2020 Lincoln Navigator

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2020
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2020
The Car Connection

The Car Connection Expert Review

Martin Padgett Martin Padgett Editorial Director
August 1, 2019

Buying tip

With active safety features standard this year, the Navigator is better value than ever, so consider a lower trim model.

The 2020 Lincoln Navigator makes a massive statements with its style, its power and its exceptional interior.

The 2020 Lincoln Navigator marks a return to form for American luxury SUVs. It’s a massive, stylish land yacht that makes no apologies for its glitz and opulence. It’s easily Lincoln’s best current model, and the most comfortable vehicle to wear the badge in decades. We give it 7.4 out of 10 overall. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

For 2020, the Navigator gets a few changes to keep it fresh, including a smartphone-based key and a suite of active safety features including blind-spot monitors, adaptive cruise control, automatic emergency braking, and active lane control as standard. A new Monochromatic Trim line for Reserve models limits paint choices to just white or black with an interior to match. Finally, heated and cooled front seats now come standard too, as well as power running boards and a wireless phone charger.

Almost nothing on the road has quite as much presence as the Navigator. The massive SUV blends sleek, sharp character lines with big statement pieces like the huge grille, bright LED headlights, and full-width taillight design. Black Label models turn up the drama with turbine-style wheels and unique interior touches. The Navigator also sports one of Ford’s best interiors ever; it’s filled with high-quality switchgear, bright and interesting displays, and plenty of color choices. It’s both ultra-modern and thoughtfully retro at the same time.

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The Navigator comes in base, select, Reserve, and Black Label trims, but every model comes with a 3.5-liter twin-turbo V-6 with an energetic 450 horsepower and 510 pound-feet of torque. With a 10-speed automatic transmission and either front- or all-wheel-drive, the Navigator can haul or tow just about anything a full-size pickup can: Maximum towing capacity is 8,700 pounds with an upgraded rear hitch (8,100 pounds without).

Thanks to an independent rear suspension design and adaptive shocks and steering, the Navigator feels more maneuverable than its size would suggest, and more confident on the road than its chief rivals from GM.

Available in either standard or extended-wheelbase Navigator L form, all versions seat up to eight occupants, seven with captain’s chairs in the second row. The cabin is well-appointed and plush, and the optional 30-way front seats make it almost impossible not to find a comfortable seating position. With a digital gauge cluster, a surround-view camera system, optional 4G LTE Wi-Fi, an upgraded 20-speaker Revel audio system, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, and an available rear seat entertainment system that can stream Sling TV, the Navigator is a world-class road trip vehicle, especially for families.

Now with active safety features standard, the Navigator is one of the safest full-size luxury SUVs, with five stars all around from the federal government with only one star missing in the rollover category, typical of large SUVs. Fuel economy, however, does not fare so well, as even the thriftiest rear-wheel-drive mode only makes 19 mpg combined.

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2020 Lincoln Navigator

Styling

The 2020 Lincoln Navigator is sharp on the outside but downright stunning on the inside.

Though based on the Ford Expedition, the 2020 Lincoln Navigator adopts a style and presence all its own and looks great doing it. We give it 9 out of 10 with special consideration for its retro-inspired interior. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

The Navigator makes no apologies for being gigantic and looks better for embracing its size. Its long, straight belt and roof lines are reminiscent of a Range Rover. The front end drips with just the right amount of chrome, and while the grille is about the size of the six-burner on your patio, big LED headlights and an optional light-up badge break up the monolithic look. The rear end sports a trendy full-width taillight design with plenty of chrome in the middle, and while it’s certainly a statement, it’s our least favorite part of the design.

The interior is the Navigator’s true standout feature, however, with a beautiful blend of retro and modern design elements that set it apart from all other large luxury SUVs. High-resolution digital gauge cluster and infotainment screens are pleasing to look at and easy to use, and nearly every instrument is finished with chrome. There’s no shortage of wood trim on certain interior specs, and it works for this Lincoln in a way that hasn’t been seen since the ‘70s.

Black Label models feature different themes such as Chalet and Yacht Club, which add distinctive color choices and trim. The Yacht Club interior really stands out with its light blue leather and creamy accents, but it’s certainly not for all buyers. 

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2020 Lincoln Navigator

Performance

The 2020 Lincoln Navigator sports big turbo power and plenty of capability, not to mention a more comfortable ride from its independent suspension setup.

A big luxury SUV needs big power, and the 2020 Lincoln Navigator delivers despite being down on cylinder count compared to its rivals. We give it 7 out of 10, with two extra points for its Category 4 drivetrain. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

The Navigator shares a powerplant with the Ford Expedition (and F-150, for that matter). It’s a 3.5-liter twin-turbocharged V-6 with 450 horsepower and 510 pound-feet of torque. You’ll never miss the former V-8s, because this engine generates a wave of power like a speedboat, and it only relents when it runs into an aerodynamic wall. 

A 10-speed automatic transmission is the only available gearbox. It was jointly developed by Ford and GM engineers, but Ford seems to have made better use of it in the vehicles we’ve tested, including the Navigator. Downshifts are frequent and somewhat annoying, but with paddle shifters and a smooth operation, this gearbox is suited for an SUV this large.

Maximum towing capacity stands at 8,700 pounds with the upgraded hitch package, and 8,100 pounds without it, edging out GM’s trio of SUVs by a few hundred pounds despite the lack of a solid rear axle.

Though four-wheel-drive is available, don’t mistake the Navigator for an off-roader, but Lincoln’s traction and stability systems get the job done. Drivers can select snow/ice/sad, rock crawling, bad weather, fuel economy, and sport driving modes which are accompanied by pleasant animations on the digital gauge cluster.

Thanks to its independent suspension, the Navigator rides and handles better than its chief rivals from GM, and adaptive dampers soak up most road imperfections with aplomb. Though weighing in at over three tons, the Navigator is smooth and composed, and steering feel is light for such a large vehicle. Even on 22-inch Black Label wheels, the suspension soaks up extra vibrations, but turning radius is a massive 40+ feet, and worse for the longer L model.

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10

2020 Lincoln Navigator

Comfort & Quality

The 2020 Lincoln Navigator is as posh and spacious as American vehicles come.

Fine materials and cavernous space make for a pretty perfect comfort experience in our eyes, earning the 2020 Lincoln Navigator 10 out of 10 possible points. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

Even in base trim, the standard front seats split the difference between soft and supportive, remaining comfortable for long drives thanks to the myriad adjustments it offers. Higher-trim Navigators sport the wild 30-way seats that even allow individual leg cushion adjustment, and while they are supremely comfortable, they feel like overkill compared to the perfectly comfortable standard seats.

The second row features an available bench or individual captains’ chairs that offer plenty of leg and headroom, especially compared to the Escalade and siblings. The third row is easily accessible thanks to a clever sliding second row, and also offers plenty of space for adults though headroom is compromised slightly.

Each row has multiple USB charging points, and with comforts like optional dual entertainment screens with available Sling TV streaming capability and 4G LTE Wi-Fi, the Navigator is one of the best people-carrying vehicles on the market. Seating for up to 8 occupants is possible with a second-row bench seat selected.

With both rear rows folded flat, the Navigator holds 103.3 cubic feet of stuff (120.2 in long-wheelbase L form) and offers more cargo space behind the third row than rivals. The load floor is also significantly lower than the GM trio thanks to the independent rear suspension design.

Even base Navigators feature fine materials and a stunning design, but the Black Label models add soft leather, wood trim, metal accents and big screens that throw shade at Bentley’s Bentayga, at a fraction of the price.

Heated and cooled front seats now come standard, as do power running boards to ease entry and egress without compromising ground clearance.

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2020 Lincoln Navigator

Safety

Full crash-test data isn’t yet available, but the 2020 Lincoln Navigator has more standard active safety features.

The 2020 Lincoln Navigator manages surprisingly good crash test scores from the federal government, but without IIHS data, we’re unable to give it a rating here. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

The NHTSA saw fit to award the 2019 model five stars overall, with a surprisingly good four stars in the rollover category, uncommon for large SUVs and trucks. The 2020 model should receive the same scores, and will likely fare even better in the safety department with the addition of active safety features as standard this year.

For 2020, blind-spot monitors, adaptive cruise control, automatic emergency braking, and active lane control are all standard. Lincoln also offers an optional surround-view camera system, a head-up display, automatic high-beam headlights, and active parking assist.

While many large SUVs and trucks receive subpar safety scores and charge for active features as extra, the Navigator stands apart for families searching for a safe, truck-based luxury SUV.

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2020 Lincoln Navigator

Features

The 2020 Lincoln Navigator is now better-equipped as standard, and Black Label models feel worth the nearly six-figure price tag.

The 2020 Lincoln Navigator is a return to form for the American brand, and nowhere is that clearer than the features list. We give it 8 out of 10 in this category. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

While the base price rests around $75,000—serious cash for an American vehicle—the Navigator offers decent value at the price. However, if brand is no object, we suggest checking out the more humble but similarly-equipped Ford Expedition. However, with the addition of standard active safety features, power running boards, and heated and ventilated front seats for 2020, the Navigator is now better value than ever.

Standard equipment includes power features, automatic climate control, 4G LTE Wi-Fi, a digital gauge cluster, satellite navigation, keyless ignition, a power liftgate, leather upholstery, captain’s chairs in the second row, and 20-inch alloy wheels. A 10-inch infotainment screen features a classed-up version of Ford’s Sync 3 system and comes with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility. Fourteen Revel speakers can be found throughout, with the option for an excellent 20-speaker system up the range.

The Navigator also features four 12-volt outlets, six USB ports, and a 110-volt household outlet, and an available rear seat entertainment system features two big screens with optional Sling TV streaming capability.

We usually would recommend either the Select trim or the Reserve, but stick with us here. Select models add 22-inch wheels and a surround-view camera system, and options include a panoramic roof, rear seat entertainment, increased towing capacity, and 30-way front seats. Reserve models get a panoramic roof and rear seat center console, as well as a light-up Lincoln badge up front. Options include the excellent 20-speaker Revel audio system and a cargo management system, among other goodies.

But why stop at over the top? At nearly six figures, the Black Label model is a moonshot, but pulls it off with grace and style. Three interior themes—including snowy Chalet, woodsy destination, and vintage Yacht Club—look divine, while 22-inch turbine wheels and nearly every feature imaginable make the Navigator Black Label a true luxury SUV. Some suspect buttons and trim pieces remain in comparison to European rivals, but none can match the cachet and capability of the Lincoln for the price.

The Navigator comes with a 4-year/50,000-mile warranty, with 6 years or 70,000 miles of coverage for the powertrain. Other luxury brands bundle in some service during the warranty, but you have to buy a Black Label to get that with the Navigator.

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2020 Lincoln Navigator

Fuel Economy

The 2020 Lincoln Navigator is a big, thirsty SUV, no matter how you slice it.

The 2020 Lincoln Navigator is no fuel miser despite many gears and forced induction, so we give it 3 out of 10 here. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

Though 2020 figures are not out just yet, last year’s Navigator managed 16 city, 23 highway, and 19 combined mpg with rear-wheel drive, while four-wheel-drive dropped those figures to 16/21/18 mpg. The long-wheelbase L model also sees a slight hit with rear-wheel drive, managing 16/22/18 mpg.

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8.5
Overall
Expert Rating
Rating breakdown on a scale of 1 to 10?
Styling 9
Performance 7
Comfort & Quality 10
Safety N/A
Features 8
Fuel Economy N/A
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2020 Lincoln Navigator Pricing Insights

  • 2019 Navigator in stock; 2020s arriving
  • No factory cash offers yet
  • Lease a 2019 from $788 for 39 months
  • Get 0% APR for 48 months on 2019s
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