On the road
There are a lot of things that look flashy and new in the Navigator. But his driving is decidedly old-school. Power from the turbocharged V6 is plentiful, and it’s surprisingly responsive considering its hauling around a massive vehicle approaching 6,000 pounds. This part does not require any update. Steering, on the other hand, is another story. You can fully feel the Navigator’s mass through the steering wheel, especially when cornering at highway speeds. The wheel feels too thin and the steering resistance too light to ride such a monster, requiring constant adjustment around Arizona mountain turns during my test. It quickly became tiring. I found it preferable to activate the lane-keeping driving aid as a supplement because it provides additional steering assistance and reduces the effort required of the driver.
Another area of give-and-take is suspension. Every 2022 Navigator comes with adaptive suspension, which can adjust stiffness to feel more comfortable or sportier on the road depending on the drive mode selected. New for 2022 is Road Preview, which uses a front-facing camera to “read” the road ahead and adjust the suspension as you approach cracks and potholes. This feature works well to smooth out bumps in the road and help keep the Navigator stable and balanced.
The problem is with the small imperfections. These obviously went through the cabin during my test and didn’t seem to fit a luxury SUV over $100,000. Part of that is probably due to my high-end Black Label tester. The Black Label comes standard with large 22-inch wheels wrapped in low-profile tires, and those likely worsen ride quality on rough roads. On top of the range Black Label trim that’s supposed to offer the ultimate in luxury, it’s a disappointment.
Does ActiveGlide hands-free driving work?
ActiveGlide is the name of Lincoln’s hands-free driving system, which enables level 2 semi-automated driving by supporting throttle, brakes and steering under certain conditions. It’s an offshoot of Ford’s system, called BlueCruise, and works much the same. (The only change is that Lincoln needed to install additional sensors in order to prepare a vehicle as large as the Navigator for this capability.) Click here to read our step-by-step guide on how to use ActiveGlide in a 2022 Navigator.
ActiveGlide can be used on about 130,000 highway miles across the country, according to Lincoln. I was able to sample the feature on a route about 20 miles outside of Phoenix during my test. As with BlueCruise, the ActiveGlide system is reassuring, confident and smooth. It deftly handled acceleration, braking and transitions – like sharp corners that require deceleration, or other vehicles entering and leaving the Navigator’s lane – to a surprising degree given the size of the Navigator. It can be disconcerting to take your hands completely off the wheel, but ActiveGlide works well enough to ease your worries in minutes. Warning: the system sometimes orders you to take back control without explanation and with only a brief warning. So stay alert.
The Navigator is a capable toy hauler, with a maximum towing capacity of 8,700 pounds carried over from the 2021 model. While that figure hasn’t changed, Lincoln has added several useful towing features to enhance the experience, many of which were borrowed from Ford’s F-Series full-size trucks.
The available Lincoln Co-Pilot360 2.0 Trailering Package includes Pro Trailer Backup Assist. It’s the feature popularized in the F-150 that has a rotary knob instead of the steering wheel that you use to turn the Navigator while backing a trailer. For 2022, you no longer need to apply a checkered sticker to the trailer for the system’s cameras and sensors to recognize the load. There is also an overhead camera view which will show the angle the trailer should take at your current steering position.
Finally, there are additional rear-facing camera angles for viewing the trailer in motion, and you can choose to magnify one camera on the center touchscreen over the other if you prioritize that view. . These are small features, but we found them extremely useful on the F-Series trucks. Click here to watch our towing comparison between the Ford F-150 and Toyota Tundra for reference.
There’s a lot of glitz and circumstance around the 2022 Navigator. Both Black Label models I drove came in striking color choices and included cool laser-etched patterns along the wooden dash. With the Constellation digital theme, bright touchscreen and ActiveGlide technology, the Navigator does a great job of dazzling drivers and passengers alike.
But at a certain point, it becomes performative. While the Navigator excites in some ways, it disappoints in others. In addition to the chattering ride, there are also some hard plastics visible in some interior areas. The leather touchpoints could be softer and the metal dials feel flimsy and inauthentic. Yes, the Navigator starts at $78,405 with destination, but the Black Label climbs to $104,675 before adding four-wheel drive or the longer wheelbase. As for the models we drove, the Central Park cost $109,040 with options and the Invitation cost $115,845. It’s well-equipped Mercedes-Benz GLS or Range Rover territory. Lincoln may not have aimed for refinement equal to these models, but that makes it hard to swallow prices that do.