The Lincoln Navigator is a full-size luxury SUV that can seat up to eight occupants. Based on the Ford Expedition, which itself is based on the Ford F-150, the Navigator directly competes with the Cadillac Escalade.
All Navigators are powered by a 3.5-liter, twin-turbocharged V6 engine producing 450 horsepower and 510 pound-feet of torque. That brawn is channeled through a 10-speed automatic transmission that can send power to the rear wheels, or all four of them on models equipped with all-wheel drive.
With rear-wheel drive, the EPA estimates the Navigator to achieve 16 miles per gallon in the city and 23 mpg highway. The longer-wheelbase Navigator L is rated at 16/22 city/highway mpg, while the all-wheel-drive Navigator comes in at 16/21 city/highway mpg.
Thanks to its massive footprint, the Navigator's cargo space is equally gargantuan, with up to 103.3 cubic feet in the standard-wheelbase Navigator, and as much as 120.2 cubic feet in the Navigator L.
Standard tech features include Ford's Sync 3 infotainment on a 10-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, plus satellite radio, embedded navigation and 4G LTE Wi-Fi. Standard driver-assistance features include blind spot monitoring, cross-traffic alert, rain-sensing wipers, plus front and rear parking sensors.
Why do American automakers flounder when tasked with creating a luxury vehicle that has to compete with the Germans? It always seems like Uncle Sam has a hard time meeting muster when compared to anything beyond his own shores. But no more. The latest Lincoln Navigator dramatically ramps up the effort, bringing a level of fancy-pants-iness that is truly world class.
All of Lincoln's latest SUVs have really ramped up the effort, but nowhere is that more apparent than on the flagship Navigator in its top Black Label configuration. The Navigator on my driveway carries the new-for-2021 Special Edition package, a $6,695 upgrade that adds more exterior flavor through a black-and-white motif that includes a black roof, a black roof rack, black wheels and a monochromatic grille alongside Pristine White paint. It's a good look, but man, that's a big chunk of change for some mild add-ons. No matter the package, though, the Navigator strikes an imposing shadow -- and not just because it's the size of a Chicago brownstone.
The 2021 Navigator Black Label's interior is amazing. It's the best-appointed American luxury car I've had the pleasure to drive, and it's every bit as posh as what you'll find at a Mercedes dealership. This one carries the Black Label "Destination" theme, which is meant to represent French elegance, I think, somehow. But I don't need a marketing degree to appreciate this stunning full-red leather interior, which plays well with the dashes of similarly colored trim on the dashboard, doors and center console. While the Cadillac Escalade puts in little effort to hide its parts-bin engineering (you can find the steering wheel buttons on, like, half the cars GM makes), every piece of the Navigator feels special, from the metal rocker switches on the steering wheel to the knurled volume knob on the center console. Nearly every surface is either padded or leather-lined.
The Good ~ Plush interior appointments ~ Interesting color schemes ~ Quiet, comfortable cruising
The Bad ~ Truckish ride quality sometimes ~ Thirsty ~ Loud massagers and other trifles
The Bottom Line The 2021 Lincoln Navigator is one of the best luxury SUVs to come from the US, giving the Germans a proper run for their money.
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