Flying High – Lincoln’s 2020 Aviator is our SUV of the YEAR (so far)

Words + Photos. Angus MacKenzie (CAD)

Back in the 2000’s Lincoln took a run at promoting an earlier version of an SUV known as the Aviator. Loosely based on the Ford Explorer, that iteration of the aerial named device was one of Lincoln’s shortest running models. Running from 2003 – 2005 the SUV wasn’t quite a Navigator nor an Explorer leaving it in a bad place on the marketing map.

Jump ahead 15 years to the completely redesigned 2020 Aviator and we find ourselves behind the wheel of a sport-luxury SUV that’s got enough stylistic integrity and performance charisma to silence it’s predecessor’s short lived Wikipedia notes.

Lincoln Canada was generous enough to give us a 2020 Aviator Reserve for ten days over the Christmas break this past month. We wasted no time in getting the Aviator in front of the Canon 5D MkIV in various photographic scenarios. And in keeping with the aerial theme we took to the skies with the new Mavic Mini aka. Mini-Bert.

I think Lincoln has done great things, from a stylistic, interior design and performance perspective with the 2020 Aviator. The sculpted beasty has its work cut out for it against various Japanese, Korean, German and British models. In direct competition with its closest domestic competitor, I feel Aviator has surpassed Cadillac on a global stage.

Full gallery with additional specs, impressions and pricing below.

Source. Lincoln Canada

Aviator in this form comes equipped with Lincoln’s Twin-Turbocharged 3.0L V6 good for 400-horsepower and 415 of torque. More than enough for everyday usage, but what we’re really waiting for is the yet to be driven hybrid.
While the 2020 Aviator and Ford Explorer share similar techy features such as the SYNC 3 infotainment system, Apple CarPlay & Android Auto, the Lincoln provides an optional Revel Ultima 3D Audio System with HD Radio Technology and 28 whomping speakers to keep passengers up with the rhythm.
Lincoln brings back the Aviator name for 2020 but this time with a more serious report card
Aviator has optional air bag suspension which explains why the truck is sitting inches lower in some photos.
Aviator sports five drive modes – conservationist, speedster, snow, slippy and regular
Aviator Reserve comes equipped with Intelligent AWD and a nicely geared 10-speed transmission with flappy paddles.
Aviator at Calgary’s Museum of the Regiments, complete with Lockheed’s iconic F-104 Starfighter as backdrop fodder. Interesting trivia bit – The F-104 was the first aircraft to simultaneously hold the world speed and altitude records. On May 7th 1958, the fighter broke the world altitude record by flying to 91,243 feet (27,811 m) at Edwards AFB and then on May 16, 1958, USAF Captain Walter W. Irwin, set a world speed record of 1,404.012 miles per hour (2,259.538 km/h) over a 15 miles (24 km) at Edwards AFB.
Aviator sculpted door lines mixed with high waistline and low roofline make for one photogenic grocery getter.
According to the Aviator’s marketing bio, the new truck was “born from the boundless allure of flight, the Lincoln Aviator uses intentional horizontal lines and a sloping roof for a streamlined feel, creating a sense of power and motion.”
Aviator for 2020 includes stuff like; Pixel LED Headlamps, Phone As A Key technology, Active Park Assist, Reverse Automatic Braking, available Adaptive Suspension with Road Preview, 28 speaker Revel® Ultima 3D Audio System86 and Traffic Sign Recognition. Helpful when you need to know the NIMBY influenced speed limit is 40 kph.
While our tester in Reserve form weighs in at an SUV respectable 2,206 kg (4863 lb) the Hybrid version gains an extra 300 kg pushing to a whopping 2,586 kg or 5,680 lb.
Although handling is good for a vehicle of this mandate, there’s no mistaking it for your friend’s Porsche GT3 4.0 RS
Blacked out D-pillar, sloping roofline, raised nose and subtle door scalloping all work together to make the Aviator one of the best looking large SUV’s on the market.
2020 Lincoln Aviator Reserve starts at $68,500 CAD while the yet to be driven Grand Touring Hybrid starts at $80,500
0-60 mph (96 kph) is available in 5.9 seconds in the Reserve. Expect bigger things from the Grand Touring model…
Aviator interior treatment sticks with Lincoln’s upscale smoking lounge look and feel.
Seating for six but getting to those back seats takes some effort
Aviator dashboard is a bit of visual chaos until your brain adjusts. And just try to find the shift buttons in under five seconds upon initial entry…
Rear passengers receive equal pampering thanks to heated seats, individual climate controls and reclining seats. The Wubs gives the 2020 Aviator 5 out of 5.
Lincoln Aviator shares some design and build bits with its Ford Explorer cousin.
Lincoln Aviator safety bits include; Co-Pilot 360 Plus which includes a number of Driver Assist Technologies including Evasive Steering Assist, Reverse Brake Assist, Active Park Assist Plus and Traffic Jam Assist.
Aviator bigly rubbers fill the stylized arches nicely while keeping things right side up during aggressive cornering.
Mileage figures for 3.0L twin-turbo are reported as 13.7 L/100km City, 9.7 L/100km Hwy and 11.9 L/100km combined.

Angus Mackenzie

Canadian born automotive & architectural photographer. elemente magazine was born in 2006 as a Canadian national design publication . It remains as an online entity.

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