• The New Lincoln Aviator Offers Third-Row Seating, Advanced Technology

This SUV makes a remarkable comeback

Lincoln showcased the prototype of the Lincoln Aviator at the New York Auto Show earlier this year. Lincoln planned to slot the Aviator as a mid-size three-row SUV. That opened the gates for the automaker to manufacture the production model of the 2020 Lincoln Aviator, which it unveiled at the 2018 Los Angeles Auto Show.

Everything On Road Will Give It Way

The Lincoln Aviator is a big SUV. It’s got large wheels, doors and windows. But step inside the cabin, especially the last row, and you will be left totally flabbergasted. The third-row seats can accommodate only kids. This took us by surprise, considering how big the Aviator is from outside. As for the headlights, they are adaptive LEDs that narrow the beam throw when driving fast to improve long-distance sight, and widen at low speeds, to better spot joggers, dogs, and cyclists.

As expected, there are not many changes to the production model when compared to the prototype since the prototype itself looked production-ready.

Lincoln’s Design Chief, David Woodhouse said that the team looked into the aeronautical history for inspiration while designing this beast.

Under The Hood

The New Lincoln Aviator Offers Third-Row Seating, Advanced Technology
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Lincoln unveiled the gasoline as well as the plug-in hybrid variant of the Aviator.

The 2020 Lincoln Aviator will come packed with a 3.0-liter, turbocharged V-6 engine that produces 400 horses and 400 pound-feet of torque.

Power is sent to the rear wheels via a 10-speed automatic transmission system. The new Aviator is also available with an all-wheel-drive system as an option if you’re willing to pay for it. Now, coming to the biggest add-on to the 2020 Lincoln Aviator, a new twin-turbocharged plug-in hybrid mode will be offered in the lineup, and it develops 450 ponies and 600 pound-feet of torque! This powertrain is available only in the Grand Touring model.

It Offers Multiple Drive Modes

The New Lincoln Aviator Offers Third-Row Seating, Advanced Technology
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The premium SUV allows drivers to choose from different drive modes – Normal, Conserve, Excite, Slippery and Deep Conditions.

Each of them will adjust the vehicle’s ride, handling, and responsiveness based on the mode selected. The plug-in Grand Touring offers two additional modes – Pure EV and Preserve EV, which are self-explanatory.

What’s even more exciting is the kind of assistive features the 2020 Lincoln Aviator offers. For instance, the Aviator will lower the suspension so that the driver can enter the SUV easily and also load the cargo with ease while it is low. The Adaptive Suspension with Road Preview leverage uses a front camera to spot any potholes and adjust the vehicle in real-time to hover over it smoothly.

This Is Not A Cabin; it Is A Cockpit

The New Lincoln Aviator Offers Third-Row Seating, Advanced Technology
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The interior is over the top in terms of creature comfort additions. Where do we even begin?

The cabin draws inspiration from Bell and Ross, a watch-making company known for its aviation-inspired design.

All the instruments and gauges make you feel as though you are sitting in an aircraft’s cockpit. The polished, aluminum accents, are reminiscence to the instrument panels of a vintage aircraft. The Aviator also comes with 30-way massaging leather seats that have perforation pattern inspired by aircraft runway lights. The seats also come with massagers, heaters, adjusters, coolers, and what not. A tan-leather Black Label interior theme called Flight is available too. Even though all this may lead you to believe that the cockpit of the Lincoln Aviator is vintage and antique, it’s actually not.

Call it too ‘gimmicky’, but we are love with the way Lincoln has named some features. The instrument cluster that Lincoln has named ‘glass cockpit’, is a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster and a head-up display. A 28-speaker Revel Ultima sound system is also present.

Where Does It Stand In The Safety Department?

The New Lincoln Aviator Offers Third-Row Seating, Advanced Technology
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In the safety department, the Lincoln Aviator is well-equipped.

This SUV is offered with Lincoln's Co-Pilot 360 system to make sure you are not caught off-guard on the road.

Features like Reverse Brake Assist, Active Park Assist Plus, an adaptive cruise control system with stop-and-go function, which the automaker calls Traffic Jam Assist, Evasive Steer Assist, which gets the vehicle out of the way if you’re approaching a slowed or suddenly stopped car, are found in here.

Not Sure If Owners Will Be Happy With This

The New Lincoln Aviator Offers Third-Row Seating, Advanced Technology
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Another big technology is being able to use your phone as a key.

The driver will be able to open and lock doors, raise the tail gate, and start the vehicle using Lincoln’s Phone As A Key technology through the Lincoln Way app. This is quite surprising, since Tesla was recently criticized for this and it went on to provide owners with physical key fobs. Should we mention the security risks to Lincoln?

Our Take

The New Lincoln Aviator Offers Third-Row Seating, Advanced Technology
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The Lincoln Aviator is a "three-row, midsize premium utility" that has got all the bells and whistles you can ask for. The car is brilliantly packed overall, looks fantastic, and comes with potent drivetrain options as well. However, the only fly in the ointment would be the second and third-row seats. While the second-row seats, despite being on the smaller side, are manageable, the third-row is a joke. Wondering how much this beast costs? We guess somewhere in the ballpark of $70,000 and there is no word on when it will hit the showrooms. What are your thoughts on the new 2020 Lincoln Aviator? Share them with us in the comments section below, and stay tuned for more updates.

Further Reading

2020 Lincoln Aviator Exterior
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Read our full review on the 2020 Lincoln Aviator.

The New Lincoln Navigator is Here, and You're Going to Want One High Resolution Exterior AutoShow
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Read our full review on the 2018 Lincoln Navigator.

Sidd Dhimaan
Sidd Dhimaan
Senior Editor, Truck Expert, EV Expert - sidd@topspeed.com
Sidd joined the Topspeed.com team in 2017 as an intern and in less than a year he earned a full-time position as an associate editor and junior automotive expert. Fast forward to today, and he is currently serving as a senior editor, pickup truck expert, and EV expert.  Read full bio
About the author

The all-new 2020 Lincoln Aviator touches down at the Los Angeles Auto Show this week with advanced technologies that let the luxury SUV kneel to greet you, scan the road ahead for uneven pavement, and allow you to drive away using your smartphone instead of a key.

The three-row, midsize premium utility elevates Lincoln’s design vision while delivering on Quiet Flight, a key brand concept that supports tenets of beauty, gliding, human and a crafted sanctuary. Lincoln Aviator will be available globally, entering the highest volume segment in the U.S., the midsize luxury market, and the third-highest volume segment in China.

Also debuting is the Lincoln Aviator Grand Touring, named for its gliding power and effortless performance. This marks the first time the company has combined a twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter V6 engine and advanced electrified hybrid technology capable of delivering smooth performance and instantaneous torque.

"“Aviator represents the very best of our brand DNA and signals the direction for Lincoln vehicles going forward,” says Joy Falotico, president, The Lincoln Motor Company. “It offers elegance, effortless performance and unparalleled comfort – a true representation of Lincoln’s vision for the future.”"

Power, capability and choice
Aviator offers the kind of capability premium clients require in a three-row SUV, with available all-wheel drive and a choice of gas or hybrid powertrain. The standard twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter V6 engine, paired with a 10-speed SelectShift® automatic transmission, is expected to deliver an impressive 400 horsepower and 400 lb.-ft. of torque for effortless acceleration.

With the hybrid option, Aviator Grand Touring’s twin-turbocharged engine and advanced electrified technology is targeted to deliver even greater levels of performance. Projected to produce 450 horsepower and a massive 600 lb.-ft. of torque, the all-new Aviator Grand Touring is expected to deliver greater performance than many three-row, midsize luxury hybrid SUVs.

"“This is our most advanced hybrid technology,”" says John Davis, chief program engineer, The Lincoln Motor Company." “Together with the standard twin-turbocharged gas engine and advanced electrified Grand Touring technology, Aviator is set to define effortless performance – performance that only Lincoln can deliver.”"

Lincoln Drive Modes allow clients to further customize their drive experience, while a 12.3-inch standard configurable LCD instrument cluster confirms their choices with beautiful, easy-to-read dynamic graphics and prompts. In addition to Lincoln’s five signature settings – Normal, Conserve, Excite, Slippery and Deep Conditions – two new modes are engineered specifically for Aviator Grand Touring. These modes, Pure EV and Preserve EV, allow clients to choose when and how to best use their electric energy, while an enhanced Excite mode maximizes performance.

Client-focused, intuitive technologies
Aviator delivers a wealth of intuitive technologies designed to assist the driver while enhancing the overall experience of the journey. Right from the start, its suspension system automatically lowers the vehicle to “greet” the driver, adding a new level of sophistication to Lincoln’s signature welcome lighting embrace. The convenience of this feature makes loading cargo easier as well.*

The effortlessness of the overall experience continues as clients enter, using their compatible smartphone as a key to access their vehicle. Lincoln’s Phone As A Key technology, debuting in the all-new Aviator, is activated through the Lincoln Way™ app. It allows owners to lock and unlock, open the liftgate and, most importantly, start and drive the vehicle – all without a traditional key.

Phone As A Key offers additional amenities. Drivers can recall individual preferences for adjusting seat, mirror and steering column positions. Comfort and entertainment settings can be activated through the feature as well. If owners want to loan their Aviator to a family member or friend, the technology makes that equally effortless too, as up to four “keys” are provided with each vehicle in addition to the standard smart key fob.

Should a phone battery go dead, a passcode can be entered on the standard exterior keypad to gain entry then a backup code can be entered on the center touch screen to start and drive the vehicle. If a phone is lost or stolen, Phone As A Key can be easily deleted, providing additional peace of mind for clients.

Also new to Lincoln is an available technology that enables Aviator to “see” potholes or uneven pavement and immediately make suspension adjustments to keep the ride as smooth as possible. Adaptive Suspension with Road Preview uses an advanced forward camera to constantly scan the road, seamlessly adjusting the suspension as needed.

All Lincoln vehicles come standard with a suite of driver-assist features known as Lincoln Co-Pilot360™. With the arrival of Aviator, Lincoln’s most advanced suite of driver-assist technologies will be available in a new upgrade aptly named Lincoln Co-Pilot360™ Plus. It adds:

Traffic Jam Assist helps guide the vehicle using adaptive cruise control with stop-and-go, lane centering and traffic sign recognition, which scans speed limit signs along the roadway, adjusting speed based on the information obtained
Evasive Steer Assist offers assistance to the driver to help avoid a collision with a slower or stopped vehicle; it provides additional steering support when a collision cannot be avoided by braking alone
Reverse Brake Assist can help you stop the vehicle while backing up if Aviator’s integrated rear sensors and camera detect an obstacle at the rear
Active Park Assist Plus removes the stress from parking by taking over steering, shifting, braking and acceleration functions with the touch of a button to navigate parallel and perpendicular parking spaces with ease

“All of this innovative technology is purposeful,” says Falotico. “Together, these features help make Aviator’s drive experience even more effortless and intuitive.”

Aeronautical inspiration
The boundless allure of flight has long inspired automotive design, and the all-new Lincoln Aviator takes that inspiration to the next level.

“The connotations of flight are intrinsic in the lines of the vehicle,” says David Woodhouse, design director, The Lincoln Motor Company. “You have the stature and presence of the grille at the front, then the body and tail taper off – creating a distinct aerofoil analogy.”

The dramatic lines of Aviator exemplify Woodhouse’s views on luxury. “Luxury is about creating something you didn’t know was possible,” he says. “It requires a certain degree of mystery, seduction and allure – factors that are decidedly in play with Aviator.”

Aviator’s iridescent Flight Blue exterior color on display in Los Angeles complements its flowing lines. Lincoln’s signature grille is executed in high-gloss black and chrome accents that beckon the eye, while a wraparound windshield completes the aviation-inspired theme.

An all-new Lincoln Black Label theme, Flight, harmoniously combines Luggage Tan and Ebony, further elevating the ambience of the cabin. Bright engine turn appliqués, brushed in small circles, replicate the finish of early aviation instrument panels and enhance the theme. The supple leather of the seats is minimally processed to retain its natural texture.

Chalet is another Lincoln Black Label option for Aviator, evoking the contrasting pleasures of mountain slopes and the inherent comfort of an après-ski lodge. With Espresso and Alpine Venetian leathers and deep Silverwood appliqués, each touch is designed to awaken the senses.

Another Lincoln Black Label theme available is Destination. Celebrating the art of travel, Destination takes its inspiration from vintage luggage, harkening back to a time when travel was rich with excitement and intrigue. Mahogany Red Venetian leather with an intricate diamond weave on the seats is complemented by smooth khaya wood appliqués – making travel both near and far a true pleasure.

Lincoln Black Label is created for clients seeking the ultimate in a luxury experience, offering premium materials in specially curated designer themes and a host of membership privileges. The grille for the all-new Lincoln Black Label Aviator features reverse lattice mesh with a repetitive pattern of strong, bright-finished badge motifs.

The signature grille for Lincoln Black Label Aviator Grand Touring features unique Lincoln stars embedded within the quadrants in an elegant chrome finish, while the grille for Aviator Grand Touring is also adorned with the embedded stars.

Comfort and convenience
Aviator’s spacious, airy cabin accentuates horizontal lines, minimizing visual clutter to deliver a soothing sanctuary. An available Revel™ Ultima™ 3D Audio System re-creates an authentic concert-hall experience by immersing occupants in rich, superior sound emanating from 28 speakers throughout the cabin.

An ergonomically advanced steering wheel is intended for ultimate ease of use and customization; only subtle thumb movements at the 10 o’clock position are needed to access the voice command button. The steering wheel features streamlined, four-way switches at strategic positions to control music, phone and navigation functions.

Available Perfect Position seats with Active Motion offer 30-way adjustability, massage capability and additional lumbar support for driver and front-row passenger for paramount comfort, while flexible second-row seats recline, adjust fore and aft, and slide forward for easy access to the third row. The third row provides ample seating with plenty of room left over for cargo, assuring nothing and no one is left behind. Advanced under-floor battery packaging in the Grand Touring edition allows for all the benefits of an electrified powertrain without compromising luggage space or legroom.

Other convenience features include an available wireless phone charging pad located in the front-row center armrest, while a handy media bin is available for the front-row passenger. Multiple power outlets throughout the cabin and a standard Wi-Fi hotspot keep occupants connected wherever the journey may take them.

“At Lincoln, we’re always thinking about the next, best way to elevate luxury for our clients,” says Falotico. “Aviator arrives at this perfect intersection – where strength and beauty meet performance and technology.”

*Cargo and load capacity limited by weight and weight distribution.

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