Traversing the streets of America these days, we’ve been seeing an awful lot of Lincoln SUV’s. Their popularity seems to be growing – they’re certainly sharp looking – but is there more to it than that? It was then that we realized that we’ve never reviewed a Lincoln. Not just last year. We’re talking “ever.” I’m not sure how this happened, but we decided to correct that oversight immediately and see what all the popularity is about.
Lincoln was only too happy to ship us a 2023 Navigator 4×4 Black Label to try for a week. Talk about starting at the top. Sheesh. The Navigator is Lincoln’s ne plus ultra. The top dog in their portfolio. It’s also a model that’s been in their line-up through a couple of generations now so it’s well-established.
The Navigator we received was in a color called Chrome Caviar Dark Gray Metallic. It’s not as dark as the name would lead you to believe and it’s quite refined and attractive. There IS lots of chrome all over it, used as an accent, except at the grille where it’s the dominant theme. The overall shape and silhouette of the vehicle gives it a somewhat sporting appearance, though you’ll not mistake it as anything from Porsche, Alfa Romeo, or Maserati. The only thing we really disliked about the exterior was the wheels – the turbine look is so 1980’s and frankly on a vehicle this size they look like Conestoga wagon wheels. Head west, young man!
Inside is a large dark cavern of dark gray leather, chrome trim, piano black, and some wood paneling with a funky decorative design on it that probably gives the official interior color description it’s name: “Invitation Theme” (there was also “Yacht Club Theme”, “Central Park Theme”, and “Chalet Theme”). I’m guessing I don’t qualify as their part of their core marketing test group so I’ll just say that it’s very nice to look at and be in and leave the rest alone. The Navigator Black Label has every conceivable luxury item available on a car today.
The seats are fully electrically adjustable, heated, ventilated, and massager-equipped. If you can’t get comfortable in these seats, there’s something (lots of somethings probably) wrong with you. The second row seating is just as fortunate as the front row but the far back row has to deal with heat, cold, and a lack of massaging. The 2nd and 3rd row seats fold flat electrically, providing a LOT of cargo carrying capacity.
The driver (hopefully you) also gets the joy of a heated steering wheel in the winter and a multi-function heads-up display. The second row has to be satisfied with the overhead panoramic window and the individual entertainment screens while their massagers work out that kink in the fourth lumbar joint. It may lack color and design energy, but the interior does a great job of keeping people happy.
Under the hood lies Lincoln’s twin-turbocharged 3.5L V6 engine, making a robust 440 hp and 510 lb-ft of torque, hooked to a 10-speed automatic transmission. While we didn’t need to tow anything (do we even have anything to tow?), the Navigator 4×4 came with a heavy-duty towing package and we have no doubt it would have pulled a nice Airstream trailer or a Riva motor boat without any issues. There’s a feeling of strong power under the hood and your right foot does not disappoint. It gets the heavy truck moving quickly and without effort. Fuel mileage is rated at 22 on the highway and 16 in the city for a mixed average of 18mpg, but our mileage experience was on the lower side.
The Navigator Black Label has an adaptive suspension system with ride-height control. It soaks up the bumps and potholes on lousy Michigan winter roads beautifully and feels as if it’s a solid piece of steel instead of a million parts all bolted together. The steering is sharp and intuitive, and the turning radius is much tighter than you’d expect. Lincoln has made huge strides in their turning radius in the new generation of cars and trucks. The brakes too do a fantastic job of stopping the heavy SUV quickly and without drama.
We were thoroughly impressed with the Navigator 4×4 Black Label. And while we nearly swallowed our tongues upon seeing the price ($117,950), it doesn’t seem excessive when you consider just how much Lincoln has packed into it. It also lines up with the Jeep Grand Wagoneer, which some of our staffers likened it to while driving it. We consider that high praise as we’re fans of the Grand Wagoneer and it’s luxuriousness. Starting with the most expensive model in the fleet and feeling impressed with it has us wanting to try some of the other models as well so we’ll be reaching out to Lincoln shortly to see if we can experience some of their other vehicles. Stay tuned.