Poised and polished, the 2022 Lincoln Navigator is a full-size luxury SUV with space for passengers in three decadently appointed rows of seats.
This year, Lincoln tweaks the Navigator’s styling inside and out, plus a 13.2-inch touchscreen replaces a smaller display in the dash last year, while rear-seat riders now get their own touchscreen for heating and cooling controls. A host of new colors include additional “themes” for the range-topping Black Label trim level.
Lincoln also now makes its hands-free driver-assistance suite optional on the Navigator.
Both standard and long-wheelbase Navigator L versions return.
Every Navigator uses a 450-hp turbocharged V-6 linked to a 10-speed automatic transmission and either rear- or all-wheel drive. All that power works out to an 8,700-pound towing rating, but all that heft dents fuel economy to just 16 city, 22 highway, 19 combined mpg. Four-wheel-drive and extended-length versions check in at just 18 mpg combined.
The 2022 Navigator earned a five-star rating from the NHTSA for its crashworthiness. Standard equipment includes blind-spot monitors, adaptive cruise control, and active lane control. A head-up display and a surround-view camera system are available, as is automatic parking assist and the Activeglide system that allows the driver to take their hands from the wheel for extended periods of time.
The base Navigator runs nearly $80,000, which buys leather upholstery, a power tailgate, keyless start, second-row captain’s chairs, 20-inch alloy wheels, and a new 13.2-inch touchscreen with 14 speakers and a faster interface, plus Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Options include a 20-speaker audio system and twin-screen rear-seat entertainment with Amazon Fire TV access.
Stepping up to the Reserve trim level builds in a surround-view camera system, 22-inch wheels, a light-up Lincoln badge, a panoramic sunroof, and it unlocks options for 28-speaker sound and 30-way power-adjustable front seats.
Cresting $104,000, the Black Label does battle with Europe’s best luxury SUVs thanks to its bespoke-feeling interior, which comes in four “themes.” Black Label ownership also buys free car washes and valet service for maintenance appointments.
Unmistakably a Navigator but minus the brashness on which this model used to trade, the latest big Lincoln SUV is a suave, slick choice.
This year’s tweaks give the bluff front end a cleaner look with updated signature LED lighting that can even extend to the grille badge. Wheel sizes start at 20 inches and move up from there, but this SUV’s remarkable styling balance means it never looks quite as hefty as it is – until you park it next to a smaller model, that is.
Stunning. That’s the only way to describe the Navigator’s inner trappings, especially with this year’s update to a larger touchscreen for infotainment. Modern and vintage cues are linked together with leather, wood, and metallic fixtures, plus plenty of pixels.
Black Label trim buys a quartet of interior hues that go beyond mere upholstery dyes and wood trims. They’re cohesive and fun.
Front seats with up to 30 ways of adjustment deliver some of the best comfort on the road, and they can be heated, cooled, and switched into a massage mode.
Rear-seat riders want for little, either, especially with the available captain’s chairs. Head and leg room will please just about any rider. Row two slides rearward for access to a third row that can handle adults for shorter stints. The long-wheelbase version sees even more leg room back here.
The smaller Navigator can lug 21 cubic feet of cargo behind row three – more than some SUVs can handle behind their second rows. Cargo space maxes out at 103 cubes in short-wheelbase configuration, or 120 cubes in the biggest version.
The 450-hp twin-turbocharged V-6 under the Navigator’s big hood delivers spirited performance for such a large SUV. It’s helped out immensely by the 10-speed automatic transmission, which is perfectly tuned here for quick downshifts when needed.
The Navigator can lug nearly 9,000 pounds when properly equipped, and it does so with confidence. Optional all-wheel drive unlocks various drive modes for winter or mucky conditions, which can come in handy since the big wheels on these SUVs might be wrapped in less-than-rugged tires.
With a fully independent suspension and adaptive dampers, the Navigator rides quite well. Its nearly 6,000-pound curb weight smothers even the biggest bumps. While not exactly a sporty choice, it boasts responsive, predictable moves on a winding road, too.
Balancing understated styling with over-the-top luxury, the Lincoln Navigator is the best it has ever been. Don’t buy a big luxury SUV without adding this one to your shopping list.
–by Andrew Ganz, with driving impressions from The Car Connection