2021 Lincoln Navigator Pros vs Cons. Should You Buy?
The Lincoln Navigator is considered by many to be the ultimate luxury large SUV. That is because this vehicle does many things right. That said, it has also missed the mark in the past when it comes to a few key areas, particularly ride quality and fuel consumption. The question is whether or not the 2021 Lincoln Navigator addressed these issues. Considering the fact that most changes are cosmetic, the answer is likely no. Still, the Navigator offers a compelling number of perks, making it worth your consideration.
What's New for 2021?
This year, the Navigator is available with the Monochromatic Package. Also seen on other Lincoln vehicles, this package primarily gives the Navigator black accent pieces and wheels. It is only available with Infinite Black, Ceramic Pearl, or Pristine White as the paint color. Four previously available paint colors, known as Flight Blue, Signature Navy, Asher Gray, and Green Gem, are no longer on the table. Instead, you can consider having a Silver Jade, Blue Diamond, Iced Mocha, or Rhapsody Blue model of the Navigator.
Top 10 Reasons to Buy a 2021 Lincoln Navigator – The Pros
1. Three Spacious Rows of Seats
While there may be many three-row SUVs on the market, very few actually offer a third-row that is usable by anyone other than small children. This is not the case with the 2021 Navigator. All three rows have enough legroom as well as headroom for people of nearly any height to be comfortable. The standard configuration has seating for seven. If you prefer, a second-row bench seat is an option that will increase the capacity to eight without making anyone feel cramped.
2. Advanced Infotainment System
The 2021 Naviator utilizes the popular Sync 3 infotainment system. Widely considered to be one of the most user-friendly setups, Sync 3 gives you easy access to Apple CarPlay and Android Auto for smartphone integration. The standard touchscreen size is 10-inches, and you also get high-tech features like wireless device charging, a Wi-Fi hotspot, and a 14-speaker audio system on the entry-level model.
3. Satisfying Twin-Turbocharged Power
Although only having one powertrain option may work against some vehicles, the Navigator's is so good that it is hard to come up with any serious complaints. The twin-turbocharged V6 has the ability to make 450-horsepower along with 510 lb-ft of torque. It gets paired with a 10-speed automatic transmission that does an exemplary job of keeping up with shifting.
4. Sophisticated Exterior Design
It can be difficult to make such a large vehicle look sleek and elegant, but that is exactly what Lincoln has managed with the Navigator. The grille is so large it cannot go unnoticed, while the signature LED taillights make a lasting impression when you drive away. A variety of available exterior upgrades are also on the table, including an LED Lincoln badge located in the grille.
5. Upscale Interior Accent Materials
The sophistication continues when you explore the interior of the 2021 Navigator. Depending on the model, you can find genuine wood or metal accents splashed throughout the cabin. Leather upholstery for the first two rows is even standard.
6. Cavernous Cargo Area
You would expect a large three-row SUV to have plenty of cargo space. That said, the Navigator still manages to be almost shockingly spacious. Depending on the model, you will find either 19.3 or 20.9 cubic feet behind the third-row. All models with the standard wheelbase offer a maximum cargo capacity of 103 cubic feet for all of your hauling needs.
7. Comfortable and Supportive Seats
All three rows of seats in the 2021 Navigator are plush and easy to relax in. They all even recline. Standard comfort-enhancers for this SUV include highly-desirable things such as heated and front seats, heated second-row seats, and tri-zone automatic climate control. The Reserve model has 24-way power-adjustment for the front seats as well, making it hard to not be comfortable while inside the Navigator.
8. Strong Towing Capability
Due to its incredible power, it may not come as a surprise that the Navigator out-performs many of its rivals when it comes to towing. When properly equipped, this three-row SUV can bring along up to 8,700 pounds. In order to see that number, you will want to get the Heavy-Duty Trailer Tow Package, which comes standard on the top-of-the-line Black Label.
9. Available L Extended Version
Although it may be hard to imagine needing more room than the standard Navigator provides, this is the case for some drivers. If you have any concerns about having enough cargo space, go with the Navigator L. This extended-base model has up to 36 cubic feet behind the third row of seats and a maximum cargo capacity of over 120 cubic feet.
10. Base Model has Many Standard Features
The luxurious 2021 Lincoln Navigator starts out strong when it comes to equipment. On top of its wonderful infotainment setup, the entry-level model gets alloy wheels, a hands-free power liftgate, ambient interior lighting, and a heated steering wheel. You also get all of the driver aids you would expect from a luxury SUV, including forward-collision warning, blind-spot monitoring, and pedestrian detection. Both front and rear parking sensors are included as well.
Reasons Not to Buy a 2021 Lincoln Navigator – The Cons
1. Very Thirsty Engine
There is a cost to the awesome power provided by the Navigator, and you will pay it at the pumps. You can expect to see 16mpg in the city and 21mpg on the highway. On the plus side, upgrading from rear-wheel to all-wheel drive does not impact these numbers, nor does going with the long wheelbase.
2. Very High Starting Price
No matter how you look at it, the 2021 Navigator is expensive. The base model starts at around $77,000 dollars. If you want the Black Label, which comes with perks like concierge services, you are looking at $98,000 minimum. Choosing to extend the wheelbase adds $3,000 to the price tag. While you can certainly find more expensive rivals, you can also find more affordable ones.
3. Too Big to Easily Maneuver
This issue is another flip side to a perk when it comes to the Navigator. Although the interior space is handy, the size of this massive SUV makes it hard to park and corner. This is not a vehicle you would want to try to parallel park on a busy street. Obviously, the problem only gets worse if you go for the Navigator L. Still, this is an issue many families will deal with in order to have enough space for everyone and their gear.
4. Ride Gets Bumpy
While the other issues may be irksome, the ride quality may be the breaking point for some buyers. It is not as bad for the base model, which comes with 20-inch wheels, but the Reserve and Black Label sit on 22-inch wheels that will have you feeling every bump in the road. This alone is a good reason to save yourself some money and stick with the entry-level Navigator.
5. No Off-Road Capability
No one is saying that the Navigator needs to be able to easily tackle any terrain and take you off into the mountains. However, it does seem that this SUV is particularly lacking when it comes to the ability to handle anything other than smooth pavement. This is largely due to the incredible size of the vehicle and low ride height. While an all-wheel-drive Navigator may be appropriate for driving out to a campsite at least, rear-wheel-drive models are better off staying home.
How It Stacks Up to the Competition:
2021 Lincoln Navigator vs 2021 Ford Expedition
The Navigator is more or less the luxury version of the Expedition. That does not mean that the Expedition does not have a lot to offer. Not only will it cost you significantly less, but it also gives you better towing numbers along with better fuel economy estimates. Still, if you are after an SUV with all of those extra bells and whistles, the Navigator is the clear choice.
2021 Lincoln Navigator vs 2021 Infiniti QX80
Like the Navigator, the QX80 gets classified as a large luxury SUV. It also has a strong engine and offers a surprisingly engaging drive for such a large vehicle. Inside, however, it falls short of the high standards set by the Navigator. The QX80 has fewer standard features and a much less upscale cabin overall.
The 2021 Lincoln Navigator does almost everything right. Moving forward, a part-time hybrid system to increase fuel economy numbers would go a long way. Some tweaking to the suspension would also be wise to keep things smoother. If nothing else, making the 20-inch wheels standard and 22-inch wheels merely optional on all trim levels can help to address this issue. Still, the upscale cabin and sleek exterior of the 2021 Navigator, combined with its exhilarating amount of power, make it a choice worth checking out.
• Why buy a 2020 Lincoln Navigator? w/ pros vs cons