Before the Electric Vehicle movement gets ahold of large SUVs, manufacturers are working diligently to keep what they have fresh and relevant, which is just what Lincoln is doing with the latest Navigator through clever updates and refreshing for the 2022 model year.
The updates for the new 2022 Lincoln Navigator go the distance to potentially place it back in the king of the hill position after Cadillac redesigns their Escalade. To answer back at Cadillac, Lincoln improves upon the same platform with some exterior styling updates that move closer to the attractiveness of the Aviator sibling, in addition to receiving some welcomed interior updates for both luxury and technology.
Engine and Drivetrain
Continuing to power the Lincoln Navigator is the brand’s 3.5-liter twin-turbo V6 engine good for 440 horsepower and 510 lb-ft of torque and still mated to a 10-speed automatic transmission. If you’re taking notice to the new horsepower figure, you’ll wonder why the new Navigator has lost 10 horsepower over the outgoing model years. Well, that change, which isn’t even noticed, is due to an increased compression ratio of the engine leading to added efficiency, which yields an improvement of 1 mpg on the highway for the all-wheel-drive setup. Now, the Lincoln Navigator normal-wheelbase all-wheel-drive gets 22 mpg highway, a slight improvement but the city mileage remains at 16 mpg along with the combined at 18 mpg.
The ample power from the twin-turbo V6 scoots the large Navigator along with authority and hits 60 mph in just 6 seconds, quite the quick large SUV. There’s never a need for more power and there isn’t much turbo lag to upset the driver when there’s a need to jump out in traffic.
The overall feel of the new 2022 Lincoln Navigator appears to be more refined where there’s a new adaptive suspension setup where the system uses a forward-facing camera to look for road imperfections (potholes and such) and the data taken 100 times per minute from the road quality to make millisecond adjustments to the dampers. The system is comparable to what is found in the new Lincoln Aviator, which also does well to keep body motions and pothole mitigation stations less impactful to the cabin. The rear suspension still feels a bit lofty at some rare instances going over undulations and gradual road rises but is often checked by the adaptive dampers quickly firming up for a second.
My only fault with the drivetrain is the drive mode selector, which gives you access to several drive modes (Conserve, Normal, Normal Automatic 4×4, Excite, Deep Conditions, and Slippery), which return to a default Normal drive mode upon restarting the vehicle instead of leaving it in a mode like Normal 4×4, which will utilize the equipped all-wheel-drive system in an automatic mode. My thought here would enable all-wheel-drive when it is necessary upon rear-wheel slippage without an act to enable the mode each time you get in the vehicle – if you select the option once it would retain that feature with each vehicle start.
The new 2022 Lincoln Navigator tows up to 8,700 pounds in the 4×2 normal-wheelbase configuration and up 8,300 pounds for the 4×4 normal-wheelbase. Opting for the long wheelbase will yield slightly lower tow maximus at 8,400 pounds for the 4×2 and 8,100 for the 4×4 Navigator L.
There’s still a feeling that you’re ‘navigating’ a large vehicle – pun intended. The steering wheel rack has a nice artificial-feeling weight to it but requires several turns from lock to lock, again, reminding you that you’re driving one of the largest production passenger vehicles on the road. However, there’s a welcomed sense of easy driving where the Navigator doesn’t challenge the driver to be stressed when maneuvering or parking, partly thanks to the high-resolution 360-degree camera system and a plethora of active safety features helping to monitor the road. Additionally, the biggest change is the inclusion of the hands-free driver-assist system dubbed ActiveGlide, which is essentially a renaming of Ford’s BlueCruise.
The ActiveGlide system is simple and is automatically activated on approved highways and Interstates (currently includes 130,000 miles of dedicated highways in North America) when you enable adaptive cruise control with the lane-centering feature. The system will simply notify you when ActiveGlide is available and await your activation but will then monitor your eyes (head positioning) to ensure they are placed on the road ahead. Move your head for too long or become distracted and the ActiveGlide system and the system will alert you to regain attention or control of the vehicle. The system appears to work seamlessly but my disappointment is that it didn’t work on many local highways in my area, only major Interstate roads. The coverage area may quickly expand to nearly match that of the comparable Super Cruise system from General Motors that covers over 200,000 miles of highway and Interstate roads in North America.
Interior and New Updates
Other welcomed changes for the new 2022 Lincoln Navigator include the new Sync 4 infotainment system now fed through a larger 13.2-inch touchscreen that nicely flows into the lower dashboard and center climate vents. The new screen, 3.2-inches larger than the older Sync 3 setup, features many improvements and tends to be just as user-friendly as Sync 3 but makes better use of the screen real estate with multiple information sets displayed at one time.
To keep with the theme of elevating the new Lincoln Navigator for its luxury disposition, the second row of seats not only feature heating and ventilation, but they now tout massaging as an availability, which comes as a $625 option on my loaded Navigator Black Label trim test vehicle. The new Cadillac Escalade lacks the availability of both second-row seat ventilation and massage. The second row also benefits from an optional pair of 10.1-inch entertainment touchscreens with the integration of several streaming service apps comparable to many new smart TVs. You still get the standard 30-way perfect position front seats with the Active Motion Massage features, heating, and ventilation and the third row has a surprising amount of space for three adults and access to a couple of USB charging ports next to the storage cubbies and cup holders.
Other small updates to the new 2022 Navigator incorporate what has been filtered through the rest of the Lincoln lineup, such as the Detroit Symphony tones for the warning alerts and various interior vehicle chimes, updated gauge cluster graphics with a more simplified settings menu, updated Automatic high beam Adaptive Pixel LED headlights that are among the best in the business, and a Black Label Special Edition Package that features several black/black-painted accent, black 22-inch wheels and exterior trim pieces to accentuate a unique contrasted overall appearance.
Lincoln has certainly elevated the presence and standing of the new 2022 Navigator. Doing such has kept it well within the top running for the coveted large SUV segment to strongly punch against new vehicles like the redesigned Cadillac Escalade. Continuing the availability of the top-trim Navigator Black Label with its unique “theme” selections giving you a set palette of colors and fine interior trims and an exclusive Black Label Special Edition Package as found on my $115,275 fully loaded test vehicle.
The new Navigator has impressed me so much that I’d consider a purchase only if it would fit in the garage bay where our new Lincoln Aviator resides with only a couple of inches of room to spare – something to be mindful of with the new Navigator and even more so with the long-wheelbase version, which costs an additional $3,045.