Wednesday, December 16, 2020



After a brief run over a decade ago, the Aviator name is back for Lincoln, and it is welcome change from the use of alphanumeric nomenclature among luxury class vehicles, whether they been sedans, coupes, convertibles, or the growing crossover SUV segment.

It is much easier to remember “Aviator” than it is “MKX” or whatever Lincoln’s previous midsize SUV was.

Slotted between the smaller Nautilus and larger Navigator, the 2020 Lincoln Aviator is a luxury take on the trend-setting Ford Explorer with a classy exterior and a refined, roomy interior packed with lots of easy-to-operate technological features.

It is offered in trims designated Standard, Reserve, Black Label, Grand Touring and Grand Touring Black Label and available with either a standard gasoline V6 engine or a plug-in hybrid gas-electric powertrain (available in Grand Touring and Grand Touring Black Label models).

The turbocharged 3.0-liter V6 is mated to a 10-speed automatic transmission and is rated at a healthy 400 horsepower and 415 pound-feet of torque. Those are decent enough numbers for a competent driving experience, though for a real punch the hybrid offers a combined 495 hp and 630 lb.-ft. Those numbers are based on premium fuel, but the Aviator also accepts regular.

Rear-wheel drive is standard on the Aviator with all-wheel available. Black Label models come only with AWD.

The Reserve trim served for my test drive and with the available AWD offered fuel mileage figures of 17 miles-per-gallon city, 24 highway, and 20 combined. According to the government, that will cost you an extra $2,500 in fuel costs over a five-year period.

The Aviator can seat seven in synthetic leather seats (genuine leather is available) though as is typical in a midsize SUV the third row can become a bit snug. With captain’s chairs in the second row, capacity is reduced to six.

Third-row passengers get only 29.2 inches of legroom and cargo capacity is just 18.2 cubic feet with the third row seats in place. Lower the third row and cargo capacity is 41.8 cubic feet.

Standard features on the Aviator Reserve include a 360-degree camera, push-button start, lane-keeping system, Lincoln Connect with 4G modem and WiFi capability, power tilt-and-telescoping steering column, leather-wrapped steering wheel, dual zone climate control, hands-free liftgate, full LED headlights, a chrome-mesh grille, intelligent (adaptable) cruise control, and drive modes that allow you to select from Normal, Conserve, Excite, Slippery and Deep Conditions.

Standard safety items on the Aviator Reserve in addition to the usual collection of airbags and seatbelts  included blind-spot warning, auto high beams, and a pre-collision assist system.

All that is covered by the Reserve’s starting MSRP of $59,700.

Adding extras like Lincoln’s Co-Pilot Plus system (evasive steering assist, reverse brake assist, and active park assist), a luxury package that adds a massage function to front seats, a convenience package that provides a head-up display for the driver to monitor speed and also allows you to use your smart phone as a key, a panoramic sunroof, 23-inch wheels, and a dynamic handling package ran the total up to $75,815 with the $1,995 destination and delivery charge included.

You can add a towing package for your boat. Or a camper trailer for that matter, but I’m thinking if you are shopping in this class you’re probably more likely to have a boat than a camper.

What I liked about the 2020 Lincoln Aviator Reserve AWD:
The exterior styling is exquisite and the interior is very classy. Technological features, including a standard surround view camera, are plentiful and very user friendly. The adaptable cruise control works very smoothly and efficiently. I also liked the way the Aviator lights up as you approach it with the key fob in your possession. 

What I didn’t like about the 2020 Lincoln Aviator Reserve AWD: I only inputted one destination on the navigation system, and it didn’t quite take me all the way to where I wanted to go. Could have been operator error, I suppose, but not sure about that since it did get me close and my phone had it right.

Would I buy the 2020 Lincoln Aviator Reserve AWD? Definitely. This is a roomy SUV with all the features you would want in a luxury vehicle, and it is very easy to maneuver through tight parking lots.

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