2020 Lincoln Aviator Preview

Christian Wardlaw | Nov 27, 2018
  • New midsize, 3-row luxury SUV
  • Twin-turbocharged V-6 engine, with available plug-in hybrid drivetrain
  • 10-speed automatic transmission
  • Rear-wheel or all-wheel drive
  • Available adaptive suspension with Road Preview technology that scans for potholes and bumps
  • Standard and Grand Touring model series
  • Several trim levels, including Black Label in Chalet, Destination, and Flight themes
  • Debuts new Lincoln Co-Pilot360 Plus collection of driver-assistance and collision-avoidance features
  • Phone As A Key system allows owner to use smartphone to lock, unlock, start, and drive Aviator
  • New Revel Ultima 3-D audio system with 28 speakers
  • On sale early 2019


Lincoln is no stranger to the midsize SUV market. The original Aviator was based on the Ford Explorer and debuted for the 2003 model year looking like a shrink-wrapped Navigator.

Eventually, the Aviator nameplate gave way to the MKX and moved to a platform shared with the Ford Edge. For the 2019 model year, the 5-passenger MKX was renamed Nautilus and spruced up to better fit with the rest of the Lincoln family.

2020 Lincoln Aviator
2020 Lincoln Aviator

Now, to bridge the gap between the Nautilus and the Navigator, Lincoln resurrects the Aviator nameplate, applying it to a handsome new 3-row SUV sitting on a rear-drive platform. Ultimately, a redesigned Ford Explorer will join it using the same underpinnings and powertrains, but the Aviator is first to debut with attractive styling, an opulent interior, and compelling technologies.

Exterior Features

The new 2020 Aviator’s rear-drive platform (all-wheel drive is an option) made it easier to style this SUV in the way that target buyers expect. That includes a short front overhang, rakish roofline, and a visually appealing dashboard-to-axle relationship.

Up front, the Aviator employs now-familiar Lincoln design cues, and at night the SUV sequentially illuminates with a welcoming embrace. In profile, there is more than a whiff of Range Rover to the Aviator’s proportions and lines, which is a good thing. Around back, tidy detailing and Lincoln’s signature horizontal lighting elements are plainly evident.

Interior Features

Taking its cues from the larger Navigator SUV, the new Aviator’s cabin emphasizes horizontal themes and modern forms. Highlights include a 10-in. infotainment system display, stereo and climate controls that make it easy to adjust these systems while driving, and a new steering wheel providing easier access to infotainment functions and the voice-recognition system.

Lincoln promises comfortable accommodations in the Aviator’s second- and third-row seats, and when equipped with the available 30-way-adjustable Perfect Position front seats the driver and front passenger will be coddled with heating, ventilation, and massage.

Optional Features

Lincoln offers its Black Label program for the new Aviator. Lincoln Black Label is a membership program that includes a premium purchasing experience with remote vehicle delivery, premium maintenance program with free car washes and an annual detail, a year of CLEAR airport security enrollment to make travel easier, and other benefits intended to make life more enjoyable.

Black Label Aviator models sit at the top of the lineup, and come in Chalet, Destination, and Flight themes. Each has specific paint and wheel selections, and cabins are decked out in special colors and materials that are unavailable for other Aviators.

Under the Hood

A twin-turbocharged, 3.0-liter V-6 engine is standard in the new Aviator, making 400 horsepower and 400 lb.-ft. of torque. In the Aviator Grand Touring series, that same engine is paired with a plug-in hybrid system. Together, the components make 450 horsepower and 600 lb.-ft. of torque.

Lincoln isn’t stating the Aviator Grand Touring’s electric range just yet, but this version of the SUV offers Pure EV and Preserve EV driving modes. This allows the driver to determine when the Aviator Grand Touring should operate solely on electricity and when it should not.

Both versions of the Aviator have a 10-speed automatic transmission. Rear-wheel drive is standard with all-wheel drive an option. Buyers can upgrade to an adaptive suspension with Road Preview technology, which can read the road surface to scan for potholes and bumps, helping the suspension to adjust accordingly in order to soften the blow.


Every 2020 Aviator has Lincoln Co-Pilot360 as standard equipment. This is the company’s suite of driver-assistance and collision-avoidance technologies.

As an option, an enhanced version of this is available, called Lincoln Co-Pilot360 Plus. This package includes adaptive cruise control with stop-and-go capability and a traffic jam-assist function, reverse automatic emergency braking, Evasive Steering Assist to help avoid obstacles on the road, and a fully autonomous self-parking system called Active Park Assist Plus.


Active Park Assist Plus takes care of the steering, braking, acceleration, and transmission shifting in order to put the Aviator into a parallel or perpendicular parking space. The driver sits in the driver’s seat, letting the Lincoln handle the task.

Lincoln’s latest infotainment technology is aboard the Aviator, complete with a 10-in. touch-screen display, digital instrumentation, a 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot, and a Lincoln Way smartphone app. Additionally, the new Aviator is offered with a new Revel Ultima 3-D audio system with 28 speakers placed strategically throughout the cabin.

Phone As A Key technology also debuts in the Aviator. This allows owners to use their smartphone to operate the door locks, start the vehicle, and drive it. No key fob is necessary, and a redundant system protects you if your smartphone battery dies or you lose your device. Using the exterior door PIN code pad and an operational code punched into the infotainment system, you’ll still be able to unlock and drive the SUV.

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