The Best of the Best 2003: Sport-Utility Vehicles - Lincoln Navigator

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The civility of the $48,310 Lincoln Navigator is evident before you even set foot in the SUV. When you open any of the Navigator’s doors, running boards automatically and graciously deploy to aid in your ascent, like an elephant offering its leg to an approaching rider.

The figurative red-carpet treatment ushers you into a lavish interior filled with aesthetic pleasures. The gracefully curved dash, constructed of fine leather and American walnut, offers easy-to-read gauges. Adjust-able brake and accelerator pedals, equipped with two-driver memory, make driving positions safer and more comfortable.

When the 5,994-pound beast begins to move, its 5.4-liter, 300-hp V-8 quickly brings it up to speed, and a stiffer chassis yields a ride that is smoother and more controlled than earlier versions of the Navigator. The suspension is configured such that Lincoln can provide a deep footwell with its third-row seating, which should eliminate any complaints from backseat drivers.

Lincoln, www.lincoln.com

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