The 2021 Lincoln Navigator full-size luxury SUV is the Ford Motor Company’s biggest and brightest star. Although based on the Ford Expedition, the Navigator most definitely carves its own high-class niche with bold styling and what is arguably the finest luxury interior in any SUV, American or European.

The 2021 Lincoln Navigator’s twin-turbocharged V6 produces 450 horsepower, more than some rivals’ V8s. Practical as well as imposing, the 3-row Navigator and its extended Navigator L counterpart can accommodate seven or eight passengers easily, with plenty of room for baggage.

The long-wheelbase Navigator L is matched only by the aging Cadillac Escalade ESV, but even the regular Navigator is roomier than a Volvo XC90, BMW X7, or Mercedes-Benz GLS-Class.

Lincoln’s flagship SUV is now available for 2021 with an optional Monochromatic appearance package, which swaps out exterior chrome trim with darkened alternatives and replaces silver-painted wheels with black ones.

Elsewhere, Lincoln has swapped out four of the Navigator’s exterior colors—Asher Gray, Flight Blue, Green Gem, and Signature Navy—for four new ones—Iced Mocha, Silver Jade, Blue Diamond, and Rhapsody Blue. Based on spy photos, we expect the 2022 Navigator to undergo a mid-cycle refresh that looks to include a larger touchscreen for its infotainment system.

ENGINE AND IMPLEMENTATION

The 2021 Lincoln Navigator has only one engine-and-transmission combination, but with 450 horsepower, one is all it needs. We found the Navigator to be responsive and genuinely speedy, and the 10-speed automatic shuffles through gears adeptly enough to avoid perturbing dozing passengers.

At our test track, the standard-wheelbase Navigator and long-wheelbase model had equally quick acceleration. However, straight-line performance is where the 2021 Lincoln Navigator’s performance potential begins and ends.

Steering feel is numb and its sheer bulk prevents it from being a vehicle that encourages enthusiastic driving. But the most serious problem with our test vehicles was their ride quality. Wearing optional 22-inch wheels, the Navigator was sometimes jittery, and sharp impacts were followed by bouncing rebounds—the worst of both worlds.

ENERGY AND REAL-WORLD MPG

Unlike its V-8 competition, the 2021 Lincoln Navigator employs a downsized, twin-turbocharged 3.5-liter V-6 and a 10-speed automatic transmission in the quest for better fuel economy.

Despite its smaller engine, it’s far from fuel-efficient and proved unexpectedly thirsty during our real-world highway testing. Despite a highway-fuel-economy rating from the EPA of 21 mpg, our test vehicle delivered 18 mpg over the course of 200 miles.

INTERIOR, CONVENIENCE, AND BOOTH

The 2021 Lincoln Navigator‘s interior is lavishly spacious and genuinely luxurious. Materials such as open-pore wood trim and massaging front seats are only available in the upper trim levels, but even entry-level Navigators have much to offer.

The Navigator’s third row is one of the best examples of that seating arrangement. There is 1.1 inches more legroom in the Navigator’s third-row than that of the Mercedes-Benz GLS-Class, and other competitors fall even further behind.

The 2021 Lincoln Navigator offers optional 30-way-adjustable massaging front seats, a keystone feature for Lincoln’s flagship SUV. The seats are almost sculptural and are so customizable that you can even adjust the individual left and right thigh supports to different heights.

The 2021 Lincoln Navigator‘s immense size can be a drawback when weaving through traffic or attempting to park, but it’s a huge boon when it comes time to pack for vacation.

Short-wheelbase models have limited cargo space with all three rows in use; cargo space is abundant with the third row folded. Long-wheelbase L models have cargo room aplenty even with the third row in use.

IN-VEHICLE INFOTAINMENT AND INTERCONNECTIONS

The 2021 Lincoln Navigator comes standard with an eye-catching 10.0-inch touchscreen and has USB ports in every row. The infotainment system’s graphics are slick and easy to read—important for Lincoln’s presbyopic clientele—and the huge screen is like a glittering jewel atop the Navigator’s prow.

Every model comes with a five-year subscription to Lincoln’s smartphone app and related services, and the standard navigation system includes a six-year subscription to SiriusXM’s Traffic and Travel Link.

PROTECTION AND DRIVER ASSISTANCE ASPECTS

The 2021 Lincoln Navigator hasn’t been crash-tested by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), but the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has given it a five-star safety rating. Lincoln also makes its Co-Pilot360 suite of driver-assistance technology standards.

PHOTOS

2021 Lincoln Navigator

2021 Lincoln Navigator

2021 Lincoln Navigator

2021 Lincoln Navigator

2021 Lincoln Navigator

FULL SPECIFICATIONS

2021 Lincoln Navigator Black Label

VEHICLE TYPE
Front-engine, rear-/all-wheel-drive, 7-passenger, 4-door wagon

PRICE AS TESTED
$106,115 (base price: $99,420)

ENGINE TYPE
twin-turbocharged and intercooled DOHC 24-valve V-6, aluminum block and heads, port and direct fuel injection
Displacement
213 in3, 3492 cm3
Power
450 hp @ 5500 rpm
Torque
510 lb-ft @ 3000 rpm

TRANSMISSION
10-speed automatic

CHASSIS
Suspension (F/R): control arms/multilink
Brakes (F/R): 13.8-in vented disc/13.8-in vented disc
Tires: Hankook Dynapro HT, 285/45R-22 114H M+S

DIMENSIONS
Wheelbase: 122.5 in
Length: 210.0 in
Width: 83.6 in
Height: 76.3 in
Passenger volume: 179 ft3
Cargo volume: 19 ft3
Curb weight: 6066 lb

C/D TEST RESULTS
60 mph: 5.2 sec
100 mph: 13.8 sec
Rolling start, 5–60 mph: 6.1 sec
Top gear, 30–50 mph: 3.4 sec
Top gear, 50–70 mph: 4.2 sec
1/4 mile: 13.8 sec @ 100 mph
Top speed (governor limited): 115 mph
Braking, 70–0 mph: 182 ft
Roadholding, 300-ft-dia skidpad: 0.76 g
Standing-start accel times omit 1-ft rollout of 0.3 sec.

EPA FUEL ECONOMY
Combined/city/highway: 17/16/20 mpg

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