A product of the Ford Motor Company, the Lincoln Navigator, is part of the Lincoln brand and is a full-sized luxury Sports utility vehicle.
This vehicle lineup is the heaviest vehicle under the brand and boasts the best cargo capacity and seating capacity in the brand, capable of seating more than six passengers.
The Lincoln Navigator has been in production since 1998 and has seen yearly models since. While mostly sold in North America, the lineup has been a lot of years under its belt, but not all of them are good.
Hence, I will discuss the best and worst years for Lincoln Navigator and sort these models according to the community’s general opinion and my research.
Best Years for Lincoln Navigator:
Worst Years for Lincoln Navigator:
Make sure to read the article in its entirety, as I will also talk about the common issues and concerns related to the lineup.
List Of The Best Years For The Lincoln Navigator: What Years To Buy
The years listed below are widely considered the best because of their problem-free nature, luxury conditions, and great performance.
#1 Best Year: 2017 Lincoln Navigator
I am placing the 2017 Lincoln Navigator in the first place because most of the community believes that it is the best model in the lineup.
This eight-seater SUV was available in only two different trims but offered beautiful styling and a very comfortable ride, making it an elegant SUV and fit for first place on this list.
Apart from having the latest active safety features, the model came with a wonderful sound system and a great interior where the seats could be heated and cooled.
This made the car fun to ride in and amplified the great performance and drive quality of the vehicle.
#2 Best Year: 2020 Lincoln Navigator
Coming with a strong engine, responsive transmission, great interior with plenty of passenger space, and a lot of cargo space to go around, the 2020 Lincoln Navigator easily takes its rightful place at number 2 on this list.
If you need a huge SUV with a lot of room for people and cargo, then this is absolutely for you as there are no eight-seater SUVs on the market as comfortable and roomy as this one.
This model, however, has no significant changes, which is why it doesn’t take first place.
#3 Best Year: 2013 Lincoln Navigator
The 2013 Lincoln Navigator is yet another great model for the lineup due to its high stability, side curtain airbags for not one but all three rows, heated and cooled front seats, power-adjusted pedals all packaged together with a 310 hp 5.4L V8 engine which is why I decided to place it at 3rd place.
The 2013 Lincoln Navigator brought a lot of new safety and standard features to the lineup and was generally loved and appreciated by all its owners.
#4 Best Year: 2014 Lincoln Navigator
Coming one year after the amazing 2013 model, you would think that the 2014 Lincoln Navigator would be higher on this list.
However, I am placing it below the model which came before it because it is the same car with no significant changes whatsoever.
This is not a bad thing, considering the 2013 Lincoln Navigator was a solid entry into the lineup but did not show a good look as it portrays a lack of innovation.
#5 Best Year: 2009 Lincoln Navigator
Available in 2 different trims, the 2009 Lincoln Navigator is another high stability SUV with plenty of safety features and comfort features, all available in the standard edition of the vehicle.
While it lacks in many advanced tech-related features, which is why it is placed at 5th place, it features many great additions such as front parking assist and heated second-row seats, which adds to the already comfortable experience of the Lincoln Navigator.
#6 Best Year: 2010 Lincoln Navigator
Despite gaining quite a few new features, I placed the 2010 Lincoln Navigator in 6th place. This is mainly because the vehicle had been facing poor mileage for some time now and was still present with the 2010 model.
Other than this, the model was great, available in 2 different trims and offering all of the amazing features of the 2009 Lincoln Navigator with new standard features such as trailer sway control and MyKey systems.
#7 Best Year: 2000 Lincoln Navigator
The oldest model in this list, the 2000 Lincoln Navigator, is an iconic vehicle that was only available in the base trim but offered a lot of value and quality in the early 2000s, which is why I am placing it at 7th place.
Despite being iconic, it cannot be helped that aesthetic-wise, the car is pretty lacking. Other than that, the 2000 Lincoln Navigator is all about luxury and features a smooth-running engine that will, unfortunately, drain you off all your fuel pretty quickly.
#8 Best Year: 2012 Lincoln Navigator
Getting into the final model in this list, the 2012 Lincoln Navigator, despite being much more aesthetically pleasing and advanced than the 2000 model, gets stuck at last place due to its extremely poor mileage and a few other problems which customers had against it.
Aside from this, the year had two different trims for the vehicle, both of which were powered by the standard 5.4L V8 engine, which I have established for its amazing power and speed.
List Of The Worst Years For The Lincoln Navigator: What Years To Avoid
Although the Lincoln Navigator is a great vehicle, some years have been when the released models were not up to the mark.
Here are some of those years below:
#1 Worst Year: 2003 Lincoln Navigator
The 2003 model of the Lincoln Navigator was by far the worst year for this vehicle. This model faced several problems, the most common of which was the vehicle’s engine overheating. This was linked to the smell of the coolant in the interior and the engine.
However, inspected, most vehicles did not reveal any leakage even though the overheating hints at this exact problem which makes it confusing.
Other than that, this model also faced some problems regarding the vehicle’s suspension. The bounce was quite unpredictable and sometimes to the point that it became difficult to even control the vehicle.
#2 Worst Year: 2006 Lincoln Navigator
In second place on this list of worst years, I have added the 2006 models. This model had a lot of complaints, all of which were regarding different issues faced by the users. Most of these complaints were regarding problems related to the vehicle’s engine.
The engine tended to seize from time to time. This increased in frequency the longer the vehicle was used. The 2006 Lincoln Navigator model also had some problems related to the car’s interior.
#3 Worst Year: 2007 Lincoln Navigator
The 2007 Lincoln Navigator model is placed in third place on this list. This is because the major problem of engine seizing was not seen in this model. However, this model brought forward some of its engine problems.
Despite being quite a powerful one, the engine did not produce as much power as expected. The acceleration of this vehicle felt sluggish, and the fuel usage was not impressive either.
Other than that, there were also complaints regarding defective spark plugs with this model.
#4 Worst Year: 2004 Lincoln Navigator
Coming up on the number four spot on this list of the worst years is the 2004 model of the Lincoln Navigator. This is because this model did not stack up to what its competitors in the same category could provide with their releases this year.
The interior accessories felt cheap because of the low-quality material that was used. The V8 engine tends to run out of steam quite quickly, and the navigation systems for this vehicle are outdated.
#5 Worst Year: 2005 Lincoln Navigator
Next up on the list is the Lincoln Navigator’s 2005 model. This model was essentially the same as the 2004 model regarding the problems that the model faced.
It has been placed below its predecessor because this model showed some better efficiency in terms of fuel usage.
Besides, problems like the interior accessories being made out of lower quality materials and an outdated navigation system do not praise a luxury vehicle.
#6 Worst Year: 2018 Lincoln Navigator
The 2018 Lincoln Navigator model comes on the sixth spot on this list. The reason for this is that this is among the later models for the Lincoln Navigator, which set a high bar. However, this model fell short because of some of its problems.
First of all, the massive size of the vehicle was not favored by everyone. This makes it quite difficult to maneuver the vehicle in the city. Along with that, knocking sounds would come out of the engine.
#7 Worst Year: 2016 Lincoln Navigator
In second last place on this list, I have placed the 2016 model of the Lincoln Navigator. The main reason for this is that this model failed to meet the expectations. Being a luxury vehicle, it was missing some high-end features that the users did not appreciate.
To top it off, the model faced problems like the AC and heater not working in brand new vehicles. This is disappointing, considering such a hefty price tag for the vehicle.
#8 Worst Year: 2019 Lincoln Navigator
Lastly, there is the 2019 model of the Lincoln Navigator. I have placed this model in last place because, out of the models in this list, this model received the lowest number of complaints.
And even these complaints were regarding some minor technical issues like the screen freezing from time to time. While the vehicle was overall in good condition, these small issues were major annoyances, so I was forced to place this here.
What Are The Most Common Problems With The Lincoln Navigator?
Despite having a lot of great models, the Lincoln Navigator suffers from its own set of varied yet common issues, which I will be discussing here:
1. Air Suspension
The air suspension is one of the most common problems affecting the models, especially the 2004 Lincoln Navigator model.
Most of the time, they would not have any issues, but around the 140,000-mile mark, they would fail to turn off, which could cause a lot of issues when working on the car and could lead to issues such as airbags not pumping up or the air suspension failing in general.
2. Battery Corrosion
Despite being an easy fix, the fact remains that the battery cables were prone to corrosion, and a lot of owners complained against the issue.
What was worse was that it had no relative fix as owners would clean the cables regularly and still end up with corrosion. This would easily lead to battery damage, requiring a new set of batteries and cables.
3. Rough Idle And Stalling
This issue was most common in high dust areas and was common from models from the beginning of the lineup to 2010, where the issue would start to occur at around 135,000 miles.
Owners would start to feel a jerking motion when traveling between 45 to 65 mph and feel that the vehicle was repeatedly stalling.
4. Running Boards Rust
This issue was most common in the 2006 Lincoln Navigator and involved a lot of owners finding out that their running boards had been damaged with rust under the panels, which would cause the structure to become unstable.
This would result in the owners getting a replacement bracket or entire board, which undoubtedly cost a lot.
5. EGR System Problems
Till 2010, the Lincoln Navigator developed an issue related to the EGR system, especially when driven in dusty areas.
The filter surrounding the EGR solenoid would get clogged, which would cause the system to turn on when it wasn’t supposed to, resulting in even more idling and stalling. Luckily, getting a new filter would solve the issue.
Related: Why Won’t My Lincoln Navigator Start?
Frequently Asked Questions
Q1. How Many Miles Can I Get Out Of A Lincoln Navigator?
Despite not boasting the highest reliability rating, the Lincoln Navigator has a lot of mileage under its belt, with the average Lincoln Navigator easily reaching 200,000 miles.
This number may seem small compared to other vehicles, but it is a lot for an eight-seater SUV. You can bump this number up substantially if you put in the care and carry out regular maintenance to make sure the car stays healthy and in shape.
Q2. Who Makes Lincoln Navigator?
The Lincoln Navigator is part of the Lincoln brand, which comes under the Ford Motor Company family. These two plants have made all of the Lincoln Navigator models over the years.
The Lincoln Navigator has most of its market in North America, so it makes sense that most of the assembly plants be available there too, with the main manufacturer plants being in Wayne, Michigan & Louisville, Kentucky; both here in the United States.
Q3. Is It Expensive To Maintain A Lincoln Navigator?
For its vehicle class, the Lincoln Navigator easily beats its competition by being $3,349 cheaper than the industry average for maintenance and repair costs within the span of the first ten years of service, the average cost being $12, 11, which is still quite a lot.
The Lincoln Navigator does, however, have the misfortune of requiring a major repair during this phase 1/3rd of the time, which could easily make this an expensive endeavor.
Q4. Do Lincoln Navigators Require Premium Gas?
While premium fuel is not necessary for the Lincoln Navigator, it is recommended to have more octanes that prevent engine combustion.
Premium fuel is also better in quality when it is compared to regular fuel, which is good for the health of your fuel system as it most likely contains fewer contaminants.
While you could get cheaper fuel, it is not recommended as it can easily degrade the health of your vehicle in the long run.
Q5. Is Escalade Better Than Navigator?
The Cadillac Escalade is a diesel SUV, so it starts with the huge advantage of having less fuel consumption than the Lincoln Navigator. This means that it has more mileage and fewer costs than the Lincoln Navigator, which gives it a good position.
However, the Lincoln Navigator has a much smoother engine and more power inside of it. If you prioritize long-distance travel, fuel economy, and towing, then go for the Escalade. Otherwise, choose the Lincoln Navigator for its smooth power.
The Lincoln Navigator offers amazing performance and handling for a vehicle so big and sturdy as it is. Being an eight-seater SUV and having the number of luxuries and comfortability it boasts is no small feat.
When talking about the best and worst years for Lincoln Navigator, models like the 2017 Lincoln Navigator come to mind for their great array of features and performance, while years like the 2003 Lincoln Navigator are known for their myriad of issues should be avoided.
No doubt you should be able to do that now that you know everything you need to about the Lincoln Navigator.
Hi there! I am Tahir Azam, and this is my blog. WVDOT Automotive is a website dedicated to creating high-quality content for car enthusiasts. I am also an avid car driver. I own and drive a Porsche for my daily tasks. It is the perfect vehicle for my family. I am a proud father of two boys. I spend my mornings and evenings catering to clients at my very own software hub. After getting home, I dedicate a few hours of my time to creating an article every day. Well, this is a short introduction about me and I am also a publisher on Amazon. I hope you enjoy reading through my articles, and I also hope that I may have helped you choose an upgrade for your vehicle.