Two SUVs diverge on a dealer lot, and if you’re sorry you cannot finance them both, then a hard choice has to be made. The 2019 Ford Expedition and the 2019 Lincoln Navigator are full-size family haulers cut from the same cloth – but as opposed to years past when a cookie-cutter approach to truck design guided each model, the current generation features more than just a few token differences between the pair.
Still, with so many similarities in play, it’s not always easy to figure out which of the duo will make you happier in the long run. We’ve put together this quiz to help you land the elephantine sport-utility vehicle of your dreams – and make sure you don’t find yourself back at the dealership after closing time, nose pressed against the glass, weeping big, beautiful tears of regret.
1. Which SUV is Quicker?
- They’re both twin-turbo
- But one’s a little more “turbo”
- If you know what we mean
Both the 2019 Ford Expedition and the 2019 Lincoln Navigator are based on the same platform, and at first glance they appear to offer an identical drivetrain: a 3.5-litre twin-turbo EcoBoost V6, mated to a 10-speed automatic transmission.
Closer inspection, however, reveals that the Navigator is holding the thicker end of the bully stick – at least, from a tuning perspective. With a rating of 450 horsepower and 510 lb-ft of torque, the Lincoln stands 75 horses taller than most versions of its Ford cousin, with the Expedition Platinum’s extra dollop of output cutting that gap to 50 ponies. Likewise, the Platinum offers 480 lb-ft of torque as opposed to 470 lb-ft elsewhere on the trim list, but it’s still at a deficit to the Navigator.
Incidentally, despite its extra power the Lincoln Navigator can’t out-haul the Expedition when it comes time to hitch up a trailer. The gap isn’t substantial – 3,810 kilos compared to the Ford’s 4,181 – and it’s largely due to the extra weight associated with the Navi’s luxury features.
2. Which One’s Better for My Mid-Commute Meditation?
- Keep your eyes on the road please
- Seriously, you’re scaring us
- But yeah, one’s a lot quieter than the other
Another area where the Navigator pulls ahead of the Expedition is “inner peace”. That is to say, the sound insulation that the automaker’s engineers have slathered all over the inside of its cabin, the underside of its chassis, and yes, even over the windows (which are laminated). The end result of all the mass-dampening, foam-filling, and glass-glazing is a shockingly silent ride, even at highway speeds or when putting the hammer down for a full-throttle pass.
The Expedition isn’t exactly cacophonous, but it definitely provides a less serene environment for riders – especially when you factor in the fake engine noise that gets pumped in over the stereo system when you hit the gas pedal hard. It’s a little disorientating to be subjected to the dulcet tones of a V8 in full flight while flogging a V6.
3. How Do You Feel About In-Vehicle Fashion Shoots?
- All day, every day
- More of an outdoorsy type
- Full tints – no photos please
After years of wandering the “leather everywhere” wasteland, the most recent Lincoln Navigator has finally come into its own in offering a truly world-class cabin. Aim your sights towards the top of the trim ladder and you’ll be rewarded with a finely detailed passenger compartment that combines high-quality materials with a soft touch wherever your hands might stray.
The rear quarters are equally opulent, with an available touchscreen in the second-row centre console that allows passengers to control their personal infotainment while the vehicle is underway. In short, snapping a few shots on the way to the catwalk wouldn’t be out of the question – and given that you can order the Navigator in an long-wheelbase L edition, you’d have plenty of room to house the crew, too.
The Ford Expedition, on the other hand – even in Platinum guise – simply doesn’t hold up when compared against a true luxury ride. It’s “nice enough”, to be sure, but you’d be hard pressed to pick it over the Lincoln if the goal was to impress your human cargo, even in long-wheelbase Max trim.
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4. My Favourite Musical Instrument is…
- A piano
- A turntable
- A keytar
Ah, the great shifter debate. In the battleground for the hearts and minds of modern automotive shoppers, the gear selector has become a hotly contested battleground, with all manner of designs being thrust into the hands of an increasingly confused public.
Both the Navigator and the Expedition make their own unique plays to convince you to abandon the tried-and-true shifter stalk. Lincoln has arranged a row of piano keys at the bottom of the centre stack in a bid to teach budding maestros to play the PRND shuffle. Ford, on the other hand, will have you scratching, spinning, and sliding your fingers over a rotary dial on the console itself, with an ‘M’ sunk into the middle of the radius for access each of the 10 gears individually via steering-wheel mounted buttons.
(Oh, and if you selected “C”, the ’80s is the other way.)
5. Do You Off-Road to Your Gated Community?
- No, I chopper in.
- Yes, if by “off-road” you mean “occasionally drive on snow”
- My penthouse has a gate in it somewhere
Neither the Expedition nor the Navigator are true off-roaders, for very similar reasons. It’s a hassle to sherpa vehicles as big as these two bruisers down any type of tight trail, where turning radius and a short wheelbase are key to avoid getting hung up in ruts or on a stony outcropping. Although each vehicle offers an electronically controlled limited-slip differential, it’s more fair to label their drive systems as “all-wheel” rather than the “4x4” appellation that inspires more confidence when heading off of the beaten path.
Still, each vehicle offers near-identical drive modes to help you get through the slippery stuff. Look for settings that can handle mud and snow (provocatively named “Deep Conditions” in the Navi), slippery roads, and, once you’re back on pavement, sporty or efficiency-oriented driving. You can get an adaptive suspension system on both the Ford and the Lincoln, although it’s easier to spec on lower trim levels of the latter, which assists with asphalt shenanigans. Spring for the Expedition’s FX4 Off-Road package, (a necessity if you want the limited-slip diff), and you’ll also get a set of skid plates and more rugged shock absorbers.
6. Does It Matter If No One Knows How Much Money You Spent?
- I’d leave the sticker in the window if I could
- Black Label all the things!
While Lincoln has done an excellent job in separating the styling of the Navigator from the more pedestrian Expedition when looking at both vehicles either head-on or directly at the rear, in profile – and occasionally, from either quarter – their similarities are far more visible on the outside than what you’ll discover once you open up the door. Those watching you roll by from the sidewalk or next lane over won’t be able to sneak a peek inside either SUV, unfortunately, which means that they’ll have to glean how much cash you dropped on your truck from the badge or the design alone.
That’s bad news if you’re a consumer who wishes to be as conspicuous as possible out on the road, for while the Navigator stands out from other big haulers with its beautifully styled lighting and elegant visage, Lincoln itself generates almost no recognition among premium vehicle fans. That’s a bit of a problem when your MSRP starts at around $90K and can climb well over the six-figure mark if you get wild with the options sheet. This makes the Navigator the most ostentatious stealth luxury vehicle you’ll ever ride in – at least until Lincoln polishes up its brand image.
Things are either better or worse, depending on your perspective, when it comes to the Expedition. Stay with one of the Ford truck’s more modest trim levels, such as the entry-level XLT, and you’ll be out the door around the $60K mark. Reach for the stars in Max form and you’re suddenly pushing up against the base Navigator’s sticker price with even less chance that anyone at the country club won’t think you’re there to tune up the golf carts. In the battle for street cred, these two imposing presences simply can’t get the respect their inflated ask implies.