Lincoln first used the Aviator name in the early 2000s on a lightly reworked version of the Ford Explorer. Although the brand followed the same formula for the Aviator's 2020 revival, this time around, it's almost impossible to tell that these three-row midsize SUVs share parts. The new Lincoln Aviator is a legitimate luxury SUV, with strong performance to back it up. If you're interested in a hybrid, Lincoln offers the Aviator Grand Touring plug-in hybrid.
With the Aviator, Lincoln fly to new heights in the three-row luxury SUV segment, challenging established players with a distinctly American feel.
The Aviator's exterior is bold and distinctive. Chrome details and technical lighting elements catch the eye, while the blacked-out D-pillar creates a trendy floating roofline. Inside it's gorgeous. Wood, metal, and leather trim is contrasted by the big infotainment and gauge cluster displays.
Front-row occupants will delight in the available 30-way adjustable seats. The second-row captain's chairs are comfortable and spacious, too. The third row is snug (as with other vehicles in the segment), but it's easy to access thanks to the quick-sliding second row seats.
The standard 400-hp twin-turbo V-6 defies our expectations of what a "base" engine should feel like—it's powerful and plenty quick. Acceleration isn't significantly improved by the available hybrid powertrain, and we had trouble modulating its aggressive throttle tip-in. Nonetheless, the low-end electric torque and EV driving range adds appeal. With any engine, the RWD-based chassis provides a rousing yet supple ride.
The Aviator's pricing structure—from just over $50,000 to around $90,000 for a loaded model—shows Lincoln's ambitions against well-known competitors from Europe and Asia. It's justified; the brand built a great luxury SUV that's well worth consideration.
The Aviator's standard engine is a twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter V-6 producing 400 hp and 415 lb-ft of torque. It's connected to a 10-speed automatic transmission, with RWD standard or AWD optional. In MotorTrend testing, an AWD Aviator's 0-60 mph acceleration was 5.4 seconds. The 2020 model scored a fuel economy rating of 18/26 mpg city/highway for RWD models, and 17/24 mpg for AWD models.
The Aviator Grand Touring features a plug-in hybrid powertrain. It combines the twin-turbo 3.0-liter V-6 with a 13.6-kWh battery and 75-kW motor for 494 hp and 630 lb-ft of torque combined. The 10-speed automatic and AWD are standard on hybrid models. Like with the standard Aviator, MotorTrend measured a 5.4-second 0-60 mph time from the Aviator Grand Touring. Combined fuel economy for the 2020 model was EPA-rated at 23 mpg and 56 mpg-e, with up to 21 miles of all-electric range available.
From the NHTSA, the 2021 Aviator scores a five-star overall safety rating (out of five stars). When it was evaluated by the IIHS in 2020, the Aviator received top Good scores in all crashworthiness tests except the driver-side small front overlap test, where it got the second-best Acceptable score. Its standard LED reflector headlights earned a Marginal score, the second-lowest, but its available LED projector headlights got a Good score.
Active safety and driver-assist features on all Aviator trims include forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning, front and rear parking sensors, and blind-spot monitoring with cross-traffic alerts. Adaptive cruise control with lane keep assist, rear automatic braking, and a semi-autonomous parking aid are optional or included depending on trim.
Cargo volume measures 18.3 cubic feet with all three rows of seats upright. With the third row lowered, it expands to 41.8 cubic feet. Folding the second row expands maximum capacity to 77.7 cubic feet.
The Aviator seats seven with its standard second-row bench, but available captain's chairs provide more comfort while reducing capacity to six. Front-row headroom measures 40.3 inches as standard or 38.7 inches with a sunroof, which compares to 39.8 inches in the Cadillac XT6. Second-row headroom is 39.7 inches without or 38.4 inches with a sunroof in the Aviator, comparable to 39.1 inches in the XT6. Third-row headroom is a bit less in the Lincoln, at 36.9 inches to the Cadillac's 37.2 inches.
Front-row legroom is 43.0 inches in the Aviator, more than the 41.2 inches in the XT6. Second-row legroom is closer, measuring 39.0 inches in the Lincoln against 39.1 inches in the Cadillac. Third-row legroom is tight in both vehicles: 29.2 inches in the Aviator, and 29.5 inches in the XT6.
All Aviator trim levels include a 10.1-inch infotainment touchscreen and a 12.3-inch gauge cluster display; a head-up display is optional. Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, Wi-Fi hotspot capability, and two USB ports in the first and second rows are standard. Built-in navigation is included on all but the base trim. A 360-degree parking camera system is available. Aviator Black Label drivers can use a smartphone app in place of a key and to monitor the vehicle's status. A 10-speaker audio system is standard, while 14- and 28-speaker Revel premium setups are included depending on trim.
|$1000||Lincoln announces a Bonus Customer Cash on select models. [Regional Incentive. See dealer for availability.]||03-31-2021|
|$500||Lincoln announces a Military Appreciation Bonus Cash on select models.||01-03-2022|
|$0||0.9% Financing for a maximum term of 36 Months - Lincoln announces special APR financing on select models. [Regional Incentive. See dealer for availability.]||03-31-2021|
|$0||4.9% Financing for a maximum term of 72 Months - Lincoln announces special APR financing on select models. [Regional Incentive. See dealer for availability.]||03-31-2021|
|$1000||Lincoln announces a Conquest Program on select models. [Regional Incentive. See dealer for availability.]||03-31-2021|
|$0||1.9% Financing for a maximum term of 48 Months - Lincoln announces special APR financing on select models. [Regional Incentive. See dealer for availability.]||03-31-2021|
|$250||Lincoln announces a Lease Cash offer on select models. [Regional Incentive. See dealer for availability.]||03-31-2021|
|$1000||Lincoln announces a Retail Bonus Cash on select models. [Regional Incentive. See dealer for availability.]||03-31-2021|
|$0||2.9% Financing for a maximum term of 60 Months - Lincoln announces special APR financing on select models. [Regional Incentive. See dealer for availability.]||03-31-2021|
|$750||Lincoln announces a College Student Purchase Program on select models.||01-03-2022|