Large, luxury SUVs are still selling well in spite of all that is going on in the world. Temporary low gas prices probably help. You have few choices in the really large category: Cadillac Escalade, Infiniti QX80, and my weekly review vehicle, the Lincoln Navigator.
We went a long time without a restyled Navigator before the 2018 model, which was new from bumper-to-bumper and roof to road. Big changes then were a new and very attractive grill and LED headlights, 22” wheels, a higher beltline down the sides and smaller windows that give this all-aluminum SUV a much sleeker, modern exterior appearance. There have been no substantial changes since then, except some standard features added, like the power running boards and heated and cooled seats.
Pop open that big, long hood and you’ll find a 3.5-liter V6 twin-turbo Ecoboost engine that is putting out a very strong 450-horses, and 510-pound feet of torque. It is mated to a 10-speed automatic transmission. My Pristine White review vehicle is a 4-wheel drive, but you can get it in a 2-wheel version as well.
As beautiful as the exterior of the Navigator is, when you open the door to get inside this vehicle, you are overwhelmed for a moment. Lincoln went to extreme measures to make the Navigator the most luxurious large SUV ever produced by Ford, and I am not even reviewing the very top-of-the line model. The lineup starts with the Premiere, then you go up to the Select, then you go to the Reserve, which is what I have, and finally the Black Label.
Hit the start button and the Navigator comes to life with a 12” screen in the center of the dash that doubles as a driver information center. The large dash has very attractive stitching and between the two front seats is an incredible center console that is large, but doesn’t actually attach to the dash itself. There is storage underneath the console. This is one of those items that pictures do not do it justice; you just have to see it.
Above that is a 10” display that runs the audio system, Sync 3 voice activated navigation system, Bluetooth system, apps, and settings. It is reminiscent of an iPad turned sideways. You can swipe left, right, up, or down to easily navigate through everything, and it is also where you find the phenomenal 360-degree front and rear camera. Also included is a built-in Wi-Fi system that will run 10 different devices, a 110-volt power inverter, 6 USB ports, and 4 12-volt charging ports. There is a smart phone charger in the center console.
I have to try to adequately describe for you the optional Perfect Position seats. You can adjust them 30 different ways. There are 6 ways to adjust the track, 2 ways to recline, 4 ways to adjust the headrests, 2 ways to adjust upper back support, 4 ways to adjust the cushion extenders, 4 ways to adjust lumbar support, 4 ways to adjust thigh support, 2 ways to adjust back bolster, and 2 ways to adjust cushion bolster. You can raise your left or right leg to different heights for comfort.
Bottom line, if you have back issues, this is the SUV for you. If you cannot get comfortable in these luxurious seats, something is wrong. Both front seats will give you a massage. These seats and the Revel 20-speaker stereo are part of the Luxury Package, a $2500 option and worth every penny of it and would be a must-have option for me.
Standard Equipment and Options
As you would expect, the Navigator Reserve comes with a lot of standard equipment. Most notable free features include: hands-free power lift gate, heated and cooled front seats, 2nd row heated captain chairs, 3rd row power recliner and power fold flat seat, panoramic power sun roof, power adjustable gas and brake pedal, remote start, and power deployable running boards.
Also for free, you get auto hold (love this, you can take your foot off the brake when stopped, and it releases when you touch the gas pedal), blind spot warning, forward and reverse sensors, active noise control, heated steering wheel, and trailer towing package.
Another cool standard feature is Lincoln Approach/Farewell. As you get near, Navigator awakens with a graceful greeting. Lighting flows outward beneath the headlamps while the Lincoln Star on the grille lights up. Illuminated welcome mats light up the ground with the Lincoln logo, backlit door handles and the power deployable running boards drop down. The front door sill scuff plates and safety belt buckles also illuminate, while a field of stars dance across the instrument cluster. In an instant, Navigator recalls the memory settings for the audio, driver’s seat, side view mirrors, pedal positions, climate control preferences and more associated with your Personal Profile that you set up. All this happens before you actually reach the vehicle.
A couple of other things that set Navigator apart are it has the absolute best head-up display I’ve ever seen. It reads and lets you view speed limit signs, shows you how fast you are going, the time, and fuel range. I also love the shift buttons on the dash, eliminating a gear shifter on the center console. You can also choose from 6 different drive modes, and yes, you can turn off the start/stop system.
My tester has just a few options. Package 208A is a $3495 upgrade and gives this Navigator the monochromatic appearance on the exterior and the aforementioned head-up display, the beautiful paint job is a bargain at $695, and the Luxury Package I already mentioned for $2500.
Yes, the Navigator is large and it comes with capacity for 7 or 8 passengers. The Reserve has an incredible console between the second row captain chairs and looks very much like the cool front console. Perhaps where the Navigator shines the brightest is the 3rd row seat that was built for real adults. People well over 6-feet tall would be comfortable in the rear with really good head and legroom.
Ride and Drive
The Navigator rides, drives, and handles as good as it looks, and it is super quiet inside. If you are not aware, Lincoln now picks up your vehicle for you, drops off a loaner, and brings it back to you when you need service, a very nice perk for Lincoln customers.
Fuel Economy and What You’ll Pay
Large SUV owners are not generally too worried about fuel economy, but it’s not bad: 16 in town, 21 on the highway, and 18 combined. Base MSRP on my regular length Reserve 4-wheel drive is $84,035 and equipped like this one total MSRP is $92,020. That is a lot of money, but this is a helluva lot of SUV.
As a former Escalade owner, and someone who has praised the Escalade for a lot of years, the 2020 Navigator is a joy to drive. This should dominate the segment, at least until the 2021 Escalade comes out, then we’ll see.
2020 Lincoln Navigator Reserve Review
What I liked most: Everything, especially the seats and head-up display.
What I would change: I found nothing I did not love.
MSRP: Base price $84,035 as equipped $92,020.
Fuel Economy: 16 City/21 Highway, 18 combined.
Fuel Tank: 23 gallons with filler on the driver’s side.
Dimensions: 210” long/79.9” wide/76.3” high.
Weight: 5650 Pounds.
Trailer Towing: 8700 pounds
Miles When Tested: 6800 miles.
Official Color: Pristine White.
Spare tire: Full-sized spare.
Final Assembly Point: Louisville, Kentucky.
2020 Navigator in a few words: AMAZING large SUV with the most luxurious interior in its segment.
Warranty: 4-year/50,000 mile bumper-to-bumper, 6-year/70,000 mile power train warranty with roadside assistance, and free pickup and complimentary transportation.