After four years on the market, the current generation Lincoln Navigator is still a lovely place to spend time motoring down the road. It’s handsome, roomy and comfortable. But it suddenly has a bunch of fresh competition in the full-size luxury SUV segment. The Cadillac Escalade has been on sale for less than a year and Jeep is now launching the new Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer. That means it’s time for an update of Lincoln’s flagship for 2022.
Much like the refresh that Nautilus got last year, the Navigator remains visually similar to the 2021 model. It’s still big, bold and in your face, but in a very elegant way, that evokes old money without looking old. The fascia changes are a bit more noticeable than on the Nautilus though since this is 2021 and apparently it’s impossible to have too much grille. The main grille itself actually appears to be about the same size, but the chrome surround trim now extends down into the lower bumper area and a chrome insert has been added to make it appear more prominent. The lighting has been upgraded at both ends with standard adaptive pixel projector headlamps in front, and reshaped 3D taillamps that are actually a bit slimmer than before.
The more prominent changes are on the inside. Lincoln hasn’t gone all in on the screens the way Cadillac and Jeep have. There are no OLED displays or screens for the front passenger. The 12-inch digital instrument cluster display carries over. The center stack infotainment display grows from the previous 10-inches to the same 13.2-inch touchscreen in the Nautilus. Second row passengers get a new 5.8 display that can be used to manage the climate control behind the front row.
Powering that display is the latest SYNC 4 infotainment system and an updated electronic architecture that supports over-the-air (OTA) software updates. Unlike the video game inspired Ford Power-ups, Lincoln calls its OTA capability Enhance, a brand much more fitting with its quiet flight theme.
Among the new features that come with SYNC 4 is built-in Amazon
Not wanting to be left behind Cadillac and Jeep in the speaker war, Lincoln has added more speakers to its Revel Ultima sound system, bringing the total to 28 drivers throughout the cabin. It also has 3D audio capabilities which should be able to play back some of those fancy new streaming files that many of the music providers now offer. Like Lincoln’s other models, the Navigator replaces the various tones it makes with symphonic chimes recorded by the Detroit Symphony orchestra.
The new Lincoln Play rear seat entertainment developed with Voxx Automotive includes a pair of 10.1-inch screens on the back of the rear seats. Like the Wagoneers with Uconnect 5, the Lincoln includes built-in Amazon Fire TV support and wireless streaming to the screens. There is also 16GB of on-board storage so that parents can load up Frozen for the kids to watch on repeat through their wireless headphones. HDMI, USB-C and SD card slots are also included.
In addition to the larger SYNC screen, the driver of the 2022 also gets another important new feature, ActiveGlide. This is Lincoln’s branding for the hands-free driver assist feature Ford has dubbed BlueCruise (at least for now). Similar to GM’s Super Cruise, ActiveGlide allows hands-free operation on mapped, divided highways. At launch, it will have support for about 130,000 miles of roads in the US and Canada, much as Super Cruise did when it debuted in 2017.
I recently drove an F-150 with BlueCruise and while it did a good job of holding the truck centered in the lane, it is well behind what GM is now offering in the second-generation of Super Cruise. Super Cruise now operates on over 200,000 miles of roads and includes on-demand lane change capability with a tap of the turn signal stalk. The next update coming soon will add automatic overtaking without driver input and support for trailer towing. While Ford and Lincoln vehicles will probably add these capabilities via OTA updates eventually, there is no word on when that will happen. The Wagoneer is also slated to receive similar hands-free capabilities, but Jeep isn’t saying exactly when.
Under the hood, the Navigator retains the same 3.5-liter twin-turbocharged (don’t call it EcoBoost in a Lincoln) V6 although it now backs 10 fewer horsepower with a still ample 440-hp and 510 lb-ft of torque. Unfortunately, Lincoln isn’t getting a hybrid system in its biggest SUV just yet. That may have to wait a couple of more years for the next new-generation.
One feature the Navigator is picking up from the Aviator is the adaptive suspension with road preview. This system uses the forward facing camera for collision alerts and lane keeping to look for bumps in the road ahead. Combined with other sensors, it then makes adjustments to the damping to help reduce the impact as the Navigator goes over them.
Black Label packages have done well for Lincoln since they were first introduced in about 2015. For 2022, the Navigator gets two new themes Central Park and Invitation. Central Park is finished in a dark Manhattan green on the outside and features an open pore walnut veneer inside. The wood is laser etched to reflect the island’s grid street layout and the scenic trails of the park. The Invitation theme gets a metallic grey exterior with khaya wood veneers inside and pergola-inspired perforations in the leather covering of the ventilated seats.
The updated Navigator will go on sale in early 2022.