2024 Lincoln Navigator Black Label — Comfort, technology and style

Photos by Dan Scanlan

By Dan Scanlan

(July 7, 2024) Back in the old days — before Apple, AI and EVs — there were land yachts that were actually cars, or sedans in old-speak. Cadillac Fleetwood, Lincoln Continental, or Chrysler Imperial — true V-8 luxury sedans that eclipsed 18 feet of pavement and carried up to six adults in velour, chrome and woodgrain luxury.

Then along came SUVs, which pushed 4-door cars into oblivion as they also grew uber-luxe versions. And the 2024 Lincoln Navigator Black Label 17.5 feet of luxury SUV with the power and tech to conjure up Sinatra scenes of those olden days.

And here’s something that Continental couldn’t do – drive you autonomously.

The Navigator truly greets you as you arrive — power running boards deploy as the LED taillight strip flows red across its length and chromed door handles glow. The marque’s biggest chariot is a fourth-generation SUV born atop the equally grand Ford Expedition, which lives atop a refined F-150 pickup platform. Redesigned in 2022, it wears an aluminum skin that begins with a prominent chrome grill with polished ingots surrounding a classic crosshair Lincoln emblem that glows at night.

Quad LED headlights bend into turns, LED DRL in sculpted openings with chrome accents over slim LED turn signals. Below the plastic chrome grill is a gloss lower intake, then chrome and black lower accents with LED fog lights at the outer corners.

The flanks have incised design lines flowing from headlights to fenders and over the long faux  fender vents straight aft to 3D taillamps connected by that neon light bar that glows from the center outward when you walk up. Chrome spears accents the lower flanks, while what looks like gloss black sill accents are the afore-mentioned power running boards.

This is also a tall SUV, its chrome rooftop cargo bars a good six inches over my head. The tinted side windows have black pillars that make the glass look lie it wraps around the rear window – which opens separate from the tailgate to load stuff. That power tailgate rises very high over a step bumper with black accents and twin tailpipes peeking from down under. And to fit this luxe-ride, massive 22-inch Pirelli Scorpion radials wearing 14-blade brushed satin silver and black wheels that fully fit the fenders openings – and manage to look large and in charge as well.

Ascending to the gently blue-gray leather seats, with white piping and multiple power adjustments including separate thigh support, is eased by those running boards and stitched leather grab handles on the pillars. A close look shows tiny Lincoln emblems in the head restraints’ chrome trim. The seats are very comfy thrones with 30-way power adjustments, triple memory presets and multiple massage, heat and cooling settings – most controls reside on the doors, like Mercedes.

The interior remains unchanged from the 2022 makeover — our dash is done in gray leather with white stitching, accented with shiny striated Silverwood and chrome. Perforated alloy Revel sound system speakers accents the doors, with more wood and stitched leather. Only the blue-gray plastic below the dashboard trim look Ford-ish.

More stitched leather circles a thick steering wheel rim, with  power tilt/telescoping adjustments, small black paddle shifters in back, and the usual controls up front. A 12-inch digital gauge display offers an animated 140-mph speedometer and 7,000-rpm tach, their needles trailing twinkling stars. Navigation, audio, economy, trailering info and driver safety status can be moved through the center, with song title, fuel, engine temperature, drive mode and lane-keep assist status top and bottom. Much of that center screen info is mirrored in a wide, color head-up display.

Nothing has changed since the 2022 redesign on the dash’s center, with a 13.2-inch upright screen with widescreen navigation, or tap-and-slide audio, phone and more info on the right. The screen also helps access climate control, seat massage, surround-view parking camera, apps and the powerful 28-speaker Revel Ultima 3D audio system. SYNC4 wirelessly connects smartphones to Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and apps, with Amazon Alexa for voice-command to play music, get directions, check traffic, manage smart home devices and more.

The second-row is plush as well, separate captain’s chairs with massage, heat, cooling and a touchscreen in the floating console to adjust audio as well as the sunroof - storage under and inside the center armrest. The second row seats flip and slide, leaving just enough room for me to get into a third-row bench seat with pretty good  head and leg room for two adults — the 60/40 split seatbacks even recline. Behind the third row, a usable 20.9 cu.ft. of space; up to a huge, mostly flat 103.3 cu.ft. if second and third rows are folded. The back rows can be remotely dropped via cargo area buttons, and there’s more room under the load floor — plus the power rear hatch clears my head. The rear window also opens separately.

Rides like this, with room for 6 or seven, used to pack a V-8. But Ford’s well-known 3.5-liter twin-turbo V-6 comes with 440 hp, and an important 510 lb.-ft. of torque, so there’s a respectable 8,700-pound maximum towing capacity, power metered out via a smooth-acting 10-speed automatic transmission.

Multiple drive modes include Excite, which speeds up throttle response and shifts and gives us a meatier, almost V8-sounding exhaust note. That mode gave us 60 mph in 5.6 seconds with confident power at throttle tip-in off the line, plus precise upshifts – the mode also tightens steering feel and suspension as 4-wheel-drive auto is engaged. But after some days of sub-17 mpg, I tapped in the Conserve mode, which uses rear-wheel-drive only and backs off shifts and throttle.

Our Kentucky-built Navigator starts at $83,265 for the Premiere line; or $111,095 for our Black Label, with all we had standard bar $2,000 blue paint and $625 for second-row seat massage. In the world of big luxury SUVs, the Cadillac Escalade looks cooler, with serious presence and a 420-hp V-8; the Jeep Grand Wagoneer starts at $91,000 and has some serious tech in a formal design, as well as a 510-hp inline 6. All three come in stretched versions.

Bottom line: The Navigator Black Label still offers comfort and technology in a formal-yet-stylish shape with hands-free driving, and does it with style.