2022 Lincoln Navigator Review Update

Christian Wardlaw, Independent Expert | Mar 04, 2022

Introduction - Find the best Lincoln deals!

Lincoln’s full-size flagship SUV, the Navigator, receives numerous changes for the 2022 model year to help it combat an onslaught of newer rivals. Though completely redesigned for 2018, just five years later, the 2022 Lincoln Navigator is now one of the oldest models in its admittedly small market segment.

Nevertheless, the Navigator has consistently ranked high in J.D. Power owner satisfaction studies. If not for a low sample of respondents in 2021, it would have led its segment in overall appeal for the third year in a row.

To ensure that Navigator owners remain satisfied, Lincoln makes several changes to the 2022 model:

  • Subtle exterior styling updates to the grille, headlights, taillights, and wheels
  • Upgraded brakes and adaptive-damping suspension
  • New standard Sync 4 infotainment system with a larger 13.2-inch touchscreen display and available 28-speaker Revel high-end audio system
  • New optional Lincoln Play rear-seat entertainment system with Amazon Fire TV streaming access
  • ActiveGlide hands-free driving technology debuts
  • Improved trailering and safety technologies
  • Available massaging second-row captain’s chairs
  • New Black Label themes and paint colors

For 2022, the lineup continues with standard and extended-wheelbase (Navigator L) models sold in Standard, Reserve, and Black Label trim. Black Label models come with curated design themes and equipment packages, plus an expanded list of ownership benefits and privileges.

Previously, J.D. Power reviewed the 2020 Lincoln Navigator in Reserve trim with the Monochromatic package. This review focuses on the Navigator’s updates for 2022 and how they potentially impact its overall appeal to consumers.

What Owners Say About the Lincoln Navigator - Find the best Lincoln deals!

2022 Lincoln Navigator L Reserve Front Quarter View

Photo: Christian Wardlaw

The Lincoln Navigator competes in the Large Premium SUV market segment. According to data collected from verified new-vehicle buyers for the J.D. Power 2021 Automotive Performance, Execution and Layout (APEAL) Study, 60 percent of new Lincoln Navigator buyers are male (vs. 68 percent for the segment), and the median age of a new Navigator buyer is 64 years (vs. 55).

As part of the APEAL Study, owners rated the Lincoln Navigator in 10 primary categories. Listed below in descending order, you’ll find their preferences from their most favorite thing about the vehicle to their least favorite:

  • Interior design
  • Driving feel
  • Exterior styling
  • Feeling of safety
  • Driving comfort (in a tie with Powertrain)
  • Powertrain (in a tie with Driving comfort)
  • Setting up and starting
  • Infotainment system
  • Getting in and out
  • Fuel economy

The Lincoln Navigator was not included in the official rankings in the 2021 APEAL Study due to the small sample size.

What Our Independent Expert Says About the Lincoln Navigator - Find the best Lincoln deals!

In the sections that follow, our independent expert analyzes a 2022 Navigator L Reserve equipped with the following options:

  • Four-wheel drive (4WD)
  • Extra-cost paint
  • Reserve I package
  • Second-row heated, ventilated, and massaging seats
  • Lincoln Play rear-seat entertainment system

The price of the test vehicle came to $102,615, including the $1,695 destination charge.

Next-Gen Sync 4 Infotainment System is Standard

2022 Lincoln Navigator L Reserve Sandstone Interior Dashboard Sync 4 Infotainment

Photo: Christian Wardlaw

Glance at the new 2022 Lincoln Navigator and you might not notice the subtle styling modifications. The interior remains largely the same, too—a good thing since verified Navigator owners tell J.D. Power the cabin is their favorite thing about the SUV.

However, there’s no missing the larger 13.2-inch touchscreen display mounted on the dashboard. The new screen is the interface for the 2022 Navigator’s latest Sync 4 infotainment system. It represents a substantial improvement in terms of graphics, responsiveness, and voice-recognition capabilities, and it accepts over-the-air software updates, so it will remain current over time.

Better yet, combined with the SUV’s digital instrumentation display and head-up display, Sync 4 contributes plenty of screen “acreage” to review, all with a calming new Constellation theme that mimics the look of twilight after sunset.

During the evaluation, Sync 4’s voice-recognition system responded accurately and promptly to most of my verbal requests. However, not all of my standard testing prompts resulted in the desired action, suggesting there is still room for improvement.

Otherwise, the infotainment system user experience should prove intuitive to anyone familiar with modern smartphones and tablet computers. Also, our test vehicle had Lincoln’s new 28-speaker Revel 3D high-end audio system, which includes four speakers mounted in the ceiling. Regardless of the type of music, it sounds terrific.

You Might Prefer to Ride Than Drive

At Lincoln’s invitation, I evaluated the new 2022 Navigator in Arizona, driving it from the Phoenix suburb of Scottsdale up to Payson at 5,000 feet of elevation. Before departure, the automaker shuttled me to the drive’s staging area, giving me half an hour to use the new Lincoln Play rear-seat entertainment system and experience the new second-row heated, ventilated, and massaging seats.

Lincoln Play equips the Navigator with dual 10.1-inch touchscreen displays and two sets of wireless headphones. For 2022, it adds Amazon Fire TV streaming capability, with quick access to Amazon Prime Video, Netflix, and Disney+. Don’t worry. Navigator owners can choose settings that will restrict certain types of content. This is good not only to ensure children cannot access inappropriate material but also because at night, the screens are plainly visible to anyone outside of the SUV.

Lincoln Play works just like the internet streaming technology you might already use in your home, and despite a sunny morning and the Navigator’s open panoramic sunroof, the rear display screens appeared to resist reflection and glare. Add the comfortable, massaging back seats, and rear-seat passengers are in for a treat.

In fact, you might prefer to ride in the new Lincoln Navigator than drive it.

Hand-Free Driving is Now a Reality in the 2022 Navigator

2022 Lincoln Navigator L ActiveGlide Display

Photo: Christian Wardlaw

Another new technology for the 2022 Navigator is Lincoln ActiveGlide, a semi-autonomous advanced driving assistance system that works in hands-free mode on approximately 130,000 miles of North American roads. Typically, the approved “Blue Zones” are limited-access, divided highways, such as Loop 202 in the metropolitan Phoenix area.

That’s where I got first-hand experience using ActiveGlide, and it’s every bit as impressive as Super Cruise from General Motors. On several of the bends in the freeway, ActiveGlide requested that I retake control of the SUV. Additionally, at one point, as the Navigator passed a slower vehicle in the next lane over, that motorist allowed their car to drift closer to the Lincoln, and I needed to steer the SUV further left to create more space.

Hands-free driving technology is a novelty today but will become increasingly commonplace tomorrow. However, drivers must pay attention at all times, which means fully self-driving vehicles remain years, if not decades, away. And to ensure you’re paying attention and not goofing off with your phone, there are driver monitoring systems onboard to ensure it. As I discovered in the Navigator, these monitoring systems can produce undesirable side effects.

Lincoln mounts the Navigator’s driver monitoring camera to the steering column. I found it was easy to accidentally block the monitor with my arm while driving with one hand on the steering wheel and using the regular adaptive cruise control with lane-centering assistance. This resulted in seemingly endless irritating reminders to pay closer attention to the road.

Also, within Blue Zones, you never know when you’ll encounter a situation requiring you to take control. That makes it hard to trust ActiveGlide (or Super Cruise in the Cadillac Escalade). In turn, the driver’s heightened state of alertness and uncertainty about when they’re suddenly going to be responsible for the vehicle could become tiring after a while.

I used ActiveGlide for about 20 minutes and did not experience any fatigue. However, as I drove back to Los Angeles that same evening in a 2022 Lincoln Nautilus with Lincoln Co-Pilot360 2.0 but without ActiveGlide, I realized that simply knowing that the vehicle was my responsibility regardless of the situation caused less stress than not knowing.

Minor Upgrades to the Ride, Handling, And Braking

For 2022, the Navigator continues with a twin-turbocharged 3.5-liter V6 engine making 440 horsepower and 510 pound-feet of torque, a 10-speed automatic transmission, and rear-wheel or 4WD. It has newly standard 20-inch aluminum wheels bolted to a 4-wheel independent adaptive damping suspension.

For 2022, Lincoln adds Road Preview technology to the adaptive suspension. This feature can see bumps, cracks, holes, and undulations in the road ahead and actively calibrate the suspension in advance to ensure the best ride and handling qualities. This means the 2022 Navigator is preparing for instead of reacting to road surface irregularities.

My evaluation vehicle had heavy 22-inch wheels wearing 285/45 tires. Normally, that short 45-series tire sidewall and substantial unsprung weight would wreak havoc on a big SUV’s ride quality. In the Navigator, jittery ride motions were not an issue. Granted, Phoenix and much of the surrounding areas feature smooth roads, but they’re not perfect. In spots where repairs were becoming necessary, the Navigator felt smoother to drive than it has in the past.

Additionally, Lincoln adds a new electronic brake booster to the 2022 Navigator. That component typically improves brake pedal feel and modulation, and I can report no complaints with the new Navigator’s brake pedal or system performance.

Independent Expert Opinion - Find the best Lincoln deals!

2022 Lincoln Navigator L Reserve Rear Quarter View

Photo: Christian Wardlaw

Navigator owners are already among the most satisfied in the Large Premium SUV segment. The changes Lincoln has made to its flagship model will undoubtedly help to ensure that in the years to come.

While I am not a fan of the 2022 Navigator’s new front styling, the rest of the SUV is mighty appealing, especially if you like mid-century modern furnishings and design. Plus, its twin-turbo powertrain supplies effortless acceleration, and its smooth and quiet ride and massaging seats help you arrive refreshed. Additionally, its generous cargo space and robust towing capacity give the Navigator genuine utility.

In all the ways that count the most, the 2022 Lincoln Navigator is the best yet.

Christian Wardlaw is a veteran digital automotive journalist with nearly 30 years of experience in test-driving vehicles. He has held editorial leadership roles with Edmunds, J.D. Power, the New York Daily News, and others. In addition to JDPower.com, his work has appeared in numerous new- and used-car buying guides, newspapers, and automotive industry trade journals, including Autotrader, Capital One Auto Navigator, CarGurus, Kelley Blue Book, WardsAuto, and more.

The opinions expressed in this review are the author’s own, not J.D. Power’s.

No portion of these reviews may be reproduced, distributed, publicly displayed, or used for a derivative work without J.D. Power’s written permission. © 2023 J.D. Power

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