No matching results

Recent Articles

Popular Makes

Body Types

2024 Lincoln Navigator Road Test and Review

Brady Holt
by Brady Holt
January 2, 2024
2022 Lincoln Navigator ・  Photo by Brady Holt

2022 Lincoln Navigator ・ Photo by Brady Holt

Back in 1998, the first Lincoln Navigator shook up the sleepy luxury SUV segment. Sure, Range Rovers and Toyota Land Cruisers had already gotten plush, but they were off-roaders first. Instead, the Navigator prepared to take over from Lincoln’s full-size sedans as a big chrome-covered cruiser, and competitors were quick to take notice. 

A quarter-century later, the Navigator remains a luxury version of the popular Ford Expedition full-size SUV. But these days, it faces a host of rivals. To see how the 2024 Navigator stacks up these days, we just spent a week testing a mid-grade Reserve model. Keep reading to learn about its pros and cons to see whether it’s the right huge luxury ride for you. Prices start at $82,765.

Mighty Elegance

Walk up to the Lincoln Navigator with the keyfob in your pocket, and the headlights and taillights come gracefully to life – with light spreading gradually across LED strips. It’s a touch that speaks to the big SUV’s luxury and its designers’ attention to detail. 

At its heart, of course, the Navigator is a huge, tall, wide box. But Lincoln helps you forget that with artful design cues. The crosshatched chrome grille is big and proud without coming across as an aggressive maw. And the headlights and taillights are gently rounded, with the latter forming a slim lightbar across the entire rear of the vehicle. Lincoln made both the front and rear lights smaller in a 2022 styling update, which we think further softens the Navigator’s bulk. Otherwise, it has changed little since the current generation debuted back in 2018, but we think it has aged quite well. 

2022 Lincoln Navigator ・  Photo by Brady Holt

2022 Lincoln Navigator ・ Photo by Brady Holt

Luxury Meets Ergonomics

We’ve been fans of the Navigator’s dashboard since 2018, and it remains a class act. It recalls the horizontally spread dashboards of the 1980s, yet it has a fully modern 13.2-inch infotainment touchscreen smoothly integrated into its center. Materials and assembly are also first-rate (unlike in Lincolns of the ’80s). 

Another notable point is the Navigator’s user-friendly controls. Ergonomics have become a secondary point for many luxury cars, but the big Lincoln provides plenty of physical buttons and knobs as well as its easy-to-use touchscreen. We’ve seen a few gripes that the screen’s graphics are almost too simple, but we appreciate Lincoln’s quiet restraint. We also appreciate its gentle, soothing warning tones; nothing spoils the relaxing atmosphere of a luxury car than a shrill scream that your headlights are still on. 

2022 Lincoln Navigator ・  Photo by Brady Holt

2022 Lincoln Navigator ・ Photo by Brady Holt

Huge Passenger Space

The Navigator is a huge SUV. It’s 210 inches long, 80 inches wide, and 76 inches tall. And there’s even an extended-wheelbase Navigator L model that stretches to 222 inches long. So not surprisingly, the Navigator has plenty of room inside for passengers. 

The front seats are big, high thrones separated by a high, wide center console with twin padded armrests. Our test vehicle’s available “Perfect Position” feature includes 30-way power adjustability, letting you fine-tune the shape of the seat and then lock your preferences into the vehicle’s memory settings. The second row is also big, spacious, and well-padded, and even adults will do fine in the reclinable third row. The Navigator is sold with a choice of seven- and eight-seat configurations, with the latter having a bench seat in the second row instead of our test vehicle’s captain’s chairs and fixed center console. The Navigator L has identical passenger accommodations to our standard-length Navigator test vehicle, but that’s already more than ample. 

2022 Lincoln Navigator ・  Photo by Brady Holt

2022 Lincoln Navigator ・ Photo by Brady Holt

Huge Cargo Space

Where the Navigator L shines is its cargo hold. That’s because for all its bulk, the standard Navigator doesn’t have much floor space behind its third-row seat. If you’re using the third row in our Navigator test vehicle, you only get 19 cubic feet of luggage room – and that's with your belongings stacked to the high ceiling. This is a common issue with three-row SUVs, and even the Navigator isn’t immune. 

We don’t think many folks will complain about the 60 cubic feet once you fold the third row down. That’s more than the total cargo capacity of many small SUVs. Nor do we expect you to feel cramped with the 103 cubic feet available with the second- and third-row seats folded down. But if you expect to fill the Navigator’s seats often, you’ll appreciate the Navigator L’s massive 34 cubic feet of luggage space behind the third row. The L’s capacity also measures 73 cubic feet behind its second row and 120 cubic feet behind the front seats. The Navigator can also pull a trailer weighing up to 8,300 pounds, making it one of the best SUVs for towing. 

2022 Lincoln Navigator ・  Photo by Brady Holt

2022 Lincoln Navigator ・ Photo by Brady Holt

Potent Yet Decently Economical

The Navigator is big and powerful, sending a throaty 440 horsepower and 510 lb-ft of torque through a smooth-shifting 10-speed automatic transmission and standard four-wheel drive. You might think that the Navigator’s combination of speed and size would make for disastrous gas mileage, but the big Lincoln is surprisingly easy on your fuel budget. 

The EPA rates every 2024 Navigator at 16 mpg in the city, 22 mpg on the highway, and 18 mpg combined. (We missed that mark slightly, averaging 17 mpg during a weeklong test.) That’s still a fair bit of gasoline, but it’s not so far off many light-duty crossover SUVs. And it’s a huge leap from the 12 mpg combined that the EPA estimated for the 230-hp 1998 Navigator. Credit goes to the current model's turbocharged six-cylinder “EcoBoost” engine. You’ll need premium-grade gas to achieve the 2024 model’s full horsepower rating, but except when you’re towing or hitting a race track, we think it’ll make more sense to give up a few ponies to save $15 to $20 on each fillup. The Navigator has plenty of horsepower to spare, and unlike on many luxury vehicles, premium gasoline is only recommended but not required. The Navigator used 87-octane regular for its EPA testing. 

2022 Lincoln Navigator ・  Photo by Brady Holt

2022 Lincoln Navigator ・ Photo by Brady Holt

Let Lincoln Take the Wheel

Our tested Navigator included Lincoln’s BlueCruise system, which uses cameras and other sensors to operate the vehicle on 130,000 miles of pre-mapped highways across North America. Unlike most rival systems (the exception being General Motors’ Super Cruise), Lincoln explicitly allows you to drive hands-free. Set them in your lap and let the Navigator handle your speed and steering. It’ll disengage if road conditions become too challenging, you leave a pre-mapped route, or the in-car camera senses that you’re not watching the road. Unlike with Super Cruise, our Navigator’s BlueCruise can’t change lanes on its own when it comes up behind a slower car. However, Ford promises that existing owners will receive an update called BlueCruise 1.2 that includes that feature. 

When you’re at the Navigator’s helm on your own, this big SUV is easy enough to drive. It doesn’t have the extra-smooth ride or poised agility of the best car-based crossover SUVs, but you wouldn’t call it a clumsy truck. An adaptive suspension system comes standard, which helps. Parking the Navigator takes some practice, especially with the L version, but an available hands-free self-parking system can help out. 

2022 Lincoln Navigator ・  Photo by Brady Holt

2022 Lincoln Navigator ・ Photo by Brady Holt

Priced From $82,000

The Navigator’s starting price jumped from $79,725 last year to $82,675 for 2024. However, that’s because Lincoln dropped the cheaper rear-wheel drive variants. Unless you’d have passed on four-wheel drive, the Navigator’s price has actually gone down slightly. 

Standard equipment on the base Navigator Premiere includes heated and ventilated front and second-row seats, power-retractable running boards, 20-inch wheels, GPS navigation, a 14-speaker stereo, and adaptive cruise control. This is already more decadence than some SUVs reach in their fully optioned forms. The Reserve like our test vehicle starts at $95,325 with additions that include genuine leather instead of leatherette, 24-way-adjustable front seats (just shy of “Perfect Position”), a panoramic sunroof, 22-inch wheels, a head-up display, and BlueCruise. Options include a 28-speaker Revel stereo, massaging front seats, and the Perfect Position. A top Black Label includes all the options plus unique styling details and ownership perks, costing $110,750. The extended-length L, sold only in Reserve and Black Label forms, costs $3,000 more than the standard length. 

2022 Lincoln Navigator ・  Photo by Brady Holt

2022 Lincoln Navigator ・ Photo by Brady Holt

Competitors to Consider

The 1998 Navigator promptly inspired an imitator from its cross-town rival brand, and the Cadillac Escalade remains the big Lincoln’s leading competitor. The Cadillac has more cargo room, a more chiseled body, and a swoopier interior, along with a hands-free driving system that works better out of the box. We’re also fans of its economical (though not quite speedy) turbodiesel engine. However, the Escalade’s standard V8 trails the turbocharged Navigator in both speed and efficiency; it has less standard equipment at similar prices; and we found the Lincoln’s interior better-built and easier to use. 

Other close rivals are the Infiniti QX80 and Lexus LX 600. The Navigator is much roomier and drives better than both, but the Infiniti at least starts at a much lower price. Europe has also entered the jumbo SUV game with the BMW X7 and Mercedes-Benz GLS. They trade some interior space for slicker handling and a less boxy aesthetic. We’d also shop the Navigator against mainstream-brand full-size SUVs like its Ford Expedition sibling, which can offer plenty of luxury at less astronomical prices. Lastly, if you wouldn’t use the Lincoln’s mighty towing capacity, you might also appreciate the value of a roomy three-row crossover SUV like the Lexus TX, Infiniti QX60, or Buick Enclave.

2021 Cadillac Escalade ・  Photo by Brady Holt

2021 Cadillac Escalade ・ Photo by Brady Holt

Final Thoughts

Whether you value a full-size luxury SUV for its family-friendly spaciousness, hearty towing capabilities, amenity-packed cabin, massive presence on the road, or any combination of the above, the 2024 Lincoln Navigator delivers. 

Even without a full redesign since 2018, the Navigator looks and feels fresh inside and out. It has three useful rows of seats when you’re carrying a load of gangly teenagers, yet it’s also a dazzling luxury vehicle for folks who just like to drive big SUVs. Its interior quality and layout, its potent yet relatively economical powertrain, and its overall design continue to match or outpace newer competitors. Unless you’re looking for something less bulky and with more car-like ride and handling, the Navigator is, quite literally, a big winner. 

2022 Lincoln Navigator ・  Photo by Brady Holt

2022 Lincoln Navigator ・ Photo by Brady Holt


Interested in Getting a New Car?

Used Cars Near You

No Data Available

Powered by Usedcars.com
©2024 AutoWeb, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Some content provided by and under copyright by Autodata, Inc. dba Chrome Data. © 1986-2024.