by Morgan Carter
Reinvigorated in 2018, the Lincoln Navigator is the brand's most opulent SUV, with irresistible curb appeal and more standard features than the average person would know what to do with. However, this isn't a car for the average person. With a starting MSRP of $76,185, the Navigator is aimed at those who appreciate the finer things in life, and it certainly delivers on that promise. Powered by a twin-turbocharged V6 engine putting out 450 horsepower and 510 lb-ft of torque, the Navigator has more than enough vim to excite even the most complacent drivers, and it has all the latest gadgets to keep the biggest tech-heads happy over otherwise boring commutes. With space for up to eight passengers and enough cargo capacity for everyday use, the Lincoln Navigator has more than reclaimed its title as America's most luxurious large SUV.
A number of notable changes have been made to the Lincoln Navigator for 2020. Chief among these is the expanded Lincoln Co-Pilot360 safety suite, which comes standard on every model. These driver-assistance features include rear cross-traffic alert, blind-spot monitoring, lane keep assist, and forward collision avoidance. An adaptive suspension and power-operated running boards are also standard across the range, along with heated and ventilated front seats, and smartphone integration with the Sync 3 infotainment suite. There has also been some shuffling of paint colors in the Navigator's palette, with Pristine White, Silver Radiance, and Red Carpet replacing White Platinum, Ingot Silver, and Ruby Red. Bespoke exterior styling can be accessed via the new Monochromatic Package for the Reserve trim.
3.5-liter Twin-Turbo V6 Gas
3.5-liter Twin-Turbo V6 Gas
3.5-liter Twin-Turbo V6 Gas
The Lincoln Navigator is certainly a handsome vehicle, despite its gargantuan size. It's large and chunky, but there are enough stylish curves and plenty of chrome to make the SUV stand out. The Standard rides on 20-inch Ultra Bright machined alloy wheels and comes outfitted with a full array of LED exterior lights, including headlights, taillights, daytime running lights, and fog lights. It also gets bright roof rails, chrome-tipped dual exhausts, and a satin chrome mesh grille with chrome surround. The Reserve upgrades to 22-inch wheels and adds a panoramic vista roof, while the Black Label gets an illuminated Lincoln star in the grille.
Any way you look at it, the Lincoln Navigator is a beast of an SUV. The standard-length Navigator gets a 122.5-inch wheelbase with an overall length of 210 inches. It has a minimum ground clearance of 9.6 inches and stands 76.3 inches tall, lower by 0.1 inches on the all-wheel-drive variant. But, even with its mirrors folded down, the SUV struggles to fit into most parking bays, measuring 83.6 inches wide. Although the Navigator has a decent amount of ground clearance, approach/breakover/departure angles are 22.2/21.1/21.9 degrees on AWD models. The lightest version of the Lincoln weighs in at 5,661 pounds, while the heaviest tips the scales at 5,884 lbs.
A fair number of paint colors are available to the Lincoln Navigator, with the entry-level model getting access to Infinite Black, Blue Diamond, Silver Radiance, and Silver Jade as standard options. There are several $695 premium paints, too, including Burgundy Velvet, Iced Mocha, Pristine White, Red Carpet, and Ceramic Pearl, while the Reserve trim adds Rhapsody Blue. The Black Label gets most of the premium palette for free, with standard color choices comprising Infinite Black, Burgundy Velvet, Rhapsody Blue, Pristine White, and Silver Radiance. However, it does get its own premium palette of Chroma paints for $1,750, including Crystal Blue and Molten Gold.
Lincoln's large three-row SUV can keep up with the best of them thanks to its potent twin-turbocharged V6 engine, which develops 450 hp and 510 lb-ft for your choice of the rear wheels or all four. Unfortunately, there are no manufacturer-approved acceleration figures for this powerful engine, but testers claim it can launch the gargantuan SUV to 60 mph from a standstill in around six seconds. And it will certainly guzzle your gas when pushed to perform. The ten-speed automatic transmission isn't really made for sprinting around town, as it can display some confusion when selecting lower gear ratios.
In its standard rear-wheel-drive guise, the Lincoln can tow a respectable 8,700 lbs when properly equipped. This drops to 8,300 lbs with the four-wheel drivetrain, but the 4WD gets a two-speed transfer case and slow climb drive mode for hauling loads up steeper inclines.
Only one engine is available to the Lincoln Navigator, but what an engine it is! The 3.5-liter V6 comes standard with twin turbochargers, developing an impressive 450 hp and 510 lb-ft. With so much power, the almost three-ton SUV moves with a surprising amount of quickness. Getting around town requires almost no effort, so you may not get to spend as much quality time inside the luxurious cabin as you may like. Similarly, passing on the highway requires only minimal effort.
The engine comes mated to a capable ten-speed automatic gearbox. It isn't quite as refined as we'd like to see on a vehicle in this price bracket, with some clunky low-end shifts, but once on the move, it regulates the power outputs quite well. The SUV comes standard with rear-wheel-drive, except on the Black Label. The top-tier trim gets the optional four-wheel drivetrain as standard.
Despite its enormous size and immense bulk, the Navigator handles remarkably well. This can, in part, be attributed to its independent adaptive suspension. Very few bumps can actually unsettle the hefty SUV, and it will ignore even those if you opt for the available air suspension. Multiple drive modes are offered to tweak your experience to the conditions, with modes like Slippery, Excite, Conserve, Deep Conditions, and Normal.
Steering is as light as you'd expect from a luxury SUV, making the Navigator feel smaller and nimbler than it actually is. However, don't expect much feedback. Still, the Lincoln can handle some spirited driving, so long as you keep your wits about you. Even when moving at higher speeds, the large SUV doesn't experience much body roll - just don't treat it like a sports car.
Comfort is where the Navigator excels. With a plushly appointed interior, an adaptive suspension, and a well-insulated cabin, you wouldn't be blamed for thinking that you weren't even moving when hurtling down the highway at maximum speed. However, constant undulations in the road can cause some motion sickness.
Large SUVs aren't known for their impressive mileage figures, and the Navigator is certainly just as thirsty as its rivals. In the standard rear-wheel-drive configuration, the Lincoln gets an EPA-estimated 16/22/19 mpg across the city/highway/combined cycles, which drops by around one mpg in all-wheel-drive guise, to 16/21/18 mpg. This is slightly better than the similarly powered and appointed Cadillac Escalade, which gets 14/23/17 mpg. The Navigator is also quite a bit cheaper to run, since it relies on regular gasoline where the Caddy needs premium gas. With a 23.2-gallon tank, the Lincoln SUV can only cover up to 441 miles in its more efficient guise, so while gas mileage figures aren't the best, you can manage an extensive trip before needing to fill up, at least.
The interior of Lincoln's large luxury SUV is all about seating the most number of passengers in the greatest amount of comfort. There is space to spare in the first two rows of seats, with enough room to fit small adults or teens in the third row without fuss. Premium materials cover every surface, with the top-tier Black Label getting Venetian leather and wood accents. Heated seats come standard, along with tri-zone climate control, and the infotainment suite offers something for everyone - including smartphone integration and Wi-Fi access. With so many features as standard, the controls can take some getting used to, but they are laid out for easy access, and the touchscreen interface is quite intuitive. There may be more luxurious SUVs out there, but the Navigator has style, space, and standard features to spare.
While the Navigator only seats seven in its standard configuration, it can conceivably seat up to eight. This is because luxurious second-row captain's chairs are the standard fare, while buyers who really need the extra seating can install a second-row bench, instead. With the seats in standard positions, there is plenty of head- and legroom for those in the first two rows of seats. The rear-most seats lose quite a few inches of each, but they can actually accommodate smaller adults quite easily.
The Standard trim gets climate-controlled ten-way power comfort front seats and heated second-row seats, while the Reserve upgrades to 24-way power Perfect Position seats with thigh extenders and the second-row passengers get their own center console. The top-tier Black Label trim gets 30-way power front seats with massage functions, too.
Getting in and out of the SUV is easy enough, thanks to well-positioned grab handles and power-deployable step rails. Accessing the third-row seats is easiest on the Standard trim since it gets a pass-through instead of a second-row console. However, the second-row seats tilt and slide on every trim.
While the materials inside the Lincoln aren't quite as plush as you might find in a premium German brand, they certainly aren't low quality. The Standard and Reserve trims get premium leather upholstery, in either Ebony or Cappuccino on the former, with Dark Slate and Ebony/Russet added to the latter's palette. To get the super-upscale Venetian leather, you'll need to upgrade to the Black Label trim. Depending on the interior theme you opt for, the leather is offered in Alpine/Espresso, Mahogany Red, or Blue Bay/Sand, but certain color schemes are linked to exterior paints, so you'll need to consider this carefully. The Black Label also gets genuine wood trimming and a suede cloth headliner. The cabin is well-built at any trim level, with almost no hard plastics on display.
Considering its enormous dimensions, it's no surprise that the Navigator provides a pretty decent amount of cargo space. Yes, it's a three-row SUV, so the standard 19.3 cubic feet of trunk space doesn't seem overly impressive. But fold down the rear-most seats, and the Lincoln supplies 57.5 cubic feet, handily beating most two-row rivals. With all the rear seats folded down for maximum cargo capacity, the luxury SUV offers 103.3 cubic feet of space. Even with the third row of seats upright, there is enough trunk space for most daily requirements such as grocery shopping or carting the kids off to soccer practice. And with the third row folded down, you could easily pack luggage for five for a weekend away from home.
There's a fair amount of small-item storage space around the cabin, with those up front naturally getting the most. Front passengers get access to the standard glove compartment as well as the center console cubby. There are also two cupholders positioned on top of the console. Below the console, there is a wide storage tray. Unfortunately, the door pockets aren't overly spacious. Second-row passengers get their own console in the Reserve and Black Label trims, equipped with cupholders and a storage bin. Passengers in the rear-most seats only get a pair of cupholders.
The Navigator is certainly a well-appointed luxury SUV, with an almost absurd list of standard features. The interior is upholstered in premium leather, with ten-way power comfort front seats. The front seats offer both heating and ventilation, while the rear seats are heated only. Tri-zone climate control, cruise control, smart keyless access, push-button start with remote engine start, four 12-volt power outlets, and a 110-volt outlet all come standard. The Lincoln Co-Pilot360 safety suite comprises blind-spot detection, lane keeping assist, rear cross-traffic alert, front and rear sensors, forward collision avoidance, and enhanced active parking assist, along with a rearview camera. The Reserve upgrades the front seats to 24-way Perfect Position seats with thigh extenders and installs a panoramic vista roof. It also upgrades to adaptive cruise control and adds a surround-view camera. The Black Label gets a high-tech head-up display and the most luxurious 30-way power front seats with massage functions.
A ten-inch Sync 3 LCD touchscreen grants easy access to the comprehensive infotainment suite. Standard listening options include AM/FM Radio, HD Radio, and SiriusXM, all channeled through the 14-speaker Revel sound system. You can customize your playlist using the Bluetooth audio streaming, Apple CarPlay, or Android Auto. A total of four USB ports are available to charge your devices, and occupants up front get a wireless charging pad, too. Everyone in the car can also connect to the 4G Wi-Fi hotspot. The infotainment suite comes programmed with voice-activated navigation as standard. For even more pristine audio quality, you can upgrade to the 20-speaker Revel Ultima sound system found on the Black Label trims, or option it on to the Reserve as part of a combination of packages that cost a pretty penny. Upper trims can install a rear-seat entertainment system, too.
J.D. Power awards the large luxury SUV a respectable dependability rating of 84 out 100. This is backed up by the vehicle's recall track record. It may have seen four recalls in its debut year of 2018, but only two were issued in 2019. Reasons for these recalls include the instrument cluster going blank upon start-up, and the possibility that the rear toe link fasteners may be loose. Lincoln offers a decent warranty plan for new purchases of the Navigator. The bumper-to-bumper warranty and complimentary maintenance plan are valid for 50,000 miles/48 months, while the powertrain warranty and roadside assistance plan are covered for 70,000 miles/72 months.
The Navigator scores extremely well by the NHTSA's standards, getting an overall rating of five stars. Only the rollover crash test mars the otherwise perfect score, getting four stars out of five. The IIHS, on the other hand, has not rated the large SUV for crash-test safety.
There is no shortage of safety features on the Navigator. Every model comes equipped with ABS, stability and traction control, crosswind assist, and eight standard airbags: dual front, front side, rear side, and side curtain. The Lincoln Co-Pilot360 safety suite also comes standard on each of the trims, comprising lane keeping assist, forward collision avoidance, forward and reverse sensing, blind-spot detection, rear cross-traffic alert, automatic high beam assist, and enhanced active park assist. The Reserve and Black Label models also get a surround-view camera, and inflatable rear seatbelts can be optioned on for Reserve and Black Label models, too.
It's hard to imagine that any vehicle with an $80k price tag could ever be considered "bad," so it's no surprise that we think the Lincoln Navigator is a pretty impressive SUV.
Despite its size, it has more than enough power to get around thanks to its twin-turbocharged V6, where rivals like the Cadillac Escalade are still relying on throatier V8s. But all that size also means the Navigator can easily cart the whole family, the grandparents, and the dog around without breaking a sweat. And if you're only planning to pack a family of five into the first two rows of seats, the SUV supplies an abundance of cargo capacity with the third-row seats folded down.
Add to this the impressive list of standard features, including a host of driver-assistance features under the umbrella of the Lincoln Co-Pilot360 suite, and Lincoln definitely has a recipe for success on its hands. The Cadillac Escalade has long held the throne as America's most ostentatious large luxury SUV, but since its redesign in 2018, the Lincoln Navigator has managed to reclaim the title. But while it may be king, for now, we'll have to wait and see if the Navigator can stand up to the Caddy Escalade's redesign for 2021.
You'd be hard-pressed to find a giant luxury SUV with a modest price tag, and the Lincoln Navigator doesn't stand out in this regard. The Standard trim with rear-wheel-drive will set you back a hefty $76,185, while adding four-wheel-drive increases the price by $2,670. The Reserve trim is a moderate step up in base price, with a starting MSRP of $81,725, which increases by $2,675 if you want the all-wheel drivetrain. The top-tier Black Label comes standard with four-wheel-drive and asks for a whopping $97,135 to get your hands on all the high-end luxuries that come standard. These prices exclude tax, registration, licensing, incentives, or the $1,295 destination charge.
The standard-length Lincoln Navigator is offered in three trim levels: Standard, Reserve, and Black Label. Under the hood of each model is a 3.5-liter twin-turbo V6 developing 450 hp and 510 lb-ft. The gears are rowed by a ten-speed automatic transmission, with power directed to the rear wheels, except on the Black Label, which gets the optional all-wheel drivetrain as standard. The four-wheel- drivetrain also gets a two-speed transfer case.
The entry-level Standard trim rides on 20-inch machined alloy wheels and comes equipped with LED headlights, taillights, daytime running lights, and fog lights, as well as a hands-free liftgate. The seats come appointed in leather, with heated and ventilated ten-way power front seats, and heated rear seats. A ten-inch LCD touchscreen grants access to Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, navigation, and a 4G Wi-Fi hotspot, while Lincoln Co-Pilot360 comes standard, including blind-spot detection, rear cross-traffic alert, and forward collision avoidance.
The Reserve trim installs a panoramic vista roof and illuminated power-deployable running boards. It also upgrades the front seats to 24-way power front seats and cruise control to adaptive cruise control. The Black Label gets Venetian leather upholstery, 30-way power front seats, and a head-up display. It also comes standard with the Heavy-duty Trailer Tow Package and upgrades the standard 14-speaker Revel sound system to a 20-speaker Revel Ultima set-up.
The Navigator comes extremely well-equipped even in its Standard guise, so it's not that unusual that the trim doesn't offer many customization options. It can add adaptive cruise control for $695 or second-row bench seats for free. The Reserve trim is a bit more adaptable, with the Luxury Package ($2,500) adding 30-way power front seats and a 20-speaker Revel Ultima sound system, but requires you to opt on the Reserve I package as well. The Reserve I is a variation of the Reserve trim, which costs $1,500 more while adding a head-up display and the illuminated grille logo. The Reserve I and Black Label can add a dual-screen rear entertainment system for $2,000. While standard on the Black Label, the Heavy-duty Trailer Tow Package ($1,900) can be specced onto the Reserve to equip it with a Class IV hitch receiver with four- and seven-pin connectors, electric traction assist, smart trailer tow, trailer sway control, pro-trailer backup assist, and a two-speed transfer case.
There is no such thing as a cheap Navigator, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't be looking to get your money's worth. The Black Label is certainly the most prestigious trim, for those that can afford it. However, the standard four-wheel drivetrain is an unnecessary expense if you don't plan on leaving the city, and the upgraded sound system can be specced onto the mid-tier Reserve at significantly less cost than upgrading trims. You will miss out on the Venetian leather upholstery and front-seat massagers by sticking with the more affordable Reserve, but you still get the full Co-Pilot360 safety suite, heated and ventilated front seats, and extra adjustments for the front seats, including thigh extenders, and the 30-way power front seats will be included if you choose to upgrade the sound system.
Only slightly smaller than the Navigator, the Lincoln Aviator can seat six as standard with its second-row captain's chairs. However, while the Aviator nameplate may have been retired in the past, the 2020 Aviator is an all-new SUV, so it's slightly more up-to-date than the Navigator. It also gets access to an impressive 28-speaker Revel Ultima 3D sound system, along with all the other standard features you'll find in the Navigator, including the full Lincoln Co-Pilot360 safety offering. While the Aviator may not have as much space inside the cabin, it is just as lavishly appointed. And, by keeping occupancy down to six, it actually supplies just as much comfort for its passengers. The only area where it really comes up short is cargo capacity, with a standard 18.3 cubic feet of trunk space that maxes out at 77.7 cubic feet, almost 30 cubes less than the Navigator. Still, with a starting price of $51,100, better fuel economy, and nearly as much luxury as the larger Navigator, the Lincoln Aviator may be the smarter buy if you don't really need the extra seating or cargo space. It's also available with an eminently capable hybrid powertrain with 494 hp and 630 lb-ft.
The Cadillac Escalade has been cock of the roost for quite some time, having surpassed the Navigator as the go-to when it comes to American large luxury SUVs. However, since its redesign in 2018, the Lincoln Navigator has reclaimed some of its lost prestige. The Escalade can't quite match the Lincoln's performance, relying on a naturally aspirated V8 that develops only 420 hp and 460 lb-ft. It also gets worse fuel economy and relies on premium gasoline. Add to this the fact that the Navigator has even more space inside than the Caddy, and you might be seeing a pattern arise. Still, the Escalade will appeal to those who want to make a bolder statement, thanks to its over-the-top styling. But, for buyers who actually want the best value for the hard-earned cash, the Navigator is the slightly better, absurdly expensive SUV. However, with a full redesign planned for 2021, it may be worthwhile to wait and see what the new Cadillac Escalade will be bringing to the table.
Check out some informative Lincoln Navigator video reviews below.