2021 Lincoln Navigator

Consumer Reviews
0 Reviews
2020
The Car Connection
2020
The Car Connection

The Car Connection Expert Review

Martin Padgett Martin Padgett Editorial Director
September 19, 2020

Buying tip

Now that active safety features are standard, the base Navigator becomes a better value.

The 2021 Lincoln Navigator makes hard work look effortless with its lavish cabin and its twin-turbo V-6.

What kind of car is the 2021 Lincoln Navigator? What does it compare to?

The 2021 Lincoln Navigator is a luxury full-size SUV that can seat up to eight passengers. It’s a big, stylish cruiser married to an all-weather towing machine, one that makes no apologies for its opulence and glitzy look. Its rivals include the Cadillac Escalade and Lexus LX.

What's new for the 2021 Lincoln Navigator?

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For 2021, the Navigator drops a few paint colors, and that’s about it. It didn’t need to change: few vehicles have its presence or its unabashedly retro-meets-modern look. 

Is the 2021 Lincoln Navigator a good car?

It’s one of our favorite luxury SUVs, including some that cost twice as much. We give it 7.4 out of 10 overall. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

The Navigator’s a sleek and attractive SUV from the outside, a stunning luxury situation inside, with touchscreens galore and chrome trim by the yard. 

The big Lincoln straps on a twin-turbo V-6 with 450 horsepower for energetic acceleration that’s sport-sedan quick. It flips around the gears in its 10-speed transmission to deliver locomotive strength to the rear or all four wheels, with predictably low fuel economy the only downside. It rides admirably well even when it’s on 22-inch wheels, and steers with conviction even when its massive, nearly-three-ton body shouldn’t want to corner well. It’s a certified pain to park in small spots thanks to a turning radius of more than 40 feet, but it’ll tow up to 8,700 pounds and look fabulous doing it. It even crash-tests well, according to the NHTSA, and seating ranges from sublime to stupid-comfortable, thanks to available 30-way power front seats and an adult-sized third-row bench.

How much does the 2021 Lincoln Navigator cost?

Prices range from about $80,000 in base trim to more than $100,000 in Black Label form. The Navigator comes in standard and long-wheelbase L form, with seats for seven or eight, and standard 10.0-inch touchscreen infotainment with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility. Also standard: automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, blind-spot monitors, and active lane control, as well as a digital gauge cluster and a surround-view camera system. The most pricey versions ladle on features like gravy: 20-speaker Revel audio, rear-seat entertainment system that can stream Sling TV, and designer Black Label themes that come with concierge maintenance and lovely selections of wood and leather.

Where is the Lincoln Navigator made?

In Louisville, Kentucky.

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2021 Lincoln Navigator

Styling

Sharp on the outside, the Navigator’s stunning inside.

Is the Lincoln Navigator a good-looking SUV?

With a square-jawed stance like that of the Ford Expedition, the Lincoln Navigator has a presence and a style all its own. It rummages through the heritage closet for a subtle and handsome body and a stunning, retro-themed cabin. It’s a 9 here.

The Navigator embraces its size, no apologies, and it wins. The long, straight lines across the roof and belt lines make it resemble a scaled-up Range Rover. Chrome drips across the front end in perfect amounts, and the grille’s big enough to wear a Big Green Egg badge. LED headlights and taillights sign off on the concept with a flourish. It’s a statement piece of jewelry that wears statement pieces of jewelry.

Fine, but the Navigator cockpit spins the dial to stunning. It’s beautifully composed of modern and retro design elements, a step above big luxury SUVs that pare down their looks to a fault. Bentley could learn something about the taste line straddled by the Lincoln, what with its big high-resolution screens and slabs of chrome and wood. Go right to the Black Label themes for the best interiors Ford has ever offered; the Chalet and Destination wear like high-end couture but the Yacht Club dresses with vintage runway perfection, from its blue leather to its creamy wood accents.

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2021 Lincoln Navigator

Performance

Twin-turbo power pairs with a cushy ride in the Navigator.

You won’t miss a V-8 in the Lincoln Navigator. Its surge of twin-turbo power teams with a smart suspension to create one of the car world’s best long-distance drivers. We give it a 7 for performance, with extra points for its punchy drivetrain and its well-cushioned ride.

How fast is the Lincoln Navigator?

F-150s and Ford Expeditions may share the Navigator’s 3.5-liter twin-turbocharged V-6, but here it’s tuned to 450 hp and 510 lb-ft of torque, enough to gun to 60 mph in less than seven seconds, easily. The twin-turbo V-6 generates power like a hydroelectric dam and only gives up pushing when the Navigator’s bluff face calls it a draw with aerodynamics.

Is the Lincoln Navigator 4WD?

It can be, for a price. Power heads to the rear or all four wheels through a 10-speed automatic transmission, which shifts down and up frequently, though smoothly. Direct control via paddle shifters is possible. Lots of things are possible. The Navigator can tow up to 8,700 pounds, which we think will be put to the test more often than paddle shifting.

The Navigator’s home on the road, not on the range, despite clever available four-wheel drive with traction modes for snow/ice/sand, bad weather, rock crawling, fuel economy, and sporty driving. 

With adaptive dampers and an independent suspension, the Navigator handles and rides better than its rivals. It cruises with aplomb down interstates, hardly bothered by even the biggest pavement seams and potholes. It weighs nearly three tons, and that helps it calm down the road even when it rides on 22-inch wheels—but the Navigator still has light steering feel and good directional stability. One downside: its turning radius is a massive 40+ feet, and gets worse with the long-wheelbase L model.

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2021 Lincoln Navigator

Comfort & Quality

The Navigator can hold its own, and then some.

The Navigator seats up to eight, carries up to 120.2 cubic inches of stuff, and does it with rare panache. It’s a 10 for us here.

Even at the bottom rung of the Navigator ladder, comfort excels. Standard leather-upholstered front seats have myriad adjustment to flex from supportive to soft where they need to be. The priciest models get 30-way power seats that move cushions to suit each leg. They’re overkill, sure, but...just take a seat and tell us you’d turn them down. Heating and cooling for the front seats comes standard, and Lincoln includes power running boards for easier access.

Row Two has a bench seat if you want, but most models will have twin captain’s chairs and plenty of leg, head, and knee room, enough for tall people to sit behind other tall people. It’s easier to get into Row Three thanks to Row Two’s sliding function, and even those same tall passengers will fit in the back. All seats are near cupholders and USB charging, and the back two rows can be entertained with dual entertainment screens.

The short-wheelbase Navigator can tote up to 103.3 cubic feet of stuff with the second- and third-row seats folded down; it’s 20.9 cubic feet behind the third row, and the Navigator has a reasonably low cargo floor and a power tailgate for convenience.

All Navigators have stunning interior looks and wear fine materials and a stunning design, but the Black Label edition’s themes decorate the cabin in rich tones or in soft white and blue leather. It’s stunning, Bentley-grade beauty.

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2021 Lincoln Navigator

Safety

The Navigator’s good in a crash.

How safe is the Lincoln Navigator?

The NHTSA gives the Navigator a five-star crash safety rating, but the IIHS has yet to test the big Lincoln SUV. We give it an 8 here, for its test scores, and its standard and available safety technology.

Lincoln fits every Navigator with standard adaptive cruise control, blind-spot monitors, active lane control, and automatic emergency braking. Lincoln also fits a surround-view camera system to some models, and offers a head-up display, active parking assist, and automatic high-beam headlights.

The only safety qualm we have is in outward vision. It’s not easy to see cars at the Navigator’s hind quarters.

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2021 Lincoln Navigator

Features

The Black Label Navigator earns its over-the-top sticker price.

The Navigator’s stocked as well as a speakeasy, and its infotainment system works for our touchy subjects. Missing on a point for value and one for warranty, it’s an 8 here.

Which Lincoln Navigator should I buy?

We recommend the most expensive one.

For about $80,000, the base Navigator comes with keyless start, a power tailgate, leather upholstery, 20-inch wheels, second-row captain’s chairs, and a 10.0-inch infotainment screen with 14 speakers and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility. Options include a 20-speaker sound system and twin-screen rear-seat entertainment.

In the mid-$80,000 range, the Navigator Reserve gets 22-inch wheels, a surround-view camera system, a panoramic sunroof, a light-up Lincoln badge, and options for 30-way power front seats and 20-speaker sound.

How much is a fully loaded 2021 Lincoln Navigator?

Why stop there? We’d spend headlong into a Navigator Black Label, and choose its blue Yacht Club interior (Chalet and Destination are other, lesser choices) and the L long-wheelbase body for the ne plus ultra American SUV experience. We’d be prepared to pay $100,000 for it.

The Navigator has a 4-year/50,000-mile warranty, but doesn’t offer free maintenance as some rivals do. It does offer concierge service calls and free car washes at the Black Label trim, though.

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2021 Lincoln Navigator

Fuel Economy

Big and Thirsty could be the Navigator’s name.

Is the Lincoln Navigator good on gas?

Heavens, no. The Navigator’s twin-turbo V-6 and hefty curb weight quaffs gas like humans use oxygen. The EPA rates it at 16 city, 22 highway, 19 combined mpg in rear-wheel-drive form, 16/21/18 mpg with four-wheel drive. The long-wheelbase L model with rear-wheel drive manages just 16/21/18 mpg. We give the Navigator a 3 here.

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7.5
Overall
Expert Rating
Rating breakdown on a scale of 1 to 10?
Styling 9
Performance 7
Comfort & Quality 10
Safety 8
Features 8
Fuel Economy 3
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