Well, I have driven the Expedition, which is basically the Navigator's cousin, and if it's ANYTHING like the Navigator, then it's got to be awesome! Of course, it will be much more luxurious on the interior and possibly the suspension. The Expidition has a strong engine so if they share the same engine then I know it's got some pep to it. You thinking about buying one?
My wife and I are seriously considering the Navigator. We were looking at first into the new Explorer, as the styling is quite nice, and it is a lot better appointed than earlier versions. (2002) It has excellent power, and a wonderful leather interior. We looked at rivals that couldn't come CLOSE to the Explorer in a lot of areas for the same money. Even the Lexus was a disappointment for the extra dough!
Anyway, back to the Nav... We decided that bigger is better, since I wanted the V8 Explorer to pull a car hauler or holiday trailer, I reasoned that a 5.4 liter, 32 valve motor could get the job done in a more relaxed manner, especially with the extra oil and transmission coolers that are a standard feature.
The ride was incredible. I had the chance to take a 2000 model Expedition for a weekend on a long haul, fully loaded with family. It fit everyone quite well, and falls just short of being a bus. (lots of room!) It rode very well and had good power, but it took away a little driving confidence when a side wind would hit on the open highway. It was a little unnerving, to say the least. Mind you, it was quite a strong wind, and knowing it was there made you pay more attention to your driving. It never once felt like it was going to lose control on you, but that impression was there...
I am happy to say that the 2002 Navigator was a delight to drive in every way. It was solid and stable at highway speeds, and I wouldn't hesitate to let my wife drive if I needed sleep! I couldn't believe the power it had when I planted my foot. It didn't feel like a 2 1/2 ton brute! It felt like the smaller, V8 equipped Explorer when opened up. That is an impressive statement, given the difference in weight!
We like all the standard features and options, but, we also like the power moonroof... To have both isn't possible through Ford. The wiring for the navigation system or entertainment package apparently interferes with the moonroof. So, that can be cured with an aftermarket unit if desired, and to my wife and I, we prefer the console mounted entertainment units that bring the picture more to the kids' eye level. (I have seen them online... they install to look like a factory installed option! And for almost half the price from Ford)
Air conditioned and heated seats are a MUST here in Canada (especially the latter), and I really liked the power rear side vent glass. There are so many options that I couldn't list. It is worth it to grab a dealer brochure.
Once we purchase our unit (with 2nd row buckets, not split bench), I will post here again for updated info!
Mark in Canada