Mixed Bag: Lincoln Tweaks Navigator for 2022

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky

Lincoln has refreshed the Navigator, giving both the standard and long-wheelbase SUV new features. While there have also been some changes made to the flagship vehicle’s design, the company is not straying far from what it already knows works. But that doesn’t mean everything is exactly as it should be.

Despite adding some desirable tech, Lincoln has tweaked the turbocharged, 3.5-liter V6 to produce less horsepower than before. The 2022 model year produces 440 horsepower and 510 ft-lb of torque, whereas the previous version offered 450 hp. Considering Ford has yet to release EPA-certified economy figures, we’re betting this was done to boost efficiency. Compression ratios are also different, with the 2022 MY running 10.5:1 rather than the previous 10.0:1.

This was downplayed during its introduction, however, so that Lincoln could spend more time focusing on the company injecting Ford Motor Co’s hands-free highway driver-assist system into Lincoln products. Referenced as BlueCruise when pertaining to the Ford brand, Lincoln has opted to call the system ActiveGlide — making it sound like a personal lubricant of some kind. But it’s functionally the same, providing Navigator owners with the ability to occasionally take their hands off the wheel while the vehicle pilots pre-mapped highways.

Though it should be said that the function does not work on all roadways and owners need to be okay with Lincoln having mounted a driver-facing camera to ensure that you’re constantly paying attention while using a feature that does its utmost to remove you from the action. It’s extremely similar to Cadillac’s SuperCruise system and something your author truly doesn’t understand or see offering much practical value to the driver.

But it’s a good way to build hype around a vehicle and bound to snag a few tech-obsessed customers, provided they’re willing to pay the subscription fee. ActiveGlide will be an optional feature on the Reserve and Black Label Navigators, meaning a loftier MSRP. But you do get three years for free before Lincoln pushes you into a subscription model.

Additional changes include giving all SUVs new pixel projector headlights, allowing for an adaptive beam pattern, and LED taillights that offer various animation sequences that vary depending upon what you’re doing. The grille has also been updated on select trims, and it looks more premium, though I’d probably never had noticed if the manufacturer had not made specific mention of the change.

Interiors now come with updated graphics for the gauge cluster and a 13.2-inch touchscreen infotainment center using SYNC 4. That means wireless Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and over-the-air updates as standard. While OTAs have unique benefits (Ford suggested adding drive modes to the Navigator as an example) most automakers haven’t used connectivity in a manner that seems wholly beneficial to the consumer and it encourages things like subscription fees and putting installed features beyond digital paywalls.

Lincoln has not ignored the physical elements of the interior, however. Second-row seating can now be optioned to have the same heating, cooling, and massage features that are available on the frontal chairs. Your choice in interior materials and trim have also been broadened somewhat and there’s a new infotainment package with upgraded screens for rear occupants. These come with all sorts of planned connectivity features, though the company said some of those may be locked behind subscriptions.

Black Label models offer two new choices of interior themes to spruce up the Navigator’s already lavish cabin. One of these is called Invitation while the other is known as the Central Park theme and provides a bunch of visual references to New York City. As someone who currently lives there, it’s hard to envision the locals wanting any reminders of present-day Manhattan. It’s also curious to see Lincoln trying to embrace NYC after it worked so poorly for Cadillac. But the optional Manhattan Green paint job (also new) is decent and the associated urban-themed interior is bound to be a hit with Midwestern moms that went to see a show on Broadway a couple of years ago and feel like they have “a real connection to the city.”

The company had some really vapid marketing jargon to go along with the theme. But it would have done far more damage to Lincoln than anything whipped up here. Ultimately, the brand is offering more in terms of interior options and they all look pretty decent — including the walnut-wooded, laser-etched Central Park.

It seems like the 2022 Lincoln Navigator update is a mixed bag. We’re losing a smidgen of power for questionable economy gains and getting some new technology features you’re going to need to pay more for anyway. But the interior, which has long been one of the vehicle’s greatest strengths, is getting some extra niceties customers will undoubtedly appreciate.

Pricing is TBA but we’d expect the 2022 model year to surpass the previous starting point of $76,700 to account for some of the new hardware Lincoln has added.

[Images: Ford Motor Co.]

Matt Posky
Matt Posky

A staunch consumer advocate tracking industry trends and regulation. Before joining TTAC, Matt spent a decade working for marketing and research firms based in NYC. Clients included several of the world’s largest automakers, global tire brands, and aftermarket part suppliers. Dissatisfied with the corporate world and resentful of having to wear suits everyday, he pivoted to writing about cars. Since then, that man has become an ardent supporter of the right-to-repair movement, been interviewed on the auto industry by national radio broadcasts, driven more rental cars than anyone ever should, participated in amateur rallying events, and received the requisite minimum training as sanctioned by the SCCA. Handy with a wrench, Matt grew up surrounded by Detroit auto workers and managed to get a pizza delivery job before he was legally eligible. He later found himself driving box trucks through Manhattan, guaranteeing future sympathy for actual truckers. He continues to conduct research pertaining to the automotive sector as an independent contractor and has since moved back to his native Michigan, closer to where the cars are born. A contrarian, Matt claims to prefer understeer — stating that front and all-wheel drive vehicles cater best to his driving style.

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2 of 26 comments
  • Edsel Maserati Edsel Maserati on Aug 19, 2021

    Did you actually drive the thing? I don't see a word on the driving dynamics, which I thought were pretty damned good for such a gunboat. Tight driving situations in town were eased considerably/ I haven't driven everything (such as the biggest Mercedes SUVs) but I ranked the Navigator as my favorite among the big haulers. The GMC Yukon Denali XL was also good. Cadillacs are just too pimped out now for me.

  • Tstag Tstag on Aug 20, 2021

    Just wait for the new Range Rover or Range Rover Sport or Land Rover Defender 130 arriving next year before you decide…

  • The Oracle Farley proves once again he is WAY in over his head.
  • Theflyersfan Gas prices went up $1.00/gal today at the three stations I just passed to get home. Was there a war? No? Could it be oil company greed? Perhaps.
  • Slavuta Actually, this is probably not as bad as student loan ordeal
  • Kcflyer but will it be direct injection only? If so, fool me once.......
  • THX1136 The current administration hoping the unwashed masses are not paying attention. A purely political move similar to the 'request' by Democrats that the Biden administration do something about the border issues prior to the election. Still won't vote for him OR the other guy this Nov.