On paper, the Aviator looks to be a true competitor for the many mid-size luxury SUVs from European brands. In person, we'll have to wait a bit for our first test, but you'll find everything we know so far below, and check back to Autoblog for our first driving impressions.
What's new for 2020?The Aviator is an all-new model that slots into a previously unfilled slot in the Lincoln lineup between the Nautilus and Navigator.
What's the interior and in-car technology like?We haven't driven the Aviator, but we have had a chance to experience its interior at the LA Auto Show, and quite simply, it's stunning. It closely resembles what you'll find in the Lincoln Navigator, which has consistently blown us away with its cool design, strong build quality and functionality. Importantly, the Aviator won't be mistaken for anything other than a Lincoln. Now, it should be noted that we've only seen the priciest Black Label model, which possesses unique color schemes, extra leather trim and represents the Aviator in its finest form. However, if the Navigator is any indication, lesser versions of the Aviator will still be distinctive, just a little less so since you'll likely be restricted to more traditional color schemes and trim types.
In terms of technology, every 2020 Aviator comes standard with a large 10-inch touchscreen displayed prominently atop the dash. It runs Ford's Sync 3 interface, which is generally user friendly, though it perhaps doesn't look as cool and sophisticated as the all-digital gauge cluster (or the interfaces of rivals). Also standard is 4G in-car WiFi, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, satellite radio and two USB ports. The Reserve trim adds a 14-speaker Revel sound system and integrated navigation, plus a 360-degree parking camera. The Black Label adds rear USB ports and a 28-speaker Revel Ultima audio system.
How big is it?The Aviator is a large, three-row crossover that can seat seven people with a second-row bench seat or six with second-row captain's chairs. Lincoln hasn't released official dimensions at the time of this writing, but given our experience at the LA Auto Show, it looks to be one of the most spacious in its segment — especially in its third row. Furthermore, the Aviator shares a platform with the 2020 Ford Explorer, and we know that it's definitely one of the most accommodating vehicles in its own class. We would suspect that cargo room will also be among the best in its segment along with the Volvo XC90 and Acura MDX.
What's the performance and fuel economy?Although we suspect there will eventually be a less powerful version available, at launch, the Lincoln Aviator will come standard with a 3.0-liter turbocharged V6 that produces 400 horsepower and 400 pound-feet of torque. By comparison, the most powerful gas-only versions of the Acura MDX and Volvo XC90 produce 290 and 316 horsepower, respectively. The Audi Q7 only goes up to 333. Only three-row crossovers like the V8-powered BMW X7 and Mercedes GLS can top the Aviator, but their starting prices are nearly twice as much.
The Aviator comes standard with a 10-speed automatic transmission and rear-wheel drive, while all-wheel drive is optional.
The upgrade powertrain, included only in the Aviator Grand Touring model, is a plug-in hybrid that produces 450 horsepower and 600 pound-feet of torque. That's borderline absurd. The hybrid versions of the MDX and XC90 aren't remotely in the same city, let alone ballpark. So, there is no doubt about its performance. However, we're not so sure about its green credentials as electric range and fuel economy estimates have not been released at the time of this writing.
What more can I read and watch about the Lincoln Aviator?
VIDEO: Your smartphone is your key fob in the new Lincoln Aviator
Pricing for the 2020 Lincoln Aviator starts at $52,195, including the $1,095 destination charge. For that, you get a comprehensive amount of standard features, including 19-inch wheels, a power liftgate, proximity entry and push-button start, various accident avoidance technologies (see safety section), automatic LED headlights and wipers, auto-dimming mirrors (interior and driver-side), three-zone automatic climate control, heated eight-way power front seats, simulated leather upholstery, driver memory settings, a 35/30/35-split second-row bench, a power-folding third-row seat, a 10-inch touchscreen, two USB ports, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, in-car WiFi, satellite radio and a 10-speaker sound system.
What features are available and what's the price?
The Aviator Reserve trim starts at $57,285, including destination, and adds 20-inch wheels, an adaptive suspension (requires all-wheel drive), a hands-free liftgate, power-folding mirrors, a 360-degree parking camera, four-zone climate control, a power-adjustable steering wheel, leather upholstery, standard second-row captain's chairs (the bench is a no-cost option), integrated navigation, HD radio, rear audio controls and a 14-speaker sound system.
The Aviator Black Label starts at $78,790, including destination, and is only available with all-wheel drive. It boasts unique color options and interior trim combinations, plus 22-inch wheels, a panoramic sunroof, upgraded leather, Lincoln's 30-way "Perfect Position" front seats (they heat, ventilate and massage among other tricks), a heated steering wheel, two rear USB ports, wireless smartphone charging, and a 28-speaker Revel Ultima sound system.
Apart from the Black Label's unique design elements, many of the upper trims' additional features are available as options on the lower trim levels.
The Aviator Grand Touring plug-in hybrid starts at $69,895, including destination, and is equipped similarly to the Reserve plus the panoramic sunroof and different steering. The Black Label version ($88,895) is also comparable, but has 21-inch wheels.
What's its safety equipment and crash ratings?Besides the usual airbags and stability aids, the 2020 Aviator comes standard with forward collision warning with pedestrian detection and automatic emergency braking, blind-spot and rear cross-traffic warning, and lane-keeping assist. A 911 Assist system with automatic crash notification is also included as part of the standard Sync 3 infotainment system.
The Aviator has not yet been crash tested by a third party.