Two of America’s most expensive and luxurious SUVs, the Lincoln Navigator and the Jeep Wagoneer go head to head.
The Lincoln Navigator was the standard of American SUV excess for a short time. After many years of obsolescence, it’s again near the top of the heap but has a new challenger, the 2022 Jeep Wagoneer. We’re going to pit these two against one another head-to-head. We’ll compare specs, driving performance, interior comfort, and more before crowning a winner.
The 2022 Jeep Wagoneer starts at $58,995, comes with three different trim levels (the highest of which starts at $74,640), and each one shares the same powertrain. It consists of a 5.7-liter V8 with 392 hp and 404 lb-ft of torque. That power is then sent to either the rear wheels or all four. It’ll get up to 16 mpg in the city and 22 on the highway.
The largest Jeep SUV ever can tow up to 10,000 pounds when properly equipped and offers up to 116.7 cubic feet of storage with all seats folded down. On top of all that, Jeep offers three years of complimentary maintenance along with a standard three-year/36,000 mile limited warranty and five-year/60,000 powertrain coverage.
The 2022 Lincoln Navigator will set you back at least $77,635 but the price can climb to over six figures for the top-end Black Label edition. Similarly to the Jeep, the Navigator features just one engine choice, a 3.5-liter twin-turbocharged V6 in this case. It develops 450 hp and 510 lb-ft of torque. According to the EPA, it’ll achieve up to 17 mpg in the city and 23 on the highway. It’s also available with rear or four-wheel drive but it can only tow up to 8,700 pounds.
The warranty package is a smidge different too. Lincoln offers a four-year or 50,000-mile limited warranty along with a six-year or 70,000-mile powertrain warranty. At the same time, it only offers a single year of complimentary maintenance unless you go for the Black Label trim. In that case, you’ll get four years or 50,000 miles of free maintenance. These factors made it one of our favorite SUVs for large families.
Starting out with the Wagoneer, we really like its V8 power plant. It offers smooth acceleration and excellent passing power. Eight cogs in the automatic transmission change effortlessly and we never found the Wagoneer to be hunting for the right one. The steering feel can be a bit numb at highway speeds but it’s surprisingly communicative around town. That makes everyday tasks like navigating tighter parking lots much easier.
We also like the suspension on each trim. In the base Wagoneer, you’ll get a load-leveling rear suspension which changes as needed and on the top trim there’s a real-time adaptive suspension to smooth out bumps. As larger SUVs neither of these cars is particularly nimble on the road but the Jeep Wagoneer has something special going for it. It’s sincerely decent off-road. An available Advanced All Terrain package includes skid plates, a two-speed transfer case, 18-inch wheels with all-terrain tires, and more. That’s a very rare ability in this segment.
Lincoln for its part leans heavily into the luxury driving experience with a cabin that’s noticeably quieter than the Jeep. The twin-turbo V6 plays a small role in that too thanks to quiet operation throughout the power band. It’s just as fun as the V8 from the Wagoneer but it’s not as quick to engage. Part of that could be that Lincoln uses a 10-speed automatic so there are more gears to change through to get to the appropriate one at times.
Where the Navigator really falters as a driving machine is at higher highway speeds. The steering is numb enough and lazy enough that it really feels disconnected at times and it has for years. In terms of comfort, it’s fine at handling bumps and bruises on the road surface but it didn’t wow us. We also wish the front end was a little sharper in terms of feedback.
No passenger in either of these vehicles will complain much about space. The Jeep Wagoneer features 43-inches of second-row legroom and 37-inches in the third row. In addition, all three rows are outfitted with high-end luxury touches, excellent panel gaps, and supportive cushioning. We especially appreciate the posh touches in the first two rows. The front seat occupants get access to a 10.1-inch infotainment system and a great center control stack.
The driver utilizes a 10.3-inch digital gauge cluster and buyers can add a heads-up display along with a 10.3-inch display specifically for the front passenger seat. Second-row occupants can move seats forward or backward and can even recline if they should choose to. Powered third-row folding seats are available too.
The Lincoln Navigator is also incredibly spacious. We also love its switchgear which looks great but also feels great to interact with. The heavy use of real wood trim is a nice touch too and adds to the luster of this interior. Smaller touches like the adjustable thigh bolsters for the front passengers help it to stand out compared to the Wagoneer.
Though the Navigator doesn’t have as many screens as the Jeep, it’s almost as good in terms of functionality. We also love the available center control console for second-row passengers. You can get something similar in the Wagoneer but it’s not as featureful. There’s plentiful headroom and legroom in the back two rows as well.
The Jeep Wagoneer comes in three trims starting with the Series I.
Series I – This trim begins the lineup with 18-inch wheels, automatic headlights, a hands-free tailgate, tri-zone climate control, power-adjustable front and second-row seats, leather upholstery, heated and ventilated front seats, a tow hitch, a heated steering wheel, power-adjustable pedals, a 10.1-inch infotainment system with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, integrated navigation, a Wi-Fi hotspot, a 115-volt household-style outlet, satellite radio, and nine speakers. Safety equipment includes lane-keep assist, blind-spot monitoring, parking sensors, and automatic emergency braking.
Series II – On top of everything in the Series I, Series II adds adaptive cruise control, ambient interior lighting, automatic wipers, 20-inch wheels, active cabin noise cancellation, a wireless charging pad, steering wheel memory settings, and a 60/40-split folding third row.
Series III – The top trim gets adaptive air suspension, heads-up display, automatic high beams, heated second-row seats, hill descent control, premium-finished wheels, power-reclining third-row seats, and a two-speed on-demand transfer case.
The Lincoln Navigator features three trim levels as well.
Standard – This trim gets 20-inch wheels, adaptive LED headlights, a 13.2-inch infotainment system, Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, 14 speakers, powered running boards, faux-leather upholstery, heated and ventilated seats in the first two rows, a hands-free liftgate, tri-zone climate control, a heated steering wheel, wireless device charging, integrated navigation, adaptive cruise control, blind-spot monitoring, lane-keep assist, evasive steering assist, and forward collision mitigation.
Reserve – The mid-grade trim adds a heads-up display, 24-way power-adjustable front seats, illuminated running boards, a panoramic sunroof, 22-inch wheels, leather upholstery, and ActiveGlide (a hands-free driving aid for use on selected highways).
Black Label – The top trim gets unique 22-inch wheels, four-wheel drive, unique interior color and trim package availability, 30-way power-adjustable and massaging front seats, a premium 28-speaker sound system, and additional warranty coverage.
It might seem like the lesser SUV on paper but we’d spend our cash on the Jeep Wagoneer every time between these two. It’s a bit better to drive, features excellent technology, a spacious interior, has more pulling power, and can actually go off-road when you want it to. That’s a very unique package of features that very few brands can claim to rival.