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2022 Lincoln Navigator aims to keep up with big luxury – Car Planet
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    2022 Lincoln Navigator aims to keep up with big luxury


    The current-generation Navigator is a home run, but newer competition has put pressure on Lincoln to keep up with the luxury elite. With that in mind, the goal for the 2022 Lincoln Navigator update must have been simple: refine, modernize, and delight.

    For 2022, Lincoln has done just that with larger screens, an upgraded suspension system, Lincoln’s new hands-free driver-assist system, and a focus on the details.

    Lincoln flew Motor Authority to Phoenix, Arizona, put us up in a hotel designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, and had us drive in the desert and mountains to experience the updated 2022 Navigator. The team somehow even managed to make it snow in during the trip.

    2022 Lincoln Navigator

    2022 Lincoln Navigator

    Reading the road

    Approaching a cattle grate at the posted speed limit, I braced myself for the Navigator to get bent out of shape with overt, bounding body motions. Instead, the 285/45/R22 Pirelli Scorpion Verde All-Season tires quietly slapped over the metal grate, and the Navigator performed a single up-down motion then continued on its way. That was new. Chief Engineer Mike Kipley explained this was because the Navigator now reads the road ahead, 50 feet at a time at a rate of 500 times per second. Using that data, the system performs up to 100 adjustments per second to the adaptive dampers. The new Navigator has a more controlled ride because it can see the cattle grates, rolling road undulations, and speed bumps as they approach, adjust the dampers to compensate, then adjust them again to quell bounce. That keeps it from rolling like a yacht in the waves.

    With a larger rear sway bar, softer front lower control arm bushings, a new steering rack and column hardware and calibration, modified cross-beam supports, and revised damper calibrations front and rear, the ride now hits that luxury sweet spot. It’s softer and plusher than the Escalade on its air suspension and adaptive dampers, but the Navigator still lacks the physics-defying hydraulic system used on the Mercedes-Benz GLS-Class. An air suspension is still missing due to platform limitations, which means the Navigator can’t raise its ride height to increase ground clearance for deep snow or for modest off-roading.

    2022 Lincoln Navigator

    2022 Lincoln Navigator

    The 10-speed automatic transmission carries over and simply blends into the background as it should. The torque-rich twin-turbocharged 3.5-liter V-6 now produces 440 hp and 510 lb-ft of torque. Lincoln enthusiasts keeping score will note that rating is down 10 hp. Kipley said the lower power rating is due to slightly tweaked compression ratio in the name of efficiency. Fuel economy ratings increase 1 to 2 mpg across the board with rear-drive models now rated at 17 mpg city, 23 highway, and 19 combined and 4WD models checking in at 16/22/18.

    A new Heavy-Duty Trailer Tow package adds camera angles to view a trailer while backing up, along with steering guidance graphics while maneuvering a trailer. But the lack of air suspension or any form of self-leveling rear suspension means the Navigator’s rear end can still sag with enough weight lashed to it. The tow guidance system no longer requires special stickers to be placed on a trailer to work, though they help the system with contrast for light or dark colored trailers against fresh pavement. The new camera views are slick and we look forward to hooking up a boat and playing with them in the future.

    2022 Lincoln Navigator

    2022 Lincoln Navigator

    Look Ma, no hands!

    Lincoln plays catch-up to Cadillac’s Super Cruise with the debut of the brand’s Activeglide system. A Level 2 driver-assist system that allows for hands-free driving, it is a rebranded version of Ford’s BlueCruise, which can be added to the F-150 and Mustang Mach-E. Standard on the Reserve trim and above, the system works on more than 130,000 miles of mapped highways in North America with future over-the-air updates to add more map data. It relies on the Navigator’s built-in cameras and radar sensors to read the road and lane markings, as well as its navigation system. Lincoln provides a three-year data subscription, and will require a subscription renewal thereafter at a so-far unnamed price.

    In my very brief initial test on Phoenix highways, the system did a good, though not perfect, job of keeping the large luxury SUV moving forward in its lane. It allowed the Navigator to wander into the left lane in a long right-hand curve, an issue I’ve never experienced with Super Cruise. Thankfully, the left lane didn’t have a vehicle in it at the time.

    2022 Lincoln Navigator

    2022 Lincoln Navigator

    The system also can’t perform automated lane changes (Cadillac’s system can), though ActiveGlide Chief Engineer Chris Billman told Motor Authority this functionality will come in a future over-the-air software update. Sometimes the system didn’t pause when I used the turn signal and manually performed a lane change. Billman said neither of the above should have occurred. Cadillac’s system also does a slightly better job at keeping the Escalade perfectly centered in its lane.

    Lincoln’s driver-assist system is especially vigilant in its attention-monitoring capability. The camera system mounted on the steering column is better integrated into the design than in the Cadillac, which looks like a small growth on the column, and Lincoln’s system is harder to trick and circumvent. That says a lot because Super Cruise is reasonably vigilant in its monitoring. Lincoln provides a leash of five seconds flat, no longer. This is the most vigilant attention monitoring system I’ve experienced to date. We look forward to more time behind the wheel to extensively test the Ford/Lincoln system.

    2022 Lincoln Navigator

    2022 Lincoln Navigator

    Those fine details

    Lincoln designers smoothed over the exterior with cues from the mid-size Aviator SUV, particularly in the back. At a glance, it’ll be hard to differentiate the front end of a 2022 Navigator from a 2021, though a closer look will reveal the LED headlights aren’t as blocky and droop slightly (they also now point into corners), and the grille is subtly tweaked with new patterns. The largest exterior change was made to the 3D sequential taillights, which are slimmer, less chunky, and feature an animation when the driver approaches or locks the vehicle. It’s as if the Navigator says hello and goodbye.

    2022 Lincoln Navigator

    2022 Lincoln Navigator

    2022 Lincoln Navigator

    2022 Lincoln Navigator

    2022 Lincoln Navigator

    2022 Lincoln Navigator

    2022 Lincoln Navigator

    2022 Lincoln Navigator

    Inside, the gorgeous design carries over with chrome bits and sturdy knobs and buttons. But the 12.0-inch digital gauge cluster is now augmented by a 13.2-inch touchscreen infotainment system that replaces a 10.0-inch unit. A larger upgrade than it appears on paper, the system now features the ability to multitask with split-screen views. Users can display Apple CarPlay and the native audio system on the screen at the same time, or the audio and navigation functions.

    The available 30-way front seats have new massage patterns and are simply lovely and incredibly comfortable. A 5.8-inch touchscreen in the second row now controls the standard heated and cooled seats, which are now available as wide, massaging captain’s chairs. Rear-seat passengers can watch Amazon Fire TV on dual 10.1-inch screens that now have touch controls, and apps such as NBC News or Netflix download in seconds over a 4G LTE connection. The updated 28-speaker Revel Ultima system with eight speakers mounted in the headliner produces clean sound and focuses on sound quality over ear-bleeding volume.

    2022 Lincoln Navigator

    2022 Lincoln Navigator

    The Yacht Club—this blue and white color scheme is the correct interior spec to order—and Chalet interior themes carry over for 2022, but the Destination theme disappears in favor of two new themes: Central Park and Invitation. Central Park riffs off New York City skyscrapers with rich green leather and open-pore dark walnut wood laser-etched with scenic pathways of Central Park on the instrument panel. The Invitation theme features dual laser-etched open-pore Khaya wood across the dashboard and center console contrasted by soft black leather and brandy-colored stitching.

    With its improved ride quality, updated infotainment, and new semi-autonomous driver-assist system, the 2022 Navigator has caught up with the class leaders while still providing a simple, luxurious cabin that doesn’t throw technology in your face with a wall of screens.

    Lincoln paid for travel and lodging for Motor Authority to bring you this firsthand report.



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