If you want the biggest and best that a 3-row luxury SUV has to offer, the Lincoln Navigator L is hard to beat. Despite being plagued by a less-than-compliant ride thanks to blingy 22-inch wheels, the Navigator L is still a symbol of luxury and power that cossets its occupants in comfort. Of course, rivals like the Cadillac Escalade ESV and the upcoming Jeep Wagoneer L represent the same thing. Both are newer than the Lincoln. Tri-zone climate control, a panoramic roof, and heated and ventilated front seats are among the highlights of the Navigator L. One engine and transmission option is available: a 3.5-liter twin-turbocharged V6 paired with a ten-speed automatic. Outputs are rated at 440 horsepower with 510 lb-ft of torque. Rear-wheel drive is standard while a 4x4 option is available, but the main drawcard of the Navigator L is space: not only is it a comfortable 8-seater vehicle, but it boasts impressive cargo capacity, thanks to its long-wheelbase format.
To stay competitive with newer Jeep and Cadillac rivals, the Navigator L arrives with many updates for the 2022 model year. It boasts sharper looks courtesy of a revised signature grille, new adaptive pixel projector headlights, and updated 3D taillights.
Along with the smaller Navigator which we review separately, the 2022 Navigator L becomes the first Lincoln to come with ActiveGlide. Described as an evolution of adaptive cruise control and associated driver assists, ActiveGlide enables convenient hands-free driving on compatible highways across North America. There are more tech upgrades such as the latest Sync 4 infotainment system with twice the computing power and wireless smartphone connectivity. Sync 4 is now accessed via a larger 13.2-inch center screen. A revised head-up display and a new 5.8-inch digital module for second-row passengers form part of the updates too.
As ever, Lincoln has focused on luxury. Two new Black Label themes - Central Park and Invitation - can be chosen to customize the interior. The latter features industry-first dual laser-etching and open-pore Khaya wood. For a smoother ride, an adaptive suspension with road preview uses 12 sensors and a forward-facing camera to monitor the road ahead and make adjustments. Intersection assist and active park assist 2.0 are new safety features.
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A large and boxy vehicle, the Navigator nevertheless exudes a sense of luxury, with massive 22-inch wheels, a large chrome grille, and LED lighting at the front and rear. A dual-exit exhaust also features, while a subtle spoiler complements the roof rails. A large panoramic vista roof is also standard on these long-wheelbase models. The blacked-out Monochromatic Package optionally available makes the imposing SUV appear particularly menacing.
As a long-wheelbase model, the distance between the front and rear hubs increases. On the regular Navigator, key dimensions include a 122.5-inch wheelbase, but here it's 131.6. The overall length is 221.9 inches, with height varying slightly depending on your preferred drivetrain. Rear-wheel-drive models are 76.2 inches tall while 4WDs are 76.1 inches high. With the mirrors folded, width is 83.6 inches, and a massive 93.8 with them deployed. The heaviest model is the 4x4 version which crushes the scales at 6,056 pounds. Maximum ground clearance is 9.7 inches, with approach, departure, and breakover angles measuring 22.8, 20.7, and 20 degrees respectively in the case of RWD models.
The Navigator is only available with a single powertrain configuration, but it's a good one. The 440 hp 3.5-liter twin-turbo V6 sitting up front produces 510 lb-ft of torque, and despite the humongous curb weight, the Navigator L feels properly quick, with more than enough grunt to get you away from the line gracefully, although rapid 0-60 times are certainly not the aim here. The 10-speed SelectShift automatic is a transmission we've lauded in numerous Ford products for its intelligent gear selections and smooth shifts. In the Navigator L, it fails to disappoint. Shifts at cruising speeds are all but imperceptible - exactly what you want in a luxury SUV. Should you be unhappy with the shifts or desire more control, paddles allow you to shift the transmission yourself. When you need to tow extra items, the RWD model is capable of up to 8,400 lbs while the 4WD variants can manage up to 8,100 lbs. On 4WD models, a low-range transfer case helps get things rolling or helps you climb through tricky terrain.
Equipped with adaptive suspension as standard, one would expect the luxury-oriented Lincoln Navigator L to be absolutely phenomenal at smoothing over imperfections in the road. However, with 22-inch wheels fitted as standard on these long-wheelbase models, the ride is crashy, to say the least. Unfortunately, no smaller option is available from the factory. The adaptive suspension also doesn't pay dividends in the corners, as the steering, although light, still has to contend with a massive and bulky SUV. The result is vague accuracy and nothing that inspires enthusiastic driving. Of course, this is perfectly acceptable in a luxo-barge, but we'd prefer a little more feel to be sure of what the front wheels are doing. As expected, braking is not face-bending, but it offers sufficient stopping power and is easy to modulate. And, as a premium, luxury means of transporting the family, the Navigator L is certainly not aimed at off-road adventuring.
Despite turbocharging and the absence of a V8, the Navigator L is still quite a thirsty SUV. 4x2 models will return an EPA-rated 17/23/19 mpg city/highway/combined, dropping to 16/22/18 mpg for 4x4 variants. Fortunately, there is a large 27.8-gallon gas tank to make sure that you don't have to stop too often to refuel. Bearing this in mind, the 4x2 has a mixed cruising range of about 528 miles and the 4x4 will manage about 500 miles on a full tank.
The Navigator L can seat seven in its standard configuration, surrounding occupants in lavish leather and rich wood, which includes second-row captain's chairs and a third-row bench. The second row can be specced with either a pass-through or a console, but for an 8-passenger seating capacity, you can option in a bench. While the third row is slightly more spacious than in the regular Lincoln, six-footers still won't appreciate being bundled in there. Nevertheless, power-folding second and third rows do add some convenience for ingress and egress, and passengers in the second row and forward will appreciate generous legroom and headroom.
Traditionally, long-wheelbase SUVs add the extra interior space to the second and third rows, but in the case of the Navigator, it all gets added to the cargo bay. Here, you can have each row inhabited and still makes use of a decent cargo area. In the regular model, the volume behind the third row is limited to 19.3 cubic feet. In the Navigator L, that's vastly improved at 34.3 cubes. Press a button to fold the third row, and the volume behind the second row is increased from 57.5 in the short-wheelbase model to 73.3 in the long-wheelbase model. Maximum volume with the second and third-row seats folded is 120.2 cubic feet (103.3 cubes in the regular version).
In the cabin, each row offers cupholders and/or pocket storage for water bottles, with bins and hidden storage dotted about. In the front of the cabin, a pair of retractable covers hide spots for a pair of smartphones, while the traditional glovebox is large enough to store everyone's phones when a game of iSpy goes wrong.
Long-wheelbase versions of the Navigator are only available as two of the most luxurious trims and are therefore packed with features. Illuminated power-deployable running boards, a panoramic roof, tri-zone climate control, parking sensors front and rear, along with active park assist, and Active Noise Control are just some of the standard specs on the L. Also included are features like wireless charging, ambient lighting, a 360-degree camera, a 12-inch configurable driver display, keyless entry, four 12V sockets, power-folding second and third rows, and a heated steering wheel. It doesn't end there because you also get heated and ventilated front seats, a heated second row (even if you opt for the bench), remote start, auto wipers, adaptive LED headlights, keyless entry, power-adjustable pedals, and a hands-free liftgate.
Options include a head-up display, massaging seats with 30-way adjustment, trailer backup assist, and a Snow Climb mode with 4x4 models. Safety features include forward-collision assist with automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, and blind-spot monitoring with cross-traffic alert. ActiveGlide - enabling hands-free driving on compatible highways - is new this year. Adaptive suspension is also standard.
Lincoln has comprehensively upgraded the Navigator L's infotainment system this year. Gone is the previous Sync 3 system with a 10-inch touchscreen and in its place is Sync 4 with a larger 13.2-inch LCD touchscreen. This system has twice the computing power and uses cloud connectivity. It's packed with connectivity features like wireless Apple CarPlay/Android Auto, Amazon Alexa, a 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot, HD Radio, SiriusXM satellite radio, and navigation. The standard Reveal sound system has 14 speakers. On the Reserve L, you can upgrade to a phenomenal 28-speaker Revel Ultima 3D sound system. Other options include a 5.8-inch digital control module for second-row occupants and a rear-seat entertainment system.
The Black Label comes with the 28-speaker sound system as standard.
There are no reliability reviews for the Navigator L from J.D. Power, but the scores of the normal model can be used, because there are no differences between them except for body length. The normal Navigator has an overall J.D. Power score of 83 out of 100 and 84/100 for quality and reliability, although these figures apply to the 2020 model. The 2020 iteration was recalled three times for pre-collision assist that couldn't be enabled, a middle-row headrest that may be improperly welded, and windshield wipers that could fail. For 2021 models, damaged front door side impact sensors and faulty windshield wipers led to another two recalls, although it appears that these recalls only affected the standard-wheelbase model. At the time of writing, 2022 models remained free of recalls.
In terms of warranty, Lincoln offers a four-year/50,000-mile bumper-to-bumper plan, a five-year corrosion warranty, and lifetime roadside assistance, as well as six years/70,000 miles of powertrain coverage. Black Label Navigator Ls also offer four years or 50,000 miles of scheduled maintenance.
The 2022 Lincoln Navigator L has only been partially reviewed by the NHTSA for crash safety. It managed three stars for the rollover test (4x2) and five stars for the side crash test. The 4x4 returned a superior four stars for the rollover test. Last year, the Navigator L was fully reviewed and attained a five-star overal rating.
Safety features include adaptive LED headlights, adaptive cruise control, autonomous emergency braking with pedestrian detection, a 360-degree camera, blind-spot monitoring with cross-traffic alert, front and rear parking sensors, crash-severity sensors, a post-crash alert system, rain-sensing windshield wipers, and ten (front, front knee, front side, rear side, and rollover curtain) airbags, as well as an available head-up display and inflatable rear seatbelts. For 2022, Lincoln has added its new ActiveGlide system that enables hands-free driving on selected North American highways. Intersection assist, active park assist 2.0, and trailer reverse guidance (as part of the Heavy-Duty Trailer Tow Package) are further additions for 2022.
With prices exceeding $100,000, the Navigator L needs to offer more than just a luxury badge. Luckily, it is packed with convenience features, driver aids, and novelty items like illuminated running boards. All of these genuinely make occupants feel special, although those familiar with Ford products will note some parts sharing. The third row isn't particularly accommodating, and the ride on the 22-inch wheels leaves a lot to be desired. This may be a deal-breaker for many. For others, the numerous amenities, as well as the consideration for occupants' comfort is clear, and few SUVs come close to offering as much in the way of luxury. With available massaging seats that offer heating and ventilation as well as 30-way power adjustability, along with adaptive cruise control and a powerful engine, the Navigator L is a joy to drive on a long trip. Coupled with massive cargo volumes and decent towing capacity, it really is one of the best vacation vehicles available. If only some of that extra wheelbase had gone to the rear legroom...
The 2022 Lincoln Navigator L is available in two trim levels, each with the same engine and transmission. The cheaper Reserve starts at an MSRP of $92,215 before the $645 acquisition fee and the $1,695 destination charge. Adding 4x4 increases the base Lincoln Navigator L's price by $2,695.
The top trim is the Black Label, which adds exclusive benefits beyond the vehicle itself. This model starts at $109,035 in base form and is only available with 4x4. This trim is essentially fully loaded, but we managed to add some options like the Heavy-Duty Trailer Tow Package, premium paint, and a rear-seat entertainment system that took the total cost to over $115,000.
The Black Label is the fanciest and most luxurious version of the Navigator L that you can buy, and its special benefits are attractive, but we'd be content with the Reserve model. It's available with rear-wheel drive, enhancing its towing capacity, and is heavily specced as standard. A great engine and transmission combo, along with a highly luxurious cabin that features tri-zone climate control, heated and ventilated front seats, a heated steering wheel and second row, adaptive cruise control, a 14-speaker sound system, and a hands-free liftgate are all enough for us. Of course, the bragging rights associated with the top trim are hard to ignore, but with a price difference of almost $17,000, we'd rather stick with the cheaper version. In case you do want these, the added benefits include free annual vehicle detailing, free car washes at any time through the participating dealer network, remote service pickup and delivery (within a 50-mile radius), and a premium maintenance plan, among other privileges like queue-skipping at airports and upgraded Avis membership.
The Cadillac Escalade was entirely redesigned for 2021 and is now thoroughly competitive, finally having what it takes to take on the Navigator. More advanced driver-assistance features are available, such as Super Cruise, and its ride and handling have been vastly improved, certainly beating that of the Navigator. It's slower, though, with its naturally aspirated 6.2-liter V8. The downsides are that most three-row SUV owners might not be very bothered with handling, so the value of that Escalade talent is doubtful. The really class-leading assistance tech also costs extra. Still, it's a dead heat and until Lincoln can fix the Navigator's ride, the Escalade has it - just.
If you're more concerned with space than all-out luxury, the Ford Expedition Max, on which the Navigator L is loosely based) could be a better option. Starting at just under $59,000, it's an affordable alternative that is still highly impressive. The same 3.5-liter twin-turbo V6 is used here in three states of tune (380 hp, 400 hp, or 480 hp), and fuel efficiency is similar. The Ford also comes with 18-inch wheels, which should prove more comfortable over small ridges and abrasions in the road than the Navigator L's 22s. Overall cargo volume is also marginally better with 1.1 cubes more in the Ford. Overall, if you want an unpretentious, comfortable, and capable full-size SUV, the Expedition Max is certainly worth considering.
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