2020 Lincoln Navigator Review
  • Car Review

2020 Lincoln Navigator Review

By Autolist Editorial | August 11, 2020

Summary

The 2020 Lincoln Navigator is a full-size luxury three-row SUV. It competes with other luxury SUVs such as the Toyota Land Cruiser, Cadillac Escalade, Land Rover Range Rover, Infiniti QX80, BMW X7, Lexus LX and Mercedes-Benz GLS-Class.

The Navigator shares its platform with the Ford Expedition though the two don't compete due to the Ford's lower price point. The Navigator sits at the top of Lincoln's SUV line, reflected in its size and price.

A fourth-generation, completely redesigned Navigator bowed for the 2018 model year, replacing a version that had been largely unchanged since 2007.

For 2020, Lincoln added some new exterior paint and trim options, the Lincoln Co-Pilot 360 suite of active safety features (automated emergency braking, blind-spot monitoring, pedestrian detection, and lane-keep assist), and a longer list of standard features (heated and cooled front seats, power running boards, wireless smartphone charging, and Lincoln's new 'Phone-as-key' functionality).

The Navigator has always been an imposing vehicle, but a lengthy period between updates previously kept it as a weak rival to many other large luxury SUVs. With a plethora of safety and luxury features, plus a striking and contemporary design, that is no longer the case.


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Exterior

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The 2020 Lincoln Navigator is one of the largest full-size luxury SUVs available. And an extended length model makes it look even more massive.

The standard length model is 210 inches long, about the size of most full-size, four-door pickup trucks. The extended L variant is nearly 12 inches longer than that, although most of it goes to a much more accommodating cargo area, something those looking to carry up to eight people and their luggage may want to consider, even though the standard Navigator already offers some of the best cargo space numbers among three-row luxury SUVs.

The overall shape of the Navigator is quite boxy like a traditional SUV, but some soft edges give it a modern styling touch, a far cry from most of the SUVs from past decades. And Lincoln has also embellished the Navigator with design cues from the company's smaller vehicles, the Continental sedan in particular, with its stylized wheels (available 22-inch wheels are particularly imposing) and in its distinctive lighting elements.

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Furthermore, the Navigator's exterior is also very differentiated from the related Ford Expedition, which isn't something that could always be said.


Interior Quality and Comfort

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Interior quality has been elevated from previous generation Navigators and has met other traditionally better competitors. Materials are excellent throughout the cabin, and the interior has advanced to the luxurious feel that competing BMW, Lexus and Mercedes-Benz models offer.

Seating comfort is another high point, with one noting that the second row is similar to the front seats in terms of legroom and comfort. Lincoln's Perfect Position seats allow unparalleled levels of comfort for almost any passenger. A massage function for the front seats is also available.

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The only comfort-related complaint we had was the slight body roll around corners and slightly bouncy ride over larger bumps, especially in the Sport mode.


Utility & Practicality

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The Navigator scores highly for usability thanks to its generous size and good interior packaging, as well as a generous towing capacity that customers in this segment tend to demand.

Cargo capacity is just over 103 cubic feet available when the second and third-row seats are folded down. There are 57.5 cubic feet available with the third row folded, and 19.3 cubic feet are available with all seats in the upright positions. The extended-wheelbase Navigator L adds even more cargo area, with 120 cubic feet in total space, and 36 cubic feet with all of the seats raised.

Electrically folding second and third-row seats aid in the Navigator's practicality, but the second-row center console prevents a genuinely flat cargo area that some rivals offer. Small item interior storage is plentiful with many large and small storage compartments and cupholders scattered throughout the cabin.

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Cargo and passenger entry are both easy as door and liftgate openings are all large and square. Liftover height for the rear cargo area is slightly high due to the Navigator's ground clearance, and some may have to step up into the SUV rather than slide into it, which is typical of many vehicles of this size. Towing capacity is rated at 8,300 pounds, which is best in the class, and useful for shoppers who want to regularly pull large objects.

While most versions of the Navigator offer four-wheel-drive, it doesn't offer nearly the same off-road abilities of something like a Range Rover.


Technology & Infotainment

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The Navigator is loaded with most of the technology and infotainment features that the top rivals offer in this class.

The SYNC 3 Infotainment system is operated by a 10-inch touchscreen display. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are also standard along with a Wi-Fi hotspot, navigation system, a 14-speaker Revel audio system, and satellite radio. The infotainment system is easy to use and responsive, and the large 10-inch screen is noted to make men options very readable.

Other notable technology features include a rear seat entertainment system, a hands-free power liftgate, adaptive suspension, wireless device charging, head-up display, three-zone automatic climate controls, power running boards, a 360-degree camera system, and parking assist system.


Safety & Driving Assistance

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration awarded the 2020 Lincoln Navigator an overall crash test rating of five out of five stars, and four stars in the rollover test. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, however, has not tested this new generation of Navigator.

Standard safety features include traction control, cruise control, a rearview camera, blindspot monitoring, and rear cross-traffic alert. Optional safety features include adaptive cruise control, a 360-degree camera, automatic emergency braking, forward collision warning, lane keep assist, automatic high beam headlights, and an automated parking system.

For 2020, Lincoln upped the Navigator's safety quotient by including more standsrd safety features. They include automatic emergency braking, blind-spot monitoring, pedestrian detection, and lane-keep assist. These features are now rolled under Lincoln's Co-Pilot 360 suite of technologies.


Driving Experience

With a curb weight of three tons, the Lincoln Navigator impresses with its balanced combination of excellent ride comfort, handling, and power.

The Lincoln Navigator is only available with one engine option and is paired to a 10-speed automatic transmission. Its 3.5-liter twin-turbocharged V6 engine produces 450 horsepower and 510 lb.-ft. of torque. While that's ample power for this type of vehicle, some rivals offer V8 engines.

Yet you wouldn't know this isn't a V8 based on its power. The V6 works seamlessly with the 10-speed transmission to provide impressively smooth power whenever you need it.

Meanwhile, the steering has a light touch, which adds to the Navigator's maneuverability. Braking is smooth, and pedal feel is consistent and firm.

Shoppers should remember that premium fuel is recommended for the engine to perform at its peak efficiency and performance. Regular unleaded fuel is OK, though some have seen a difference in how the Navigator acts when towing and climbing steep hills depending on the grade of fuel.


Fuel efficiency

The Navigator achieves an EPA-estimated fuel economy rating of 16 mpg in the city and 23 mpg highway in standard, rear-wheel-drive format. Going for the extended-length L model decreases the highway fuel economy by 1 mpg. Adding four-wheel-drive to either the regular or extended Navigator reduces fuel economy to 16 mpg city and 22 mpg highway.

The Navigator achieves a combined 19 mpg combined. For comparison, the BMW X7 xDrive40i returns a class-topping 22 mpg combined, and the Mercedes-Benz GLS 450 returns 18 mpg. Other similarly sized SUVs do worse for fuel economy, even if it isn't a major consideration for shoppers in this class.


Pricing & Value

The Lincoln Navigator provides a good value to buyers, especially considering the starting prices of its competition, the number of features it offers, and its all-around utility. Also, its luxury and power are competitive with major rivals, all while offering a distinctive style.

Its starting price is very competitive for the large luxury SUV segment. Top-of-the-line models undercut many competitors that offer fewer features and less practicality. Class-leading fuel economy only bolsters the Navigator's value, further reducing overall running costs.

The long-wheelbase L, which provides additional interior cargo space, is available as a $3,200 option on all trims except the base Navigator.

Second-row captain's chairs are standard on all Navigator trims with an optional bench seat, allowing for eight passengers rather than seven.

The Lincoln Navigator is available in four different trim options:

The Lincoln Navigator Base: starts at $74,500, including destination, for the rear-wheel-drive model or just over $77,000 with four-wheel-drive.

Standard features on the Base Navigator include 20-inch alloy wheels, LED headlights, power-adjustable front seats, driver memory seat, heated front seats, power adjustable steering wheel, a power liftgate, three-zone automatic climate control, leather seats, power folding rear seats, and a 14-speaker Revel audio system.

Technology features included are the SYNC 3 infotainment system with a 10-inch touchscreen display, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, six USB ports, blind spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, and a navigation system.

The Lincoln Navigator Select starts at $78,850 when equipped with rear-wheel-drive, and $82,045 when equipped with four-wheel-drive. The Navigator L is an additional $3,200.

The Select features 22-inch wheels, power running boards, wireless device charging capability, a 360-degree camera system, and adaptive suspension as standard.

Optional features include a panoramic sunroof, messaging front seats, and a rear entertainment system.

The Technology Package is also optional and includes adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning, lane keep assist, forward collision warning, pedestrian detection, active parking assist, and a heads-up display.

The Lincoln Navigator Reserve: starts at $86,500 and comes standard with four-wheel-drive.

A panoramic sunroof, ventilated front seats, and everything included in the Technology Package are standard. Reserve buyers can opt for massaging front seats, a rear entertainment system, and a 20-speaker audio system as extras.

The top-of-the-line Lincoln Navigator Black Label starts at $97,690. It also comes standard with four-wheel-drive and is available in an extended-length L version as well.

Standard features include all features from the previous trims plus 30-way adjustable front seats, upgraded interior leather upholstery, and the upgraded 20-speaker audio system. The rear seat entertainment system remains an option on the Black Label.

Fully loaded, a 2020 Lincoln Navigator Black Label will cost around $105,000.

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