The 2020 Lincoln Aviator starts at $51,100 in the United States and $69,000 in Canada before freight and delivery charges.
Supreme Perfect Position seats, cushy ride, muscular powertrains.
Unspectacular fuel economy, challenging outer dimensions in the shopping mall parking lot, high price.
Ford’s luxury brand hasn’t had it easy over the past decade or so as it tried on several occasions to build itself a new image in order to attract a younger clientele. With the new 2020 Lincoln Aviator, and by looking at the other new products in the brand’s lineup, it finally seems to have found its place in the sun.
It’s not the first time that the Aviator badge has graced a Lincoln utility vehicle. Some might remember the first generation, sold from 2003 to 2005 as a more luxurious counterpart of the Ford Explorer. The same can be said of Aviator take two, but this time, much greater efforts have been deployed to distinguish them, and the result is surprisingly good.
Rivalling the Cadillac XT6, the Acura MDX, the Volvo XC90, the Infiniti QX60, the Land Rover Discovery, the Lexus RXL and GX, the Genesis GV80 and the Buick Enclave, in addition to the German products like the Mercedes-Benz GLE, the Audi Q7 and the BMW X5, the Aviator is a midsize, three-row crossover that relies on supreme ride comfort and a sumptuous cockpit to stand out, but who performance can’t be denied either.
As standard, the 2020 Lincoln Aviator is equipped with a twin-turbocharged 3.0L V6 that develops 400 horsepower and 415 pound-feet of torque, matched to a 10-speed automatic transmission as well as a front-wheel drivetrain in the U.S. All-wheel drive is optional, but standard for the Canadian market. Acceleration is quite strong, despite the vehicle’s nearly 5,000-pound (about 2,200 kg) curb weight, especially with the sport drive mode activated—rather, the “Excite” mode as Lincoln calls it.
Included in the Aviator Grand Touring and U.S.-only Black Label variants is a plug-in hybrid powertrain that consists of the twin-turbo V6 and an electric motor, for a combined output of 494 horsepower and 630 pound-feet. The extra muscle is taxed by the additional weight (almost 5,700 pounds or 2,575 kg) of the PHEV system and battery pack, and owners get an estimated EV driving range of 21 miles or 34 kilometres, which is neither great not terrible. Actually, the rare PHEV competitors—BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Volvo—can’t do better in this regard.
The 2020 Lincoln Aviator ranges in price from $51,100 to $91,830 in the United States, and from $69,000 to $97,435 in Canada, freight and delivery charges excluded.
Why You Should Buy A 2020 Lincoln Aviator
- Those who find the German luxury crossovers too stiff with their sport suspensions and low-profile tires should definitely check out the Aviator. It’s tuned to offer a supple ride, and with the optional adaptive suspension, the crossover can float over road imperfections and offer a serene driving experience.
- Lincoln’s Perfect Position, 30-way multi-adjustable seats are a worthwhile option. These front seats can be configured to suit any human body and its massaging function is a nice extra touch.
- The 2020 Lincoln Aviator is big, but especially wide, which means plenty of should and hip room for rear-seat passengers. The third-row seats are more than bearable for adults, though of course, climbing in and out of those rearmost chairs requires some flexibility.
- The Aviator’s interior fit and finish is impressive, with just the right amount of chrome accenting, sumptuous upholstery and solid-feeling controls. The SYNC 3 infotainment system is getting up there in age, but still works pretty well with a reactive touchscreen and powerful voice recognition software.
- As mentioned above, no matter which version of the Aviator is chosen, buyers get a very powerful vehicle with gobs of low-end torque for quick getaways.
Why You Shouldn’t Buy A 2020 Lincoln Aviator
- While the Aviator’s sheer size may be a plus for rear passenger space, it’s not as convenient when we’re trying to park the vehicle in crowded shopping mall parking lots.
- The Lincoln’s powertrains may be called EcoBoost, but there isn’t much “Eco” here. With AWD, the Aviator’s city/highway/combined ratings in the U.S. are set at 17/24/20 mpg, while the Canadian-market version is rated at 13.7/9.7/11.9 L/100 km. Those are mid-pack numbers in the three-row lux crossover segment. With a combined rating of 23 mpg or 10.3 L/100 km, the plug-in hybrid Aviator fares slightly better.
- Cargo space in the 2020 Lincoln Aviator is good, but not great given its size. Although it boasts class-leading 18.3 cubic feet when all rows of seats are occupied, its volumes of 41.8 cubic feet (third row folded) and 77.7 cubic feet (second row folded) are surpassed by those of rivals such as the MDX, the Discovery, the XT6 and the Enclave.
- The Aviator doesn’t come cheap. Many rivals such as the MDX, the QX60 and the Enclave are significantly less costly, at least in regards to the entry price. A loaded Aviator with the plug-in hybrid powertrain can top $90K, which is a lot of money to spend on a family vehicle.
- So far, the 2020 Lincoln Aviator hasn’t impressed much on the reliability front. Consumer Reports gives it a rating of 1 out of 5, citing problematic areas such as body integrity and body hardware (locks, doors, mirrors, sunroof, etc.), power equipment and in-car electronics as the worst offenders.
The 2020 Lincoln Aviator scores when many other midsize luxury crossovers fail to impress, and that’s in absolute comfort and ride quality. Very few vehicles are as peaceful inside as the Aviator is, and it’s got a classic, elegant design that won’t draw crowds at the gas station, but won’t go out of style either.
On the other hand, it’s a true American utility vehicle with all its qualities, but shortcomings, too. It’s big and heavy, fuel economy could be better, and so could its reputation for reliability. If three rows of seats aren’t necessary, the Lincoln Nautilus offers many of the Aviator’s virtues at a lower price point. Still, the latter fits right in with the Lincoln brand’s newfound image.