Rediscovering Luxury: My Experience with the 2023 Lincoln Navigator

Fine details, comfort and technology in the 2023 Lincoln Navigator 3-row luxury SUV makes you and your passengers feel like a rock star.

Lincoln Navigator
The 2023 Lincoln Navigator Black Label_Exterior looks black in different light. Photo: Kim S

The Lincoln Navigator was My College Limo. 20 Years Later, This Full-Size Luxury SUV Still Makes My Heart Flutter

Ah, the Lincoln Navigator. Just the mention of its name sends me down memory lane. Back in the early 2000s, during my college days, this majestic SUV was my chariot, courtesy of my sister or her boyfriend at the time. It was more than just a means of transportation; it was a symbol of luxury and capability, ferrying me and all my college essentials with ease. Fast forward to the present, and I found myself behind the wheel of the 2023 Lincoln Navigator 4×4 Black Label Edition.

The nostalgia was palpable, but I was eager to see how this iconic SUV had evolved over the years.

Spoiler alert: I was thoroughly impressed, and so were my family members who joined me for the ride. The Black Label Edition, with its price starting from $109,255, certainly commands attention, but as I soon discovered, every dollar spent is justified by the exceptional driving experience it offers.

Related: The 2025 Lincoln Aviator: More Luxury for the Money

Lincoln Navigator

The Lincoln Navigator 4×4 is a big SUV, but it didn’t drive like it. Photo: Kim Smith

Rolling Out the Red Carpet: A Luxurious Welcome to the  Lincoln Navigator

Approaching the 2023 Lincoln Navigator felt like a grand entrance onto the red carpet. The sleek Chrome Caviar Dark Gray Metallic exterior exuded sophistication, while the illuminated running boards and glowing door handles made me feel like a VIP. Every time I approached the Navigator with the key fob in hand, it was as if it knew me personally, inviting me to experience its luxurious interior. The attention to detail, which begins on the exterior with the reflective Lincoln logo projected on the ground, elevated the experience. Though I must admit, I learned the hard way to watch out for those running boards—ouch!

Related: Lincoln Nautilus Luxury SUV: A Sanctuary on Wheels

Lincoln Navigator

The 2023 Lincoln Navigator with a front-facing car seat installed. Photo: Kim Smith

What You Should Know

  • Full-size SUV with seating capacity for 8 (7 with captain’s seats)
  • Four (4) sets of LATCH anchors and 6 tethers
  • Available long wheel-base trim for more cargo space
  • Towing capability up to 8,300 lbs.
  • 5L Twin Turbo V6 Engine
  • 335 horsepower
  • Fuel economy: 16 city, 22 highway; 18 combined
  • WiFi capability
  • Semi-automated driving
  • Warranties: Basic 4 years / 50,000 miles |Corrosion 5 years | Powertrain 6 years / 70,000 miles |Maintenance 4 years / 50,000 miles

Related: What Drives Her: Dianne Craig Leads Lincoln into the Next Era

Lincoln Navigator

My husband appreciated the extra bit of legroom even with a car seat installed behind him. Photo: Kim Smith

How the Lincoln Navigator Accommodates Everyone, Even Petite Drivers

As a petite woman standing at 5’3”, I’ve always had a soft spot for larger vehicles like the Lincoln Navigator. The commanding presence on the road and enhanced visibility provide a sense of security that I appreciate. Lincoln has gone above and beyond to ensure that the Navigator caters to drivers of all sizes, with adjustable seats, telescoping steering wheel, and innovative adjustable foot pedals. The Navigator’s seats cradled me in comfort and support, making every journey a pleasure.

Lincoln Navigator

Beautiful Chrome Caviar Dark Gray Metallic exterior paint and 22″ black wheels. Photo: Kim Smith

Driving with Confidence: The Advanced Driving Features of the 2023 Lincoln Navigator

Driving the Navigator felt like piloting a luxury aircraft, albeit one built for the road. Driving aids, including the head-up display (HUD) and surround-view cameras, made maneuvering this large SUV a breeze. The HUD projected essential information like speed, outside temperature, and turn-by-turn directions directly onto the windshield, allowing me to keep my eyes on the road where they belonged.

Initially skeptical of automated driving, I was pleasantly surprised by the ActiveGlide hands-free driving system in the 2023 Lincoln Navigator. Unlike fully autonomous systems, ActiveGlide offers a semi-automated driving experience that prioritizes safety and control. This feature struck a balance that resonated with me – it allowed me to remain in control while still benefiting from advanced driving aids.

One of the most reassuring aspects of the ActiveGlide system is its emphasis on driver attention. Despite the technology’s semi-automated nature, drivers are required to maintain focus and be prepared to resume control if necessary. Lincoln is renaming the feature in future modes BlueCruise, and it includes a driver attention monitor that tracks the driver’s eye movements. If attention is diverted from the road for more than a few seconds, a warning prompts the driver to refocus—a crucial safety feature that instills confidence.

Additionally, the system provides alerts when manual intervention is required, such as taking control of the steering. This proactive approach ensures that drivers are always prepared to react, minimizing potential risks. Even in challenging conditions like driving in the snow, I never felt unsafe using ActiveGlide, a testament to its reliability and effectiveness.

Overall, my experience with the ActiveGlide hands-free driving system was a revelation. It seamlessly integrated itself into the driving experience, providing an extra layer of safety and convenience without compromising control. ActiveGlide proved to be a dependable companion, enhancing both comfort and peace of mind on the road.

Lincoln Navigator

The Lincoln Navigator Black Label comes with two sets of headphones and Prime remotes so no one fights to watch their favorite shows. Photo: Kim Smith

Unparalleled Comfort and Entertainment

Embarking on a road trip in the Lincoln Navigator is an experience like no other. Every detail is meticulously crafted to ensure maximum comfort and enjoyment for passengers of all ages. As someone who values both luxury and practicality, I found the Navigator to be the perfect companion for long journeys, with lots of amenities designed to elevate the road trip experience.

One standout feature is the Lincoln Play rear-seat entertainment system, which proved to be a hit among my family members. With access to streaming services like Prime Video, Peacock, and Netflix via available WiFi, each second-row passenger could indulge in their favorite shows or movies, effectively putting an end to any potential squabbles over entertainment choices. Two sets of headphones and two Amazon Fire TV remotes further enhanced my kids’ in-car entertainment experience, ensuring that everyone was thoroughly entertained throughout the journey.

Of course, comfort is paramount during extended drives, and the Navigator doesn’t disappoint in this regard. The tri-climate controls ensure that each passenger can customize their environment to suit their preferences, while vents in all three rows guarantee optimal airflow throughout the cabin. Additionally, there was an abundance of charging options – including wireless phone charging, five USB ports, four power ports, and a household-style outlet. It feels good knowing that devices can remain powered up and ready for use, even on the longest of road trips.

Lincoln Navigator

My daughter set up her iPad with the entertainment system and available WiFi to prepare us for the road. Photo: Kim Smith

Premium Sound Completes the VIP Feel

But perhaps the pièce de résistance of the Navigator’s interior is the 28-speaker Revel audio system, available in the Black Label trim. Whether I was listening to my favorite tunes or tuning into the latest episode of the A Girl’s Guide to Cars podcast, the immersive sound quality transported me to a concert-like atmosphere right in the comfort of the Navigator’s cabin.

The true testament to the Navigator’s appeal, however, came from my 12-year-old and 4-year-old daughters, who couldn’t stop raving about their experience. From endless entertainment options to unparalleled comfort, the Navigator left a lasting impression on them, with my oldest daughter even feeling a bit like a celebrity. And I must admit, as I basked in the luxury of the Navigator’s interior, I couldn’t help but feel a sense of prestige, too.

Lincoln Navigator

The Lincoln Navigator cargo space. Photo: Kim Smith

Maximizing Space and Convenience: Exploring the Cargo Capabilities of the Navigator

The spacious interior of the Lincoln Navigator is a breath of fresh air. It offers ample room for passengers and cargo. As a mother, the generous space between my kids in the second row is a welcomed blessing, providing a sense of peace amidst the chaos of family travel.

However, like many three-row SUVs, the Navigator encounters a common hurdle: limited cargo space when all seats are occupied. With a standard wheelbase, the Navigator boasts between 19.3 and 20.9 cubic feet of cargo room behind the third row and between 57.5 and 63.6 cubic feet behind the second row. Folding down all seats creates a cavernous 103 cubic feet of cargo space, ideal for accommodating everything from college dorm move-ins to family camping excursions.

Yet, with the third row in use, I encountered a minor setback. Attempting to fit two carry-on luggage pieces and my daughter’s stroller proved to be a challenge, as the liftgate refused to close. Inevitably, I resorted to folding down the seats to accommodate our essentials—a small but noteworthy inconvenience. I reminisced about the convenience of having the second row unoccupied during dorm moves.

Lincoln Navigator

The third row in the Lincoln Navigator easily folds 2nd row seats to exit. Photo: Kim Smith

Fortunately, Lincoln’s attention to detail shines through in the Navigator’s design, particularly in its user-friendly features. The ability to effortlessly fold down seats with the touch of a button is a perfect example of this. I also appreciated the inclusion of storage areas, such as the large center console in the second row and the floating console in the front, which added to the Navigator’s overall functionality and organization.

Lincoln Navigator

The 2023 Lincoln Navigator makes Target and Chick-Fil-a runs a breeze. Photo: Kim Smith

Who is the Lincoln Navigator For?

  • Upper-middle-class families
  • Families or drivers who regularly need 3 rows and cargo space – sports families
  • Families with kids in car seats
  • Drivers who want to feel like a superstar every day
  • Drivers who need four-wheel drive and tow capacity
  • Buyers who want to spoil (heated and ventilated massaging seats) not only themselves but their passengers, too
Lincoln Navigator

The LATCH is snug but still able to easily install a car seat. Photo: Kim Smith

How Much Does the Lincoln Navigator Cost?

The 2023 Lincoln Navigator offers a range of trim levels to suit various preferences and budgets. The lineup starts with the Standard trim, with a manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP) starting at $79,725, providing an entry point for those seeking luxury and comfort. The Reserve trim begins at $91,935, offering additional features. For those seeking the pinnacle of unparalleled luxury, the Black Label trim, which I had the pleasure of test-driving, starts at $109,255. Additionally, the Black Label L and Reserve L trims offer extended wheelbases and elevated levels of comfort, starting at $112,300 and $94,965, respectively.

With such a diverse lineup, the 2023 Lincoln Navigator caters to a wide range of needs and desires, ensuring that there’s a perfect fit for every driver.

Lincoln Navigator

2023 Lincoln Navigator Monroney. Photo: Lincoln

Embracing Luxury Every Mile

My experience with the 2023 Lincoln Navigator left me thoroughly impressed. Whether you’re chauffeuring the family on a cross-country road trip or simply running errands around town, the Navigator, with its opulent interior and advanced driving aids, delivers a luxurious driving experience unlike any other.

After my test drive, I can’t help but envision myself embarking on new adventures in this car with my loved ones in tow. It’s more than just an SUV; it’s a lifestyle—an experience to be savored with every mile. After all, isn’t that what luxury is all about – creating unforgettable moments and enjoying the journey every step of the way?

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Kim Smith is a 30-something-year-old wife and do-it-all mom of two beautiful daughters; her rainbow babies. As if working... More about Kim S.