Lincoln Motor Company’s huge Navigator returns in the 2022 model year with a mid-cycle refresh based upon a fourth-generation effort introduced back in the 2018 model year. This generational spin continues forward with of an impressive twin-turbo-powered V-6 delivering commendable horsepower results while boosting fuel economy.
Navigator introduced the benefits of twin-turbo technology during its third-generation effort (2007-2017), playing ahead of the industry curve by showcasing a well-executed ‘turbo-boost’ V-6 can play in the same park as aging V-8s.
The Navigator rates as the largest of four crossovers/SUVs Lincoln offers in 2022 joining the Corsair, Nautilus and Aviator. Of the four, Navigator offers superior towing capabilities and adventuresome off-road chops. No sedans, coupes or conventional convertibles grace the 2022 lineup as the Lincoln Motor Company goes all in with exclusive five-door body styles.
While big and built-for-business, Navigator also offers a softer side thanks in part to independent rear suspension taking most of the bounce out of the ride. Navigator compares favorably with rivals (the redesigned-for-2022 Lexus LX 600, Cadillac Escalade) with competitive fuel numbers (up to 23 mpg highway), excellent cargo-carrying data and expansive capacity for humans.
Maneuvering a 6,000-pound piece of machinery around town takes a steady hand behind the wheel and a dependable braking system under foot. Lincoln welcomes aboard in 2022 new electronic brake boosters improving pedal feel and modulation. Indeed, for a girth this size the brakes didn’t grab, bringing Navigator to a tamed halt when requested. Steering is of the low-effort variety thanks to electric power steering assist. Upgraded for 2022, active suspension utilizing sensors scanning and pre-prepping for road impairments.
Navigator offers a choice of rear-wheel drive and all-wheel drive. As if it weren’t already BIG enough, an extended ‘L” version adds 12 additional inches of length and a larger 27-gallon fuel tank (in place of a still-impressive 23-gallon variety). Of note also, the turbo-boost engine enjoys regular, 87-octane fuel fed through a capless refuel design. A recently tested Lexus LX 600 demanded 93-octane premium. As of 2022, no gas-electric hybrid, plug-in hybrid or all-electric propulsion opportunities exist for Navigator.
A simplistic three trim variety pack includes Standard, Reserve and Black Label with Reserve and Black Label available in extended L editions. All Navigators share familiar underpinnings with Ford’s long-running, three-row Expedition; both enjoy body-on-frame truck-like underpinnings and all-aluminum exterior sheet metal reducing weight. That’s where similarities end as Navigator’s interior upgrades and unique features establish two distinct choices.
Black Label trims include one of four interior theme choices: Chalet, Invitation, Yacht Club and Central Park with Invitation and Central Park new for 2022.
The sole 3.5-liter twin-turbo V-6 engine connects with a 10-speed automatic transmission. Standard is start/stop technology, a fuel-saving effort automatically quieting the engine at prolonged stops. This current version provides a non-evasive nature. A decade earlier, these systems created quite a racket at each stop. Now it's seamless. Navigator tows up to 8,700 pounds thanks to 510 lbs.-feet of low-end torque, topping rivals.
Our Black Label 4 x 4 standard-length tester checked in at $102,980 and included an Invitation theme interior equipment group ($1,750), second row massaging captain’s chairs ($625) and a $1,695 destination charge for a $107,050 bottom line. Pricing starts at $76,710 for a rear-drive Standard.
The invitation theme sets itself apart with Khaya wood-type appliques, a leather-wrapped interior featuring black onyx and brandy stitching and an ebony suede cloth headliner. Expect high-quality, soft touch materials no matter the trim selected. Even A-pillar grab handles conform with a softer, rope-like feel and structure rather than a hard plastic sensation. At night these get illuminated for an easier find.
Navigator offers the flexibility of 7 or 8 riders depending upon family needs. The standard three-person third row includes backrests power folding into the floor (when unoccupied) opening up additional cargo capacity. Row two comes with the choice of a bench-style accommodating three riders or an optional pair of captain’s chairs.
For those venturing into the third row, Navigator enjoys at least one inch more legroom than the closest three row luxury crossover. An inch doesn’t sound big, but in the confined spaces of the way back, every additional metric counts.
My aging six-foot two-inch frame ventured into the back row, a comparably roomy corner with ample head and acceptable leg room for taller-statured adults. Conveniently, both second-row captain’s chairs manually tilt forward when up-flipping a tab atop the backrest helping the journey into row three.
Both third row and second row seat backs power fold forward from the cargo area. Once the power rear hatch lifts up (with gobs of head clearance) a left-side panel sports clearly marked vertically arranged push controls that power fold row three backrests into the floor, and row two captain’s chair backs onto cushions. Third row seats also power up from this vantage, although middle-row captain’s chair seatbacks must be raised manually.
New exterior upgrades in the 2022 refresh include a slightly larger front grille contrasting with slimmer headlight housing. Lincoln’s long, oval-cross logo remains front and center (with nighttime illumination). A honeycomb fill dances along with a cadre smaller chrome-like gem ovals creating an elegant waterfall appearance.
Outback, rear taillights incorporate a three-dimensional, wrap-around effect. Power-operated lower side running boards fold down when side doors open, assisting with the first big step inside. When doors slam shut, boards fold up flush-mounted against the sides. Minimal ground clearance measures in at a high 9.7 inches (9.6 in 4x4 models); a good excuse for the running boards.
Chrome lipping underscores side windows with a long straight side character line connecting up wrap-around taillight housing with headlight housing a front.
Drivers get treated to a sizeable, 12-inch configurable animated instrument cluster with cosmic graphics choreographed in time with a center screen once pushing the electronic start button sitting atop a convenient shelf-like lip. This positionings allows for a direct find with minimal interference from the power-motivated steering column.
The huge infotainment touch screen boasts Lincoln’s version of Ford Motor Company’s Sync 4 System employing twice the computing power to swiftly integrate Smartphones and their apps into the center screen working in tandem with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto. Swiping functions allow quick screen changes. Interior ambient lighting color selection and other settings order up through this user-friendly design.
The touch-sensitive screen broadcasts in a 13.2-inch format, up from a mere 10 inches in 2022 with enhanced finger swiping capabilities. Separate volume and station select twist dials below greatly aid in the process as does a stand along on/off button. Wireless Apple CarPlay and wireless Android Auto phone connections now come standard.
The flat screen jets up from mid-dash, atop two side-by-side horizontal air vents where it then towers above the dash top. Below the center vents reside HVAC controls situated at a convenient 45-degree angle, serving as a bridge between the center column and cup holder region between bucket seats. A twist dial monitors fan speed, two push tabs control temperature up and down while fan direction motivates from within the touch screen.
The electronic transmission takes an illuminated, push-button form with a row of side-by-side lettered tabs (P, R, N, D) in the center dash region below the screen and vents. Power adjustable seating up front includes push-slide control tabs found on the side doors directly above power window controls rather than seat cushion sides, an easier reach for most folks.
Another technological 2022 debut includes ‘ActiveGuide,’ Lincoln’s answer to a better world through hands-free driving technology; a convenience for skilled driver while on the open highway, not a replacement for their much-required human interactions.
Navigator historically includes a bevy of standard safety features, which continues strong in 2022 including a piece new to Lincoln portfolio in the form of ‘Intersection Assist.’ Through the magic of radar sensors, this detects impending collisions of oncoming traffic during problematic left turns, warning the driver while instantly applying the brakes. 2022 Lincoln Navigator
Price as tested: $107,050
Engine: 3.5-liter twin turbo V-6
Overall Length: 210 inches
Wheelbase: 122.5 inches
Overall Height: 76.3 inches
Overall Width: 79.9 inches
Fuel Economy: mpg 16 city, 22 mpg highway
Powertrain Warranty: Six years/70,000 miles
Curb weight: 5,855 pounds