Class: Premium Large SUV
Color: Chroma Caviar Dark Gray Metallic
Miles driven: 200.6
|CG Report Card|
|Room and Comfort||A|
|Power and Performance||B+|
|Fit and Finish||A|
|Report-card grades are derived from a consensus of test-driver evaluations. All grades are versus other vehicles in the same class. Value grade is for specific trim level evaluated, and may not reflect Consumer Guide’s impressions of the entire model lineup.|
|Big & Tall Comfort|
|Big & Tall comfort ratings are for front seats only. “Big” rating based on male tester weighing approximately 350 pounds, “Tall” rating based on 6’6″-tall male tester.|
|Engine Specs||440-hp 3.5L|
|Engine Type||Turbocharged V6|
|Drive Wheels||All-wheel drive|
Observed fuel economy: 16.2 mpg
Driving mix: 65% city, 35% highway
EPA-estimated fuel economy: 16/22/18 (mpg city/highway/combined)
Fuel type: Regular gas
Base price: $102,980 (not including $1695 destination charge)
Options on test vehicle: Special paint ($1750), 2nd-row captains chairs with massage function ($625)
Price as tested: $107,050
The great: Roomy, comfortable and classy cabin, quiet underway
The good: Buttoned-down driving dynamics, plenty of power, Doesn’t require expensive premium-grade gasoline
The not so good: Dull infotainment graphics, pricey in Black Label trim
Though I recoil from its price, and wish it was easier on the planet, I find it hard to fault the Cadillac Escalade as a luxury vehicle. It is roomy, comfortable, opulently appointed, and plenty powerful. And, when asked to consider a premium large SUV, it is always the Escalade that pops into my mind first.
Regrettably, I need to be reminded that Cadillac’s crosstown luxury rival Lincoln produces a premium big people mover that is arguably the Escalade’s equal in every measure, except, perhaps, being noticed.
There’s nothing truly brash about the Escalade, but it is bold; it’s presence is undeniable. Lincoln’s Navigator, however, boasts a more sophisticated, European look. And while it has presence, the big Lincoln blends in more easily that the Escalade on the road, and in parking lots.
Folks who spend more than $100,000 for a new vehicle may well consider attention part of the purchase/value equation. And, indeed, if being noticed is important to you, by all means, go with the Caddy. But if you are of a stealthier mindset, there’s a lot to like about the Navigator. Stealthier, and perhaps simpler.
For 2022 and 2023, there are just three Navigator trim levels available, compared to six price points for the Escalade. Navigator shoppers can choose from the base Standard model, or upgrade to midlevel Reserve and top-end Black Label. All trim levels are offered in standard-length and L configurations, the latter of which is fully 12-inches longer overall, with the added space going primarily to rear-seat legroom and the cargo area. Note that the standard-length Navigator is plenty spacious, and that the L can be a hassle to park and hustle through parking garages.
Navigator is offered with just one engine, a 440-horsepower 3.5-liter turbocharged V6. The engine mates to a 10-speed automatic transmission. Power is fed to the rear wheels, or, if so optioned, all of the wheels. Note that AWD is standard on Black Labels.
In additional to exterior color, Black Label buyers can choose from four fancifully named cabin “themes,” including: Chalét (tan with lots of wood), Yacht Club (blue leather with teak accents), Invitation (black with kyaha-wood accents), and Central Park (walnut leather with “urban”-green accents).
Updated for 2022, Lincoln’s biggest model features revised front and rear trim, updated cabin trim, and a new infotainment system with a larger touchscreen. There are no major updates for 2023.
Consumer Guide recently spent time with a 2022 standard-length Black Label with the Invitation Theme interior package. With the pricey-but-classy Chroma Caviar Dark Gray Metallic paint ($1750), and destination charge, our test vehicle came to $107,050. A considerable sum of money, but about where all of these big luxury rigs play pricewise.
As you slide into the truck, the first thing you notice—at least the first thing this author noticed—was the rich, natural-looking open-pore wood trim. There’s a lot of it, and it presents very well. The wood plays nicely with the perforated leather seats and bright-metal accents. This may all sound busy, but in reality, the look is restrained and sophisticated.
A single, large, dash-mounted touchscreen takes responsibility for most of infotainment functions, and its use is generally simple and intuitive. We did find the on-screen graphics a little lifeless, but they got the job done.
You would expect a truck of this size to serve up generous passenger accommodations, but the Navigator feels even roomier than its footprint might suggest. There is ample passenger space in all three seating rows, including adult-friendly seating in the 3rd row.
Underway the Navigator earns kudos for sound—what you hear, and what you don’t. Very little wind and road noise makes its way into the cabin, and easy 1st-to-3rd-row conversation is possible, even at highway speeds. As for what you hear, the available Revel audio system will delight owners who put a value on high-end sound reproduction.
The suspension deftly filters out road imperfections, though is biased slightly to a firmer ride experience. We found the ride appropriate for the character of this vehicle, but some shoppers may be looking for something cushier. Definitely take time for a test drive.
Though the Navigator defies being hustled, it handles better than anything this large should. We appreciate the steering feel—there is some—and the quick throttle response.
The turbocharged V6 produces plenty of passing and merging power, and launches the big Lincoln from a stop with authority. It also sounds great when pushed. The 10-speed automatic seems to always be in the right gear, and shifts with the refined polish of a European luxury sedan.
The Navigator is not an Escalade, but if you are shopping for the latter, consider the former. There is a quiet sophistication about the Navigator that the big Caddy can’t quite emulate. And as for all the seeming silliness of themed interior packages, we’re pretty taken with the Invitation Theme décor.
2022 Lincoln Navigator Black Label Gallery
(Click below for enlarged images)