As the crown jewel in Lincoln’s SUV lineup, the Navigator sets the standard of luxury for the brand while proving that it’s more than just an upfitted Ford. The gargantuan Navigator offers three rows of seating and either a standard or long-wheelbase body style. Its cabin is lined with the good stuff—genuine leather, wood trim, metal accents—and the whole family can ride in comfort. A twin-turbocharged V-6 makes 450 horsepower, and the Navigator can tow up to 8700 pounds. But rival SUVs such as the BMW X7 and the Cadillac Escalade provide more on-road refinement, while others, such as the Mercedes-Benz GLS-class, offer more creature comforts. Still, the Navigator is pure American-style luxury, and that’s something few of its competitors can match.
What’s New for 2021?
Lincoln’s flagship SUV is now available for 2021 with an optional Monochromatic appearance package, which swaps out exterior chrome trim with darkened alternatives and replaces silver-painted wheels with black ones. Elsewhere, Lincoln has swapped out four of the Navigator’s exterior colors—Asher Gray, Flight Blue, Green Gem, and Signature Navy—for four new ones—Iced Mocha, Silver Jade, Blue Diamond, and Rhapsody Blue.
Pricing and Which One to Buy
We’ll let you decide whether the standard short wheelbase or the extended L body style is right for you, but we’d recommend the Reserve trim either way. Reserve adds desirable luxury features such as heated and ventilated front seats, a head-up display, a power-adjustable steering wheel, and a host of driver-assistance features. All-wheel drive is available for those who need it, and we’d also recommend the Heavy-Duty Trailer Tow package for buyers who plan to make the most of the Navigator’s 8700-pound towing capacity.
Engine, Transmission, and Performance
The 2021 Navigator has only one engine-and-transmission combination, but with 450 horsepower, one is all it needs. We found the Navigator to be responsive and genuinely speedy, and the 10-speed automatic shuffles through gears adeptly enough to avoid perturbing dozing passengers. At our test track, the standard-wheelbase Navigator and long-wheelbase model had equally quick acceleration. However, straight-line performance is where the Navi’s performance potential begins and ends. Steering feel is numb and its sheer bulk prevents it from being a vehicle that encourages enthusiastic driving. But the most serious problem with our test vehicles was their ride quality. Wearing optional 22-inch wheels, the Navigator was sometimes jittery, and sharp impacts were followed by bouncing rebounds—the worst of both worlds.
Fuel Economy and Real-World MPG
Unlike its V-8 competition, the Navigator employs a downsized, twin-turbocharged 3.5-liter V-6 and a 10-speed automatic transmission in the quest for better fuel economy. Despite its smaller engine, it’s far from fuel efficient and proved unexpectedly thirsty during our real-world highway testing. Despite a highway-fuel-economy rating from the EPA of 21 mpg, our test vehicle delivered 18 mpg over the course of 200 miles.
Interior, Comfort, and Cargo
The Navigator’s interior is lavishly spacious and genuinely luxurious. Materials such as open-pore wood trim and massaging front seats are only available in the upper trim levels, but even entry-level Navigators have much to offer. The Navigator’s third row is one of the best examples of that seating arrangement. There are 1.1 inches more legroom in the Navigator’s third row than that of the Mercedes-Benz GLS-Class, and other competitors fall even further behind. The Navigator offers optional 30-way-adjustable massaging front seats, a keystone feature for Lincoln’s flagship SUV. The seats are almost sculptural and are so customizable that you can even adjust the individual left and right thigh supports to different heights. The Navigator’s immense size can be a drawback when weaving through traffic or attempting to park, but it’s a huge boon when it comes time to pack for vacation. Short-wheelbase models have limited cargo space with all three rows in use; cargo space is abundant with the third row folded. Long-wheelbase L models have cargo room aplenty even with the third row in use.
Infotainment and Connectivity
The Navigator comes standard with an eye-catching 10.0-inch touchscreen and has USB ports in every row. The infotainment system’s graphics are slick and easy to read—important for Lincoln’s presbyopic clientele—and the huge screen is like a glittering jewel atop the Navigator’s prow. Every model comes with a five-year subscription to Lincoln’s smartphone app and related services, and the standard navigation system includes a six-year subscription to SiriusXM’s Traffic and Travel Link.
Safety and Driver-Assistance Features
The Navigator hasn’t been crash-tested by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), but the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has given it a five-star safety rating. Lincoln also makes its Co-Pilot360 suite of driver-assistance technology standard. Key safety features include:
- Standard blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert
- Standard automated emergency braking with pedestrian detection
- Available adaptive cruise control
Warranty and Maintenance Coverage
Lincoln’s warranty coverage roughly matches that of its competitors, but there are a few perks that help the company’s customer-service practices stand out from the herd. Owners who choose the Black Label trim enjoy four years of complimentary scheduled maintenance instead of just one year.
- Limited warranty covers four years or 50,000 miles
- Powertrain warranty covers six years or 70,000 miles
- Complimentary scheduled maintenance is covered for up to four years or 50,000 miles
More Features and Specs