Big SUVs like the Lincoln Navigator have been in fashion, and then awkwardly out of it, but that doesn’t mean they’re an extinct species. The diehards — Land Cruiser, Range Rover, GL-Class, Escalade, and Navigator — live on, and in a couple of instances, are living better than ever.
In recent years, the Navigator has seemed a bit like a relic in the Lincoln lineup. It was as if the Navi was a model that the brand, after purging the Town Car sedan, couldn’t quite figure out what to do with. But now for 2015 the Navigator finds a fresh direction: with some new details from front end to tailgate, a new infotainment system, and a new, more fuel-efficient (and stronger) twin-turbo engine packed into its mega-sized dimensions.
Does it still feel like the 72-ounce steak of Lincolns? And is it enough to tackle the new, fully redesigned Escalade? In both cases, the answer is [...]
Choosing on-road performance over hard-core off-road capability, the 2011 Land Rover Range Rover Sport is smaller, sleeker, and more defined than its larger brother, the Range Rover. It’s still more capable than you’d expect when the pavement ends, but you’ll pay for the paved-road handling with a rougher ride.
Though it’s a thoroughly modern design, the Range Rover Sport’s proportions, and many of its cues, recall the original, go-anywhere mountain goat that started the brand. Inside, the design is pure luxury, but with a utilitarian air. It’s a mixture of opposites, and it works.
What also works is the drivetrain and suspension in this go-anywhere (and fit right in) machine. Almost as comfortable getting muddy as it is clipping an apex, the Range Rover Sport, particularly in Supercharged trim, delivers more than you’d expect from an SUV.
Toyota hasn’t changed the look of the FJ Cruiser since its introduction, quite a few years ago. And it hasn’t messed with its off-road toughness and trail prowess. That’s good, because much of the FJ Cruiser’s appeal rests on those two things. There are few vehicles that nail a blend of retro and contemporary so well, and it serves to produce an almost ageless design, looking a bit like a vintage 1960s-era FJ40, crossed with modern cues from the 4Runner and Land Cruiser, with a MINI Cooper-like edge.
Off-road ability is first and foremost. The 2011 FJ Cruiser is built from some of the same components as the last-generation Toyota 4Runner, so it shines off-road—especially when considering its shortened wheelbase and additional ground clearance. Skid plates protect the underbody, and components are tucked into frame rails. Suspension tuning aims to get good wheel articulation without making too many on-road sacrifices, and the FJ can ford [...]