REDESIGNED FOR 2019, THE LINCOLN AVIATOR TAPS INTO OUR SUV AND CROSSOVER OBSESSION WITH A RANGE OF NOVEL AMENITIES AND POWERTRAINS
BY EVAN MONROE
There were a number of reasons why Lincoln’s first Aviator, a midsize luxury SUV, petered out after just a four year run from 2002 to 2005. Critics argued that its lines were, well…dull, and not spiritually distinct enough from the Navigator. Power was terrific, however, as was the gearbox and better than average cornering, but the whole just never gelled, so, after harvesting a number of its best features into the Mercury Mountaineer, Ford pulled the plug.
Now, even as America’s second largest car manufacturer winnows model lines to virtually eliminate sedans, it continues to reinvent its SUV and crossover lines, acknowledging Americans’ insatiable appetite for them. Still, in a move that was a genuine surprise to us, a new Aviator revolved on a turntable at this spring’s New York International Auto Show a preview that promised to closely resemble what will ultimately be released as either a 2019 or 2020 model.
And, though it certainly looks the part of a largish (three-row) midsized SUV in the traditional mold, future versatility was paramount in the design, as drivetrains scheduled roll out over the next few years will include plug-in hybrid, conventional gas, and likely an all electric model
With its tapered lines and twin-turbo motor, the Aviator enters a medium-sized luxury segment that represents more than a quarter of all premium SUVs sold. The majority of vehicles in this class (585,000 of which were sold in 2017) are snatched up by people aged 35 to 44, and competition is stiff.
Tech features begin most immediately with Lincoln’s “phone as key” system, with an associated app that activates a locator chirp to help find and open a vehicle (should the phone go dead, a backup passcode can be entered on the standard exterior keypad). The cabin accentuates horizontal lines to minimize visual clutter, while Perfect Position seats offer 30 way adjustability and massage. There are also multiple power outlets throughout, and WiFi ensures everyone stays connected. An all new Lincoln Black Label inspired theme harmoniously combines Shearling Beige and Lunar Gray to further elevate the ambience. Machine turned aluminium appliqués, brushed in small circles to replicate the shape of early aviation instruments, further enhance the look, while seat leather is minimally processed to retain a gratifying natural texture.
Lincoln of Wayne
1910 Route 23, Wayne / 888.418.6227