Once in a while we ask ourselves if the wind in the sails of the SUV segments will ever blow itself out. Ford, as we know, is betting that it won’t. Lincoln has just unveiled the production version of the 2020 Aviator, a nameplate last affixed to a vehicle a dozen years ago.
In the footsteps of the Navigator
At very first glance it’s easy to spot the family resemblance with the automaker’s big Navigator, and that’s a good thing – this Aviator has attitude. Based on the platform that underpins the Ford Explorer, it offers space for 7 passengers. The blue colour it’s displayed in at the Los Angeles show accentuates its fluid lines. The Lincoln front grilled is decked here in glossy black with chrome accents for an eye-catching effect, and the wrap-around windshield adds a final aviation theme to the look.
Two powerful V6 engines
For the first time, Lincoln is combining a 3.0L V6 twin-turbo and hybrid technology. The Aviator Grand touring will produce 450 hp and 600 lb-ft of torque. Also on the menu is a strictly gasoline version running on the same V6, with 400 hp and 400 lb-ft of torque at its disposal. In each case power is harnessed by a 10-speed automatic transmission.
The Aviator can be driven in five different modes, accessible via the standard configurable 12.3-inch LCD screen. There are the five modes proper to Lincoln vehicles, plus two new modes that are available specifically for the Grand Touring. Pure EV delivers a quiet all-electric drive and Preserve EV stores electric charge for later use.
Control your Aviator with your phone
Lincoln’s innovative system allows you to use your phone as key for the Aviator, possible through the Lincoln Way app. Owners can lock and unlock the vehicle’s doors, open the back hatch and, best of all, start and drive the vehicle without the need for a traditional key.
The system offers other functionalities; the driver can, for example, activate a sound to locate their vehicle, or keep preferences for the seat, side-view mirror and steering-wheel placements in memory.
If ever the phone’s battery has died, a password can be entered on the keyboard on the outside of the vehicle to unlock the door. Then, an emergency code can be entered on the central touchscreen to start and operate the vehicle. Lose the phone, and the function can easily be deleted.
A function designed with our roads in mind
Among the various available options is a technology that detects potholes and uneven road surfaces and immediately adjusts the suspension to keep the ride as smooth as possible. The Adaptive Suspension with Road Preview system uses a front-end camera to continually sweep the area in front of the vehicle. This seems to me an irresistible feature for anyone driving Canadian roads.
All Lincoln vehicles come with the Lincoln Co-Pilot360 suite of drive assist systems as standard equipment. It includes Evasive Steering Assist, Reverse Brake Assist, Active Park Assist Plus and Traffic Jam Assist. This last system combines Adaptive Cruise Control, Stop and Go, Lane Centering and the new Traffic Sign Recognition function, which detects and reads speed limit signs along the side of the road and adjusts the Aviator’s speed accordingly.
The Aviator is expected to arrive at dealership in the first quarter of 2019.