2004 Aviator New Car Test Drive
The Lincoln Aviator is the luxury division's mid-size sport-utility vehicle. Based on the Ford Explorer, the Aviator combines a rugged, truck-based platform with a smooth luxury car ride. Properly equipped, Aviator can tow up to 7,300 pounds, significantly more than most imported SUVs in its size class.
The Aviator's mission is to deliver the style of the Lincoln Navigator in a smaller, more manageable, and less expensive package. Aviator lists for about $8,700 less than Navigator. Aviator is also priced lower than most V8-powered luxury sport-utilities. Aviator costs less than a Lexus GX 470, Mercedes-Benz ML 500, Infiniti FX45, and less than the V8 versions of the Cadillac SRX and Volkswagen Touareg. Aviator is also priced just below the six-cylinder BMW X5 3.0.
All-new last year, the Lincoln Aviator returns for 2004 with more options to enhance safety. Electronic stability control, which Ford calls AdvanceTrac, together with a new system called Roll Stability Control, reduce the chance of skidding and to help drivers maintain handling control. A tire-pressure monitoring system is now standard. The voice-activated DVD navigation system has been improved and refined, and now comes with an in-dash six-disc CD changer.
Lincoln Aviator is available with a choice of rear-wheel drive ($39,940) or all-wheel-drive ($42,890). All models come with Ford's 4.6-liter V8 engine, rated at 302 horsepower and 300 pounds-feet of torque. All come with a five-speed automatic.
Most luxuries are standard: leather upholstery; six-way power front seats with two memory settings for the driver; AM/FM/CD/cassette audio with steering wheel-mounted controls; dual-zone electronic climate control plus auxiliary climate controls for the rear-seat passengers; heated power-adjustable side mirrors with built-in puddle lamps and turn-signal indicators; power-adjustable brake and accelerator pedals; and a back-up obstacle detection system.
The Premium Preferred Equipment Group ($2,465 with 2WD, $2,690 with 4WD) adds an audiophile stereo with six-disc CD changer, seven-spoke machined aluminum wheels, high-intensity-discharge headlamps, and heated and cooled driver and passenger seats. (Lincoln sometimes refers to this as the Ultimate Preferred Equipment Group.)
Safety features include anti-lock brakes with Brake Assist, dual-stage frontal air bags, Safety Canopy airbags for protection in side impacts and rollovers, front safety belts with pre-tensioners and load-limiting retractors, three-point lap and shoulder belts for all seating positions, childproof rear-door locks, and LATCH universal child safety seat latches. AdvanceTrac electronic stability control with Roll Stability Control is optional ($860) for Aviator 2WD models. The system will be available for Aviator AWD models late in the model year.
Other options include a power glass sunroof ($1,595), DVD-based navigation system with touch screen and in-dash six-disc CD changer ($2,495), rear-seat DVD entertainment ($1,295), roof rail crossbars ($60), Class III trailer package ($295), and chrome wheels ($795). A 40/20/40 split second-row bench seat can be substituted for the standard second-row bucket seats at no charge.