2022 Lincoln Navigator First Look Review: Hands-Free Luxury

First Look / Comments

The Navigator gets updates to keep up with Cadillac and Jeep.

With the competition heating up in the full-size luxury SUV segment, the Lincoln Navigator was looking dated next to its Detroit rivals. The current model debuted back in 2017, but the facelifted 2022 Lincoln Navigator gets several important updates to make it more competitive with the fresher Cadillac Escalade and Jeep Grand Wagoneer.

Lincoln's 2022 facelift adds important new features, including the first appearance of a new ActiveGlide hands-free driving system to rival GM's Super Cruise. The 2022 Navigator also receives some mildly updated styling and new interior trim. Are these new updates enough to keep the Navi competitive, or did Cadillac and and Jeep pull too far ahead?

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A Subtle Exterior Update

Lincoln's largest SUV was already a pretty handsome brute, so it didn't require much heavy surgery on the exterior. The signature grille is updated, as is the front fascia. Adaptive pixel projector headlights and 3D taillights now come standard, with the latter performing a cool welcome and goodbye animation.

New colors join the palette, including Starlight Gray and Manhattan Green Metallic, a Black Label-exclusive hue. As before, buyers can opt for the standard Navigator or the Navigator L, which adds 9.1 inches to the wheelbase. Even with these subtle updates, the Navigator still looks slightly dated parked next to the Escalade and Grand Wagoneer.

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A Grander Interior

The improvements to the interior are more extensive than the exterior update. In the dashboard, a new 13.2-inch touchscreen now uses Ford's latest SYNC 4 infotainment technology with wireless Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and Amazon Alexa integration. Over-the-air updates will come as part of a new Lincoln Enhance package, which should keep the Navigator competitive in terms of technology. Elsewhere in the cabin, Lincoln has taken a page from Jeep's book, adding Fire TV to the optional rear seat entertainment package. With these updates, the Navigator feels completely refreshed for the current decade.

Lincoln didn't just focus on making the cabin tech better; it made the interior more luxurious as well. In addition to last year's Chalet and Yacht Club themes, two new Black Label interior options called Central Park and Invitation are available. Each one comes with new laser-etched wood, giving the Navigator a unique feel inside. New color choices for the leather include Ocean Drive Blue and Chroma Caviar.

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Efficiency Over Power

In a surprising move, Lincoln opted to decrease the output of its 3.5-liter twin-turbocharged V6 engine. It now produces 440 horsepower (10 hp less than last year) and 510 lb-ft of torque, still going out to the rear or all four wheels through a ten-speed automatic transmission. Lincoln hasn't released official fuel economy figures yet, but the switch from a 10.0:1 to 10.5:1 compression ratio should have a positive impact. Even with slightly less power, the Navigator still outproduces the Escalade with its 6.2-liter V8, though the Grand Wagoneer's 6.4-liter V8 is more potent.

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New Capabilities

The most significant addition to the Navigator's options list is a new feature called ActiveGlide. This technology is the same as Ford's Blue Cruise, allowing Navigator owners to go hands-free on certain highway stretches. Lincoln says the system will operate on 130,000 miles of North American highways and use a driver-facing camera to ensure that the driver is paying attention. We have not tested ActiveGlide or Blue Cruise, but this feature should help keep the Navigator competitive with the Escalade's Super Cruise and Jeep's upcoming hands-free Active Driving Assist function.

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Pricing & Competition

The facelifted Navigator goes on sale in early 2022, so no pricing is available yet. The current 2021 model starts at $76,705 and can easily crest $100,000 when fully optioned in the Black Label trim. This is roughly inline with the Cadillac Escalade around $10,000 less than the Jeep Grand Wagoneer. Although the facelift may not help the Navigator stand head and shoulders above its rivals, it certainly helps Lincoln stay in the race.

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