2021 Lincoln Navigator FAQ Review

Christian Wardlaw, Independent Expert | Jul 27, 2021

Lincoln may have begun its latest design and marketing transformation with the now-defunct Continental and MKZ sedans, but it is the fourth-generation Lincoln Navigator full-size SUV that grabbed everyone’s attention when it arrived for the 2018 model year. Bold yet elegant, the flagship Lincoln made it clear the company was heading in a new direction.

Four years later, the aging 2021 Lincoln Navigator is fending off a redesigned Cadillac Escalade and more opulent GMC Yukon Denali. In 2020, the Navigator ranked at or near the top of its segment in J.D. Power studies of vehicle quality and overall appeal. It remains to be seen if the all-new duo from General Motors erodes this position, but for now, Lincoln isn’t making significant changes to shore up its favorable ratings.

What’s new for the 2021 Lincoln Navigator? - Find the best Lincoln deals!

Lincoln makes no substantial changes to the 2021 Navigator, which is available in a handful of new paint colors.

Available on Black Label trim, a new Special Edition package adds a black roof, black wheels, a black grille, and other black or body-color trim pieces. A trailer towing package and a limited-slip differential are also newly standard for the 2021 Navigator Black Label.

Rumor has it the 2022 Lincoln Navigator will get several updates, including a next-generation infotainment system based on Ford’s Sync 4 technology and improved driving-assistance technologies.

2021 LINCOLN NAVIGATOR SPECS - Find the best Lincoln deals!

2021 Lincoln Navigator Black Label Special Edition Silver Front Quarter View

Photo: Christian Wardlaw

What are the 2021 Lincoln Navigator configurations?

Lincoln offers the Navigator in standard and extended-length (Navigator L) styles, the latter adding considerable luggage space behind the third-row seat. Standard, Reserve, and Black Label trim levels are available, with the Navigator L coming only with Reserve and Black Label specification.

What is the 2021 Lincoln Navigator price?

The base price of a Lincoln Navigator is $76,705, while a Navigator L with Black Label trim runs $101,855. You’ll need to pay another $1,295 to ship the SUV from the Kentucky factory that builds them to your local dealership.

What is the 2021 Lincoln Navigator cargo space?

Choose a standard Navigator, and it will hold 19.3 cubic feet of cargo behind the third-row seat, 57.5 cubic feet behind the second-row seats, and a maximum of 103.3 cubic feet. The Navigator L is more generous, posting numbers of 34.3, 73.3, and 120.2, respectively.

What is the 2021 Lincoln Navigator gas mileage?

In combined driving, a 2021 Lincoln Navigator is EPA-rated to return 18 mpg with its standard rear-wheel-drive (RWD) configuration and 17 mpg with its optional 4-wheel-drive (4WD) system. Standard-length Navigators have a 23.6-gallon fuel tank capacity, while the Navigator L gets a 27.8-gallon fuel tank.

During an evaluation of a standard-length model with 4WD, the 2021 Navigator averaged 16.6 mpg. This result gives the SUV a maximum driving range of more than 390 miles, though you’ll want to stop and fill up every 350 miles or so.

Is the 2021 Lincoln Navigator safe?

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the 2021 Navigator earns the highest-possible 5-star ratings in frontal- and side-impact crash tests. With RWD, it gets a mediocre 3-star rollover-resistance rating. Models with 4WD do better in this regard, receiving a 4-star rating.

Because the SUV hasn’t undergone testing, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) cannot provide a 2021 Lincoln Navigator safety rating.

What is the 2021 Lincoln Navigator towing capacity?

According to Lincoln, when the SUV is properly outfitted, the 2021 Navigator can tow between 8,100 pounds (Navigator L 4WD) and 8,700 pounds (standard Navigator with RWD).

2021 LINCOLN NAVIGATOR REVIEW - Find the best Lincoln deals!

This review is based on an evaluation of a Navigator Black Label with 4WD and the Special Edition package. The Special Edition package is new for 2021 and gives the Navigator Black Label a black roof, blacked-out wheels and trim, and body-color detailing to eliminate most of the SUV’s exterior chrome. The sticker price came to $106,645, including the $1,295 destination charge.

How is the 2021 Lincoln Navigator interior?

2021 Lincoln Navigator Black Label Interior Dashboard

Photo: Christian Wardlaw

Within the Lincoln Navigator, foundational mid-century modern design meets elements of the Art Deco movement. The latter overlays just enough ornamentation to convey that this is the fanciest of the company’s SUVs. The controls are remarkably simplistic, pairing physical buttons and knobs for the stereo and climate controls with digital instrumentation and a 10.1-inch infotainment screen.

In Black Label trim with the Chalet interior theme, premium white over dark brown leather, a white synthetic suede headliner, and Silverwood trim combine to give the Navigator the look and feel of a cozy mountain lodge in the thick of the winter. Ambient lighting enhances the sensation after nightfall.

Quality is high, making the use of hard plastics in the expected locations even more noticeable but forgivable. Stylish aluminum speaker covers with a compelling spiral pattern decorate the front door panels, emanating lush sound from the Black Label’s standard 20-speaker Revel Ultima sound system.

Is the 2021 Lincoln Navigator comfortable?

Overall, a Navigator Black Label is a sumptuous and soothing place to spend time, and that goes for the occupants seated in all three rows of seats. In each row, adults will find enough legroom and seat cushion support to remain satisfied for longer journeys.

However, the driver and front passenger will wear the widest smiles thanks to the SUV’s heated, ventilated, and massaging 30-way power-adjustable front chairs. Wrapped in soft leather, these Perfect Position seats are excellent, provided you have the patience necessary to position them perfectly. Take the time to adjust them, and you’ll discover impressive comfort and support.

Heated second-row captain’s chairs beckon to your passengers, divided by a large center storage console in Black Label versions of the SUV. Optionally, you can choose a pass-through or get a bench seat to bring the passenger count to eight.

Third-row comfort has always been a Navigator hallmark, thanks to its independent rear suspension design. And it remains so, offering an elevated seating position with generous room for adults.

Does the 2021 Lincoln Navigator drive itself?

No, the Lincoln Navigator does not drive itself. But it does come with Lincoln Co-Pilot360, which includes adaptive cruise control, hands-on lane-keeping assistance, and autonomous steering when parking in parallel or perpendicular spaces. Just make sure you activate the SUV’s Enhanced Active Park Assist function before letting go of the steering wheel, or it won’t work.

Separately, a widescreen head-up display conveys a wealth of data, including warnings and notifications from the advanced driving assistance systems (ADAS).

During the evaluation, the ADAS worked well, proving itself refined and accurate, operating unobtrusively in the background with few exceptions. The lane-keeping assistance can behave aggressively but only in situations where immediate and decisive action was appropriate.

With this said, the Lincoln’s lack of a Level 2 semi-autonomous driving assistance technology is increasingly evident within the competitive set.

Does the 2021 Lincoln Navigator have AWD?

An all-wheel-drive (AWD) system is optional for the Lincoln Navigator and is fully automatic. To calibrate it, use the Lincoln Drive Modes selector on the center console.

In combination with the Navigator’s twin-turbocharged 3.5-liter V6 engine and 10-speed automatic transmission, Lincoln Drive Modes tailors the SUV’s behavior for a variety of driving conditions. It offers Conserve, Normal, and Excite modes for typical driving situations, plus Slippery and Deep Conditions settings where AWD is desirable. When towing, a Slow Climb mode is available to add traction as is necessary.

Is the 2021 Lincoln Navigator fun to drive?

Depending on the road, the driving mode, and the SUV’s level of specification, a Lincoln Navigator can hint at having fun. However, generally speaking, it’s not designed for enthusiastic driving on or off of the pavement.

It does feel quick, though. You might expect a large SUV like the Lincoln Navigator to include a V8 engine, but the twin-turbo V6 delivers a robust 450 horsepower and 510 pound-feet of torque, which is plenty for rousing performance accompanied by a pleasant engine and exhaust note.

Though it features a 4-wheel independent, adaptive damping suspension, the Navigator Black Label’s ride quality is anything but supple. The heavy 22-inch wheels and 285/45 tires pound over any pavement that isn’t perfectly smooth, degrading the ride and reminding the driver that this SUV is based on a truck platform. This is not an exclusive observation about the Navigator; any large body-on-frame SUV with oversized wheels and tires displays the same brittle behavior over road irregularities.

Additionally, in any driving mode aside from Excite, the Navigator can display too much softness and body motion in response to dips and undulations in the road. Excite helps to quell this behavior but also amplifies the harshness over smaller cracks, bumps, and holes in the pavement.

IS THE 2021 LINCOLN NAVIGATOR A GOOD SUV? - Find the best Lincoln deals!

2021 Lincoln Navigator Black Label Special Edition Silver Rear Quarter View

Photo: Christian Wardlaw

According to new Lincoln Navigator buyers responding to J.D. Power surveys, the answer is yes. This is a good SUV.

In the J.D. Power 2020 Initial Quality Study (IQS), the Navigator ranks second behind the Cadillac Escalade but ahead of the third-ranked BMW X7. Lincoln did even better in the J.D. Power 2020 Automotive Performance, Execution, and Layout (APEAL) Study, ranking highest among all large premium SUVs, leading the second-ranked Cadillac Escalade and third-ranked Mercedes-Benz GLS.

In my expert opinion, the Navigator has led the charge for change not only for Lincoln but for traditional full-size SUV engineering. Its key competitors from General Motors have finally switched to an independent rear suspension design, giving them competitive cargo space and third-row passenger comfort while providing a better ride and improved handling.

Of course, this shift in engineering philosophy also means the Escalade and Yukon XL Denali are now more competitive with the Navigator. But I have no doubt that Lincoln is readying a counter-punch to ensure it retains the hard-won market share gains it achieved with the fourth-generation Navigator.

What is the 2021 Lincoln Navigator competition? - Find the best Lincoln deals!

The Lincoln Navigator faces few competitors. The most obvious of them is the Cadillac Escalade, but the GMC Yukon Denali is also potentially cross-shopped with less expensive versions of the Lincoln. The BMW X7 and Mercedes-Benz GLS are also on the list, along with the Infiniti QX80 and Lexus LX.

Christian Wardlaw is a veteran digital automotive journalist with over 25 years of experience in test-driving vehicles. In addition to JDPower.com, his work has appeared in numerous new- and used-car buying guides, newspapers, and automotive industry trade journals.

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. © 2021 J.D. Power

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