The 2022 Lincoln Navigator got a facelift, with new front and rear styling, interior tweaks, updated infotainment system, and hands-free highway driving capability.
It comes as the regular Navigator or extra-length Navigator L, both in a single Reserve trim and with four-wheel drive. I had the regular-length, which starts at $110,495 including a non-negotiable delivery fee of $2,195. Choosing the longer L version adds $3,250 to the price. My tester was further ramped up with $10,500 in options, bringing it to $120,995 before taxes.
The Navigator is primarily about people and cargo, and so it’s a brick on wheels to maximize space for all. The very shape didn’t give the stylists a lot of leeway, but the new grille and headlights are handsome, and the single width of taillights is sleeker than last year’s design of individual lights joined together. As you approach with the proximity key, the front and rear lights illuminate sequentially across their width.
My tester’s 22-inch black wheels were part of a $2,250 Monochromatic package that also includes body-colour mirrors and monochrome badges and grille.
The 2022 Navigator hasn’t been tested by the United States National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) or the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), but NHTSA did crash the 2021 model and gave it the top five-star rating.
Standard driver-assist technologies include emergency front braking, blind-spot monitoring with trailer coverage, lane-keep assist, automatic high-beam headlights, adaptive cruise control with stop-and-go functionality, lane centring, and a parking assist system. The assist is twofold: the screen lets you select a self-parking feature, or uses navigation to find the nearest public parking lot. You also get a back-up camera that’s mandatory on all new vehicles, as well as hands-free driving assistance.
The Navigator comes with all the luxury features expected, including tri-zone climate control, auto-dimming mirrors, power-adjustable pedals, hands-free power tailgate, head-up display, adaptive headlights, panoramic sunroof, and wireless charging, among others.
Also included is so-called ActiveGlide hands-free driving. Similar to the Super Cruise system from General Motors (GM), it handles throttle, braking, and steering on pre-mapped sections of highways. It has fewer mapped kilometres than Super Cruise, and it can’t change lanes by itself, but it’s continually being improved.
If you’re using the adaptive cruise control and you enter an area where the hands-free functionality will work, you get a notification in the instrument cluster that you can take your hands off the wheel. A camera makes sure you still keep your eyes on the road. For the most part it works well, although it started to move to the right on a few exit ramps; it corrected most of the time, but I had to bring it back on a couple.
A few times, I was told to take over for a couple of kilometres before ActiveGlide reconnected, even though the highway conditions hadn’t changed. There were also a couple of spots near overpasses where it suddenly slowed to 50 km/h despite a 100-km/h speed limit. I’ve had a couple of other automakers’ adaptive cruise do the same at the same places, so perhaps it’s an error of GPS reading the overhead road’s speed. In any case, as good as these systems are getting, we’re still a long way out from true self-driving vehicles.
User Friendliness: 8/10
The Navigator stuffs a lot of functions into its infotainment system, as with most premium vehicles, but it’s intuitive and many features are also controlled with simple hard buttons, including the climate system, stereo volume, and drive modes. I’m not as fond of the gearshift selector: a row of toggles tucked below the dash. The infotainment is controlled with the latest version of the SYNC operating system and includes natural speech recognition, cloud-based navigation, wireless phone connectivity, and over-the-air updates.
The Navigator’s interior access is straightforward. The second-row seats power-fold, although they go back up manually and they’re stiff. They also slide ahead with space for all but the largest to easily access the back row. The third-row seats power-recline, and power-fold up and down. The large tailgate gives good access to the cargo compartment and there’s a low liftover.
While it’s certainly not the most practical for parking in tighter spaces, this big SUV makes the most of its footprint and height with impressive leg- and headroom, including in the third row, which is also high enough that you’re not sitting with your chin on your knees.
The second- and third rows fold down, although the second-row console prevents it from being a completely flat surface all the way through. Cargo volume is 592 L with the third row up — a lot of space but maybe not enough if you’ve got seven occupants and need to haul everyone’s luggage. The Navigator L has the same passenger-cabin dimensions, with its extra overall length dedicated to 1,019 L of cargo space.
The Navigator comes standard with 24-way-adjustable heated and ventilated front seats, but mine went above and beyond. My tester was equipped with 30-way massaging front seats with automatic heating and ventilation, and heated and ventilated second-row seats. My chair proved very supportive but I was glad of its memory setting. Thirty-way adjustment borders on more choice than really needed, and you don’t want to go through it all again once you finally have it just right.
The ride is on the soft side but it’s smooth, thanks to an adaptive suspension. A forward-facing camera recognizes potholes and road imperfections, and the suspension immediately adjusts so the occupants feel as little of the bump as possible.
The sole engine choice is a twin-turbocharged 3.5L V6 that makes 440 hp and 510 lb-ft of torque. It’s mated to a 10-speed automatic transmission and standard four-wheel drive. It’s a very good fit, capable of moving this heavy beast smoothly under moderate throttle, or with authority when passing power is needed. Most of its direct competitors use V8 engines, but you won’t miss those two extra cylinders.
Driving Feel: 8/10
The Navigator doesn’t drive quite as big as it is, with its responsive steering and surprisingly tight turning radius. The steering is a bit light, although it tightens up enough on the highway for confidence. It’s not a corner-carver, not with this size and weight, but that’s not the point. It’s meant for highway cruising after it’s picked everyone up in the suburbs.
The four-wheel drive system allows for rear-wheel drive operation, along with four-wheel high- and low-range gearing that’s strictly for loose surfaces such as off-road. But there’s also an automatic setting that can be driven on pavement, which is handy for wet or snowy roads, kicking in with extra traction when it’s required.
Fuel Economy: 8/10
You won’t see single-digit fuel numbers at this size, but if you need a vehicle this big, the Navigator performs well for the segment. It’s officially rated by Natural Resources Canada (NRCan) at 15.2 L/100 km in the city, 10.8 on the highway, and 13.2 in combined driving. I averaged 13.8 in my week with it, and it runs on 87-octane gasoline.
By comparison, its V8-powered rivals are thirstier. The sharply styled Cadillac Escalade is rated for 14.7 L/100 km in combined driving (its diesel gets 10.5); the aged Infiniti QX80 is 15.1; and the new Jeep Grand Wagoneer rates at 16.0. Like the Lincoln, Lexus’s LX600 uses a twin-turbo V6 and it’s rated at 12.7 L/100 km.
The Navigator starts at $110,495 and offers many options. However, unlike its closer competitors, it comes in one trim that’s comparable to most rivals’ higher trims.
In comparison, and including their delivery charges, the Cadillac Escalade runs from $94,043 to $122,943; the Jeep Grand Wagoneer from $101,995 to $121,995; the Infiniti QX80 from $85,970 to $94,720; and the Lexus LX600 from $109,595 to $153,345. If you want the Lincoln’s size at a lower price, the Ford Expedition comes with a lower-powered version of the 3.5L turbo V6, and its highest Platinum trim level offers a lot of luxury at $97,920.
The 2022 Lincoln Navigator is obviously a niche vehicle, and there’s no point opting for so much unless you’re going to carry that many people on a regular basis. But if you are, it offers good performance, a lovely interior, and a comfortable ride, and is definitely a major contender in this segment.
|Peak Horsepower||440 hp @ 5,850 rpm|
|Peak Torque||510 lb-ft @ 3,000 rpm|
|Fuel Economy||15.2 / 10.8 / 13.2 L/100 km cty/hwy/cmb|
|Cargo Space||592 / 1,801 / 2,295 L behind 3rd/2nd/1st row|
|Model Tested||2022 Lincoln Navigator Reserve|
|Price as Tested||$121,095|
$10,500 – 201A Package, $4,500; Monochromatic Appearance Package, $2,250; Second-Row Captain’s Chairs w/Massage, $1,500; Heavy-Duty Trailer Package, $1,100; Pristine White Tri-Coat Paint, $900; All-Weather Floorliners, $250