As consumer taste continues its shift towards all things SUV, the space that was traditionally occupied by luxury sedans has also seen a transition towards big luxury SUVs. Those not convinced can take a quick peek at the airport limo fleets. A lineup that used to be filled by Lincoln Town Cars and full-sized Cadillac sedans is now replaced with Cadillac Escalades and, more like this 2020 Lincoln Navigator Reserve.
We have also embraced this change, so much so that we have not picked anything that is not a full-size body-on-frame SUV for our team road trip for the past many years. This is the 2020 Lincoln Navigator Reserve, with the new Monochromatic Package; we decided to evaluate its appeal before the segment heats up with the upcoming Jeep Wagoneer and the all-new Cadillac Escalade making its arrival soon.
The Monochromatic Package gives you a choice of three simple colours, Ceramic Pearl, Infinite Black, and Pristine White, with our tester being the latter one. A dedicated Monochromatic front grille, badge, and 22-inch wheels distinguish this Navigator from the standard model, and the front Lincoln logo lights up to set the tone as drivers approach. The Lincoln Navigator has a commanding presence that sets it apart from any mainstream SUVs, and the design has aged well three years into its current generation.
Unlike many of its peers, the Lincoln Navigator Reserve features a six-cylinder engine rather than the usual expected V8. The 3.5-litre twin-turbo V6 engine is no slouch though, with a total output of 450-horsepower and a whopping 510 lb-ft. of torque that can propel the Navigator with relative ease. The ten-speed automatic transmission is quick to downshift when asked, and does a good job directing power most of the time. On the highway, the Navigator is just as smooth as many of its V8 peers, humming along happily at low RPMs while returning a respectable rated 11.5L/100km.
As expected, city runs with the Navigator will not be nearly as efficient given its mammoth footprint. The posted 15.0L/100km city rating is around the same as we have observed in its class, and our weeklong test over a mixed commute returned a combined figure of 14.3L/100km. A pleasant surprise to help the wallet is that the Lincoln Navigator will accept regular grade gasoline, but Lincoln Canada recommends 91-octane premium for optimal performance and/or for towing.
Towing capacity is rated at 8,600 pounds, and our tester had the optional Heavy-Duty Trailer Tow Package that adds an electronic traction assist system as well as the Pro Trailer Backup Assist system to make towing easy for users.
Driving the Navigator is fairly easy once you become accustomed to its size. The heavily assisted steering is responsive, and the adaptive suspension does a good job maintaining body control at all times. There are six standard drive modes available on the Navigator, allowing for quick suspension, transmission, 4×4 Drive Line, and information display configuration using the knob on the centre console, with an additional seventh Slow Climb mode included as part of the Heavy-Duty Trailer Tow Package on our test vehicle.
The biggest advantage to the Lincoln Navigator Reserve is interior comfort. There is an abundance of space for all rows of passengers, with enormous windows and its Panoramic Vista Roof creating an open and inviting ambience. The Lincoln Perfect Position front seats are perfect to relax in after a long day; with 30-way adjustability, you can surely find comfortable seating position. The front seats can also be optioned with optional massaging capability, with strength that is on-par with competition. The Navigator’s excellent interior comfort is further enhanced by the whisper quiet interior. There is very little sound transmitted into the cabin, and the suspension keeps body motions in check with minimal vibrations felt.
Infotainment is via a touchscreen atop the console. Ford’s SYNC 3 system is brought over to the Lincoln platform, with an intuitive user interface and acceptable resolution. Even though the system is easy to use, we do find ourselves wishing there were some physical keys around the screen for quick access. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity is supported, and wireless charging capability is included to keep those playlists going on the long hauls. Our tester is equipped with the optional 20-speaker Revel Ultima premium audio system, pumping out rich sound quality for everyone onboard.
For 2020, the Lincoln Navigator gains standard Lincoln Co-Pilot360 driver-assist technologies, including Auto High-Beam Headlamps, Blind Spot Detection with Cross-Traffic Alert and trailer coverage, Lane-Keeping Assist with Automatic Emergency Braking, Dynamic Brake Support, Forward Collision Warning, and Pedestrian Detection systems. It also adds exclusive Phone As A Key technology that allows drivers to lock and unlock, open the power liftgate, as well as starting and driving the vehicle using the Lincoln Way mobile app in lieu of the key fob.
The 2020 Lincoln Navigator Reserve starts at $96,000. With a slew of optional features including the Monochromatic Package ($2,000), Heavy-Duty Trailer Tow Package ($2,000), Luxury Package ($3,000), Cargo Convenience Package ($500), and the Pristine White paint job ($850), bringing the total to $104,625. It undercuts the outgoing Escalade Platinum (reviewed here) by about $10,000 when similarly equipped, and represents tremendous value in the full-size luxury SUV segment especially when put it up against the German offerings such as the BMW X7 and the Mercedes-Benz GLS 580 4MATIC. Both of these will cost well over $130,000 when they are loaded up with comparable features.
With top-notch ride comfort and its modern looks, the 2020 Lincoln Navigator Reserve is an excellent choice for those that seek an alternative to the traditional full-size sedan, especially those who live in snowy climates with towing and extra cargo needs. This segment is about to get a lot more competitive with the highly anticipated Wagoneer and Escalade, making for some interesting choices for when our team can hit the road together again.