There’s something to be said for buying a vehicle that gets you there in style. In this case, it’s an SUV and a big one – the 2022 Lincoln Navigator. This three-row SUV has seating for up to eight people, room for all their cargo, and a high tow rating. It also boasts a luxurious interior with available laser-etched wood trims and massaging front and second-row seats.
While not all-new this year, the Navigator sports a refresh that gives it updated styling and new features. These include ActiveGlide hands-free driver assistance, improved connectivity, and upgraded interior features. And since this is a Lincoln, it has a healthy dose of refinement that coddles passengers with luxurious materials and a smooth ride. We had the opportunity to drive the Navigator on the roads outside Phoenix, Arizona to experience all this luxury SUV has to offer.
Design That Demands Attention
An SUV that’s big enough to hold eight people is never going to look small, but the Lincoln Navigator looks massive. Its revised front end includes a larger grille that makes a heck of a first impression. It’s really all you see at first, joined by new adaptive pixel projector headlamps on either side to balance out all that chrome. If you need to be noticed and crave attention, then this is the SUV for you.
The back of the Navigator is no less impressive. Its squared-off design features new 3D taillamps with a light bar spanning the width of the tailgate. There’s some eye-catching animation there, too. The lights illuminate from the center outward as you approach and from the edges back to the center as you walk away. It’s a small detail, but little things like this make the luxury SUV stand out.
If you need to be noticed and crave attention, then this is the SUV for you.
The Navigator’s grand dimensions make a strong statement, but there are drawbacks. This is not a city-friendly vehicle, unless you’re just riding in the second row while someone else tries to make their way through traffic. It’s also not especially easy to park, which again makes it tough in cities where parking spaces tend to be smaller. It’s the kind of vehicle that has you circling the block to find a spot that’s a little larger rather than risk scraping a bumper.
Making parking easier are standard front and rear parking sensors. There’s also Active Park Assist 2.0, which has automatic parallel and perpendicular parking that does the steering while you control brake and throttle. This system is also upgraded this year with Park Out Assist, which adds side-sensing. If someone parks too close to your Navigator, then it helps ensure you don’t swap paint with your neighbor when you drive away.
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An Abundance of New and Upgraded Tech
Standard safety features, which already included forward collision warning, pedestrian detection, and post collision braking, expand to include intersection assist. This feature alerts the driver and applies the brakes if a left turn is attempted too close to oncoming traffic.
The Navigator also marks the debut of ActiveGlide hands-free driver assistance, which is Lincoln’s version of Ford’s BlueCruise. It covers over 130,000 miles of roads in North America that Lincoln refers to as Blue Zones. When the system’s camera and radar are active and ready, the instrument cluster and head-up display both illuminate with a blue light and the driver can then go handsfree.
It’s important to note that this is hands-free, not driver-free, so don’t break out your phone to answer a quick email. If you do, then a driver-facing camera that monitors your eyes will remind you to pay attention to the road. While you do still need to pay attention, ActiveGlide does relieve the fatigue of long-distance driving with a minimal learning curve before you get quite comfortable letting it do its thing.
It does an admirable job of keeping you in your lane, cruising at your pre-selected speed, and driving like a human with no weirdly timed acceleration inputs as traffic ebbs and flows. It also handles curves well, but there were a few we encountered on our highway drive route back to Scottsdale, Arizona where the system asked us to take the wheel. It’d be nice if ActiveGlide could manage more of those swooping turns unassisted, but at least the system warned us well before thinking it would leave the road.
Infotainment also gets attention in the new Navigator, with twice the computing power for the Sync 4 infotainment system and its own unique look called Constellation. There’s enhanced natural language voice recognition, a larger 13.2-inch touchscreen, and a new 5.8-inch screen for those sitting in the second row to control their own climate and audio. It has all the expected bits including wireless Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and Amazon Alexa in a system already loaded more features than most people will ever use.
Sync 4 is easy enough to figure out with straightforward menus, the ability to customize your screen, and wireless updates via Lincoln Enhance. Those updates will include everything from new features to performance improvements to help reduce the need for maintenance visits.
Passenger Comfort Is A Priority
If you’re expecting a luxurious interior with rich materials, comfortable seats, and a smooth quiet ride, then you will not be disappointed. The Lincoln Navigator delivers a true luxury car experience with a long list of standard features including real wood trims, premium synthetic leather seating surfaces, illuminated scuff plates, and a heated leather and wood steering wheel. There are also 10-way power adjustable front seats with heating and ventilation for the first two rows. The Navigator remains spacious, comfortable, and over-the-top, in keeping with its luxury car status.
This year, there are two new Black Label interior themes. Central Park offers open-pore dark walnut that extends along the instrument panel with a laser-etched design of its famous namesake. You can also choose Invitation, which has a dual laser-etched open-pore Khaya wood. They’re eye-catching, but with the prevalence of wood accents on most luxury vehicles, these two new themes are nice additions but not otherwise remarkable.
While the look and feel of the standard materials are top-notch, we love the available 30-way Perfect Position Seats for those up front. The massage system keeps your whole body comfy and relaxed on even the longest drives. Combined with standard adjustable foot pedals for the driver, it’s easy to find an ideal seating position whether you tower over the 6-foot mark or barely make it to five. Those in the second and third row still have the same high-quality materials and ample room to spread out, but only the second-row passengers get the option for massage.
Adding to the experience is an available Revel Ultima 3D audio system,which offers 28 well-placed speakers throughout the vehicle. Each is in the perfect spot to provide every passenger with rich sound quality. It even plays a six-chime alert that was recorded by the Detroit Symphony Orchestra for things like unbuckled seatbelts or an open door. Your car doesn’t have symphony alert chimes? How gauche.
Refined Yet Capable
The Navigator is not small, so Lincoln gave it a beefy 3.5-liter twin-turbo V6 with 440 horsepower and 510 pound-feet of torque paired to a 10-speed automatic transmission. It also offers a choice of rear-wheel or four-wheel drive across the lineup. It has no trouble getting the Navigator up to speed with plenty of power left over for highway passing. The Navigator also features a maximum tow rating of up to 8,700 pounds and new Trailer Reverse Guidance as a part of the Heavy-Duty Trailer Tow Package. The powertrain in the Navigator is aggressive and capable, but not at all harsh. It delivers the same refinement as the interior.
That refinement extends to the ride itself. An adaptive air suspension with road preview, which uses 12 sensors to scan the road 500 times per second, helps hide the roughness of imperfect roads by monitoring the way the Navigator moves along with steering, acceleration, and braking.
We spent our drive time cruising around Scottsdale, Arizona, which isn’t exactly an area known for having rough roads. They didn’t provide much of a test for the Navigator, but it was a very controlled and soft ride conducive to passenger comfort. The few areas where the road wasn’t perfectly smooth were easily managed with the Navigator’s almost floaty ride keeping passengers blissfully unaware. We’d like to take this out on what currently passes for roads back home in the northeast to really put it to the test where cracked pavement and potholes that swallow tires are the norm.
A Choice of Luxurious Trims
No matter which trim you choose, the Navigator comes loaded with luxury features and luxurious price tag to match. The base Standard model starts at $76,710 while the Reserve comes in at $87,045 and has the option for a long wheelbase. At the top of the lineup is the uber-luxurious Black Label at $102,980. It not only offers more premium features, it also has exclusive interior design themes and member services not available on the two base trims.
That’s not exactly affordable pricing, but it’s in line with the segment. The Cadillac Escalade has roughly the same pricing spread for its lineup. The Jeep Grand Wagoneer starts at about $10,000 more, but also has better off-road capability and matches up on pricing in its top trims.
The 2022 Lincoln Navigator is pricey, but it’s also an impressive luxury SUV. On our day spent driving through winding desert roads in Arizona, it proved a worthy highway cruiser. Whether packed full with the kids or friends for a night out on the town, it delivers on the promise of luxury with beautifully appointed interiors, advanced driver assistance technologies, and a smooth powerful ride.