a 300-horsepower, 5.4-liter V8, versus the 260-hp engine in the Expedition. A four-speed automatic was the sole transmission.

Navigators were offered with rear-wheel drive or Ford’s ControlTrac four-wheel drive, which could be left engaged on dry pavement and included low-range gearing. Antilock four-wheel disc brakes, 18-inch wheels (versus 17s in 2002), power-adjustable pedals, leather upholstery, and genuine walnut interior trim were standard. So were curtain side airbags that served the first and second seating rows, and were designed to deploy in side impacts and rollovers. Torso side airbags were unavailable.

Heated power-folding door mirrors and an in-dash CD changer also were standard. A self-leveling air-spring suspension was included with 4WD.

Second-row seating was a choice of two buckets with a center console, or a three-passenger split-folding bench. A 60/40 split folding third-row bench was standard.

The Premium model featured traction/antiskid control and heated/cooled front seats. The Ultimate added a power-fold feature for each section, which was also available for the Expedition. However, no other SUV offered the Navigator Ultimate’s standard power liftgate or power running boards. The latter automatically extended when a side door opened, and retracted when it closed.

Premium and Ultimate options included rear-seat DVD entertainment and a navigation system. Later in the year, a tire-pressure monitor became available. Rivals included the Acura MDX, Cadillac Escalade, Mercedes-Benz M-Class, and Toyota Land Cruiser.

Yearly Updates

2004 Navigator
Highlights for 2004 included a standard tire-pressure monitor and, at midyear, availability of Ford’s Roll Stability Control. That system was designed to detect an impending tip and activate the antiskid system to reduce chances of a rollover. Navigators came in Luxury and Ultimate models this year. A self-leveling rear suspension was standard. The Ultimate had a standard power liftgate and optional power running boards. Antiskid/traction control and heated/cooled front seats were standard on the Ultimate.
2005 Navigator
A new V8 engine and transmission went into 2005 models. The revised 5.4-liter V8 developed the same 300 horsepower, but was designed to deliver more low-range power. A six-speed automatic transmission replaced the prior four-speed. Ford’s Roll Stability Control system was now standard.
2006 Navigator
There were no 2006 changes for the Navigator.
2007 Navigator
Lincoln revamped its large SUV for 2007, giving it updated exterior styling and an extended-wheelbase model. Navigator, a dressed-up version of Ford’s similarly- changed ’07 Expedition, came in a standard-length version and the new-for-’07 Navigator L.
2008 Navigator
The 2008 Lincoln Navigator got a revised model lineup following its 2007 revamp. Luxury and Ultimate models were discontinued. Newly standard were a power liftgate and heated/cooled front seats.
2009 Navigator
Newly standard on the 2009 Navigator were front-obstacle detection, Ford’s Sync voice-activated interface for cell phones and MP3 players, heated 2nd-row seats, and a rearview camera. Also newly standard was Ford’s EasyFuel capless fuel filler, which allowed owners to refill their gas tanks without having to remove a cap.
2010 Navigator
The 2010 Lincoln Navigator was largely unchanged.
2011 Navigator
The 2011 Lincoln Navigator got a navigation system as standard equipment but was otherwise unchanged.
2012 Navigator
There were no noteworthy changes to the Lincoln Navigator for 2012.
2013 Navigator
Aside from some new paint-color choices, the 2013 Navigator saw no changes.
2014 Navigator
There were no changes for 2014.


longitudinal front-engine/rear- or 4-wheel drive

In 2003-04 models, a dual-overhead-cam 5.4-liter V8 engine that generates 300 horsepower drove a four-speed automatic transmission. For 2005, the V8 again was rated 300 hp but gained torque, and a six-speed automatic replaced the four-speed. Navigators may have rear-wheel or four-wheel drive.

dohc V8
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 5.4/330
Engine HP 300
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 355
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
4-speed automatic
6-speed automatic

EPA rating for 2WD model with 4-speed is 12/17 mpg. Figure shown for 6-speed transmission is for 2WD model.

Road Test

Performance is competitive with most rivals. A Navigator feels brisk off the line, and delivers better-than-adequate passing power. A test 4WD Premium Navigator accelerated to 60 mph in 9.7 seconds. Actually, the lighter, 260-hp Expedition is about as quick. An AWD Cadillac Escalade feels stronger, with 345 horsepower for similar weight. Lincoln’s smooth automatic transmission provides timely gear changes.

As for fuel economy, an extended-use 4WD Ultimate averaged 13 mpg. A test 4WD Premium model averaged just 12.2 mpg, including gas-eating performance tests. Lincoln recommends premium-grade fuel.

Navigators serve as steady, solid highway cruisers. Four-wheel-drive models smooth out most pavement well enough, aided by large tires and the independent rear suspension. Still, some body drumming on railroad tracks and other rough surfaces is evident.

Steering feel and precision are almost carlike, with fine straightline stability and a relatively tight turning circle. However, all but gentle curves trigger nose plow and body lean that bespeak a big, heavy truck. Roll Stability Control should enhance stability. Little nosedive has been noted in simulated 60-mph emergency stops, but test distances have been a bit long. Brake-pedal action has varied from touchy yet spongy to natural and easily modulated.

Navigators are generally quiet and satisfyingly refined. Wind rush may be noticed above 50 mph, but tire thrum is moderate. The engine sounds strained in brisk takeoffs and midrange passing sprints, but is otherwise subdued.

Interior ambience benefits from rich-looking leather and wood, plus a stylish dashboard. However, “brushed metal” panels are painted plastic, and, like some switchgear, feel cheap. Minor controls are mostly handy and intuitive, but many markings are too small. No transmission gear-selection indicator is included in the main instrument panel. Power-window controls are placed on the center console. With a navigation system, the CD changer is inconveniently buried in the front passenger footwell. Power-seat switches are difficult to reach with doors closed. The navigation system’s screen is easy to read and reasonably easy to use, with familiarization.

Front space and support are ample for even the largest occupants, though front-seat armrests would improve long-trip comfort. A tall build prevents the driver from seeing much near the vehicle. The standard obstacle-warning system partly compensates, as do large door mirrors that tilt down when selecting Reverse. Optional power side steps on the Ultimate help ease high step-in.

The available second-row bench fits three adults, but all positions are narrowly defined by seatbelt buckles. The bench’s middle section slides forward 11 inches for child-seat access, but there’s no center armrest. Second-row buckets are more substantially padded than the Expedition’s, but still offer no abundance of leg room. The third row offers best-in-class space on a chair-height bench, though the cushion could be longer and softer. Third-row head room in the Ultimate is compromised somewhat by the power liftgate mechanism.

Cargo space is skimpy behind the third row, ample with it down, and cavernous and usefully flat with all rear seats dropped. Second-row seats have high-effort flip-forward releases and lack counterbalancing for their poorly leveraged weight. Manual third-row seat releases are a long stretch from the rear, with the seat lowered. The power third-row seat raises and lowers conveniently via buttons at the rear and middle of the vehicle.

Although the liftgate opens tall enough to clear a six-footer’s head, it’s difficult to pull down manually, and not easily reached by short people. The Ultimate’s power liftgate operates from the cabin or keyfob.


Model Tested: 2004 Luxury 4WD

Ratings values are on a 1-10 scale, with 10 being the best. With the exception of Value, these numbers reflect how the vehicle compares against the universe of vehicles, not just against rivals in its class.


Acceleration - 4
Fuel Economy - 2
Ride Quality - 6
Steering/Handling - 4
Quietness - 6


Controls/Materials - 5
Room/Comfort Front - 9
Room/Comfort Rear - 8
Cargo Room - 9


Value - 3

Total: 56


4-door wagon
Wheelbase (in.) Length (in.) Width (in.) Height (in.) Weight (lbs)
119.0 208.4 78.8 78.3
Cargo Volume (cu/ft) Payload Capacity (cu/ft) Fuel Capacity (gal.) Seating Capacity
103.5 28.0 8
Headroom Legroom
Front Rear Front Rear
39.6 39.7 41.2 39.1
4-door wagon
Wheelbase (in.) Length (in.) Width (in.) Height (in.) Weight (lbs)
131.0 223.3 78.8 78.1
Cargo Volume (cu/ft) Payload Capacity (cu/ft) Fuel Capacity (gal.) Seating Capacity
128.2 33.5 8
Headroom Legroom
Front Rear Front Rear
39.5 39.7 41.2 39.1
Safety Ratings

Model Tested: 2004 Navigator 4-door wagon


(5 is the highest rating)

Front Impact Test

Driver Injury - 5
Front Passenger Injury - 5

Side Impact Test

Driver Injury - N/A
Rear Passenger Injury - N/A


(A score of 100 is average. Lower is better)

Collision N/A
Injury N/A
Theft N/A

Trouble Spots

Air conditioner
Description: The air conditioner may intermittently quit working during cruising due to icing of the evaporator requiring installation of a thermostatic switch. (2003-04)
Brake wear
Description: The original equipment brake pads cause excessive dust and revised pads with a different lining material are available, but must be installed on both the front and rear and are not covered by the original warranty. (2003-04)
Description: The rear wheels may chatter during low speed turns requiring installation of a revised clutch pack in the limited slip differential. (2003-05)
Description: The outside mirror on the driver’s side may spontaneously fold in due to faulty module in driver’s seat. (2007)
Rear wipers
Description: The battery may go dead because the rear wiper does not cycle to its parked position due to rusty pivot, but keeps attempting to do so. (2003-07)
Description: The climate controlled seats may quit working due to a glitch in the control module. (2006)
Security alarm
Description: The retractable running boards my not extend or may do so intermittently because mud or other debris may collect in their tracks, but the problem may be due to failure of the motor or linkage or a problem with the vehicle security system. (2003-04)
Spark plugs
Description: Spark plugs tend to break off in the cylinder heads on 5.4L, 3-valve engine often requiring costly head removal. (2004-05)
Suspension noise
Description: Vibration, often accompanied by a droning sound, comes from the front halfshafts (axles) during deceleration due to unequal rotational speeds requiring installation of clutch springs in the front differential. (2003)
Vehicle noise
Description: Driveline clunking that happens while driving at highway speed can be addressed by reprograming the powertrain control module. (2012-14)
Description: Water may accumulate in the headlight assembly requiring the seam between the plastic halves to be sealed with RTV silicone sealant. If this has been done, black tape to hide the repair will be visible on top. (2003)
Electrical problem
Description: The automatic height leveling system my malfunction due to sensor link arms disconnecting at their ball studs for which revised parts are available. (2003-06)
Software problems
Description: There may be excessive background noise during phone calls and/or problems with voice recognition while using the SYNC system requiring software improvements and a new microphone in the headliner. (2009-10)

Recall History

2006 Navigator
Description: Both tires on the driver’s side may be damaged, leading to belt corrosion or tread seaperation. Dealers will inspect all four tires and replace any with tread damage.
2006 Navigator
Description: Incorrectly-manufactured automatic-transmission parking pawl guide plate could prevent engaging of “park” position. Dealers will inspect and repair.
2006 Navigator
Description: Windshield wiper motor may not be greased properly, causing a loss of wiper function.
2007 Navigator with 5.4L V8 engine
Description: The fuel rail cross-over hose may crack, which could cause a fuel odor and/or fuel leak, which increases risk of fire.
2007-2008 Navigator
Description: The door-handle-housing embossment retaining the bottom of the interior door-handle spring on all side doors may fracture during normal customer usage. This can result in insufficient spring force to return the handle to the fully closed position.
2009 Navigator
Description: The brake light switch may be improperly adjusted, resulting in a delay in brake stop light illumination when the pedal is pushed. In situations of very mild brake application, the brake lights may not illuminate.
2012 Navigator
Description: One seat may have inadequately welded head restraint support brackets and could be dangerous in a crash.
2012 Navigator
Description: Transmission may not go into reverse when the drive puts the shift lever into position for reverse. When vehicle is in reverse, dashboard “R” light may not illuminate.

Equipment Lists

Equipment lists are only viewable on larger screen sizes.


Used-car pricing varies widely depending on local market conditions. Therefore, we recommend visiting websites that list used cars for sale to get a better idea of what a specific model is selling for in your area.

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