Behind the door of a nondescript gallery in Chelsea on a sweltering summer day was an ode to NYC’s Central Park. It wasn’t a painting, photography or sculpture installation, it happened to be a low-key presentation of Lincoln’s revised 2022 Navigator. This particular model is the top end Black Label edition debuted the new Central Park theme. Lincoln invited us to have a look what the design team has done to refine the Navigator and further solidify it as the luxury full-size SUV of choice.
One of the areas where Lincoln design is really improving is creating stronger distinction between their models and the siblings from Ford. The Aviator/Explorer is a solid example. My first impression of the 2022 Navigator exterior is more smoothed out and finessed shapes, particularly with the bowed front end. The Navigator is enormous, however the softening of a few key areas visually trims some of its bulk.
The shapes on the front end are now much better balanced, including the several feet wide front grille. The headlamps are more elongated and feature a crystal-like signature element that wraps around the lower portion of the lens. While the front end is quite tall, the twin chrome accent strips, one in the grille and the other spanning the lower facia add horizontal contrast.
The rear has also been redesigned and significantly cleaned up. A full width taillight is the main new feature, the thin profile again helps visually keep the Navigator’s height in check. Other than a subtle recess for the license plate, the rest of the rear is treated with clean surfaces. The one small alteration I’d make is to have the lower chrome strip also wrap around the back instead of being chopped off at the bumper step. It would echo the body side crease that wraps around through the taillight.
The interior got a significant upgrade and reflects similar design themes to the Aviator. The Central Park theme has a few really special bits worth noticing. Wood panels on the dash and center console feature a laser etching graphic of the streets surrounding Central Park. There’s a subtle relief to the etching making it feel specially crafted versus machine stamped. The seats are covered with a perforated leather with an abstract dot pattern representing the Manhattan skyline. Lincoln senior color and material designer Marcia Salzberg, told us the goal with the Central Park theme was to offer a calming palette of colors and textures that mimic the effect of stepping into Central Park away from the chaotic streets of Manhattan.
Inside the white walled gallery, the exterior paint looked almost black even though it’s a deep green. The actual color seems better represented in the official photos from Lincoln. A tricky color to photograph however as even the side view looks more grey.
Photos and Text: Dave Pinter