Flying high with fresh tech and a clean look

First introduced for the 2003 model year, the Lincoln Aviator was initially offered as a luxury sport utility vehicle for the mid-size segment. After failing to meet sales expectations, Lincoln axed the nameplate in 2005 after just a few years in production. Now, however, as nationwide SUV sales continue onwards into the stratosphere, the Aviator makes its triumphant second-generation return for the 2019 model year. The upcoming model will slot in between the Nautilus and the standard wheelbase Navigator in Lincoln’s lineup, possibly as a replacement for the Lincoln MKT. Unfortunately, we don’t know all the nitty gritty technical specs yet, as Lincoln just debuted a “preview model” at the 2018 New York International Auto Show intended to stoke the flames of interest for an on-sale date sometime next year. Read on for the details released thus far, including the exterior styling, interior tech, and a new hybrid powertrain.

Continue reading to learn more about the 2019 Lincoln Aviator.

2019 Lincoln Aviator Exterior

- * Clean aesthetic inspired by airplanes
- * Straight, flat lines front to back
- * Attractive 3D grille
- * High-gloss black and chrome trim
- * Flight Blue exterior color

2020 Lincoln Aviator Exterior
- image 775517
We think it looks pretty good, with a tall SUV stance, large proportions, and an attractive front grille. All told, it’s clean and simple.

As far as exterior aesthetics are concerned, the Aviator takes similar cues as those found on the latest Lincoln Navigator, with a large front grille, upright features, and straight lines front to back.

What’s more, considering the name is an allusion to the aeronautic adventures of the past, it should comes as no surprise that Lincoln also decided to pull from the world of airplanes for the exterior design as well.

“In Aviator, the lines of the vehicle are streamlined. You have the stature and presence of the grille at the front, then the body and tail taper off - creating a distinct aerofoil analogy,” says Lincoln Design Director David Woodhouse.

The look definitely pulls the eye towards the rear, which Lincoln says was designed as an indication of the SUV’s RWD platform.

“If you look at a bird or plane in flight, the wind is always at an angle to the air and falling downward toward the rear,” Woodhouse emphasizes. “You see that in the main bodyline of Aviator. From the headlight to the taillight, there’s a beautiful undercut feature varying in depth that connotes poise and grace.”

While we think it looks pretty good, we wouldn’t call it the most innovative design of all time. It’s more of a standard SUV stance, with large proportions and tall features throughout. The grille, however, does stand out to us thanks to its cool 3D shape. The signature Lincoln grille treatment is done up in a high-gloss black and finished with chrome accents.

2020 Lincoln Aviator Exterior
- image 775519
Outside, the body panels on this preview vehicle are covered in a hue dubbed Flight Blue

All told, it’s clean and simple, and we think buyers will appreciate it against the more angular competition.

Outside, the body panels on this preview vehicle are covered in a hue dubbed Flight Blue, which is an iridescent color that definitely gives off that stylish refinement Lincoln seems to be chasing after.

In back, the taillights wrap around into the lift door in long horizontal lines, while a quartet of exhaust tips are framed by the lower bumper treatment and topped by an additional chrome embellishment. The wraparound windshield once again gives a nod to aviation theme.

2019 Lincoln Aviator Interior

- * Seats seven passengers total
- * Horizontal, clean lines throughout
- * Aluminum, brushed metal, and leather
- * Recline and slide function for second row
- * Shearling Beige and Lunar Gray color scheme
- * 12-inch display screen in the gauge cluster
- * Phone as a Key technology with tons of remote features
- * Wireless phone charging
- * Co-Pilot 360 suite of driver assists

2020 Lincoln Aviator Interior
- image 775530
In terms of layout, horizontal lines dominate from front to back, particularly on the dash, where a long, thin trim strip is drawn from door to door.

For starters, the 2019 Lincoln Aviator is offered with a three-row interior layout with seating for seven, including two up front, three in the second row, and two on the rear bench.

In terms of layout, horizontal lines dominate from front to back, particularly on the dash, where a long, thin trim strip is drawn from door to door, set with a number of rectangular air vents. Lincoln says it wanted to offer a simple design devoid of too much “clutter, ” and overall, we’d say it achieved that goal.

Materials used include machined aluminum appliques and brushed metal, with the seats covered in a soft leather upholstery. The seats themselves are Lincoln’s Perfect Position sitters, offering 30-way adjustability and a massage function. Meanwhile, a multi-function steering wheel is used to operate the various infotainment functions.

Passengers seated on the second row can refine their comfort with a recline and slide function, something that also provides access to the third-row seating.

The whole thing is draped in a Lincoln Black Label-inspired theme, and features color schemes like Shearling Beige and Lunar Gray to add a bit of spice.

On the technology front, the Aviator runs off a standard Sync infotainment platform. A 12-inch display screen in the gauge cluster also comes as standard. This unit also sends prompts and “useful information” to the driver just behind the steering wheel, for example, if you’re running low on fuel, it’ll display a list of nearby gas stations to get you there without trouble.

One of the Aviator’s primary features is a smartphone key function, which offers owners additional remote functionality, such as locking and unlocking the door, opening the trunk, and engine start.

“When it debuts on the production SUV, Phone as a Key technology is expected to be one of the industry’s leading systems,” Lincoln points out.

2020 Lincoln Aviator Exterior
- image 775514
“When it debuts on the production SUV, Phone as a Key technology is expected to be one of the industry’s leading systems,” Lincoln points out.

The system is put to good use thanks to the Lincoln Way app, and comes with additional features like a locator chirp to find the SUV in a crowded parking lot. What’s more, the app can tweak and tune various settings for a customized experience, which is great if multiple divers are sharing the same vehicle.

Of course, a smartphone key works great - right up to the point you run out of battery juice. In that case, the Aviator comes with option to input a backup passcode on an exterior-mounted keypad, which will then provide access to the vehicle and the ability to start the car and drive it. Your personal Phone as Key profile can also be deleted if your phone is stolen or lost.

Further smartphone support is provided by a wireless phone charging function - just rest your phone in the right spot in the front armrest, and it’ll top itself off automatically. There’s also a “media bin” compartment offered for front passengers, and there are several power outlets scattered throughout the cabin as well. The Aviator will come standard with a Wi-Fi hotspot with web connections for all onboard.

2020 Lincoln Aviator Interior
- image 775531
The Aviator comes with Lincoln’s Co-Pilot 360 system, which arrives as standard with a suite of safety features.

In terms of driver assists, the Aviator comes with Lincoln’s Co-Pilot 360 system, which arrives as standard with a suite of safety features such as automatic emergency braking paired with pedestrian detection, blind spot monitoring, cross-traffic alert, lane keeping assist, a reversing camera, and automatic high-beam headlights.

Finally, the Aviator also gets Reverse Brake Assist with a rear sensor and rear-facing camera, which will once again automatically brake if it detects an approaching object that might collide with the vehicle.

2019 Lincoln Aviator Drivetrain

- * New platform shared with the Ford Explorer
- * RWD
- * Turbocharged engine
- * Hybrid option
- * Around 350 horsepower speculated
- * Adaptive suspension components

2020 Lincoln Aviator Exterior
- image 775523
The Aviator is powered by a twin-turbo engine. We have yet to get exact specs, but we do know that, for the first time, Lincoln will be offering the Aviator as a plug-in hybrid model.

Under the skin, the Lincoln Aviator is built on a new platform for the automaker, and in fact, it’s the same platform as the upcoming sixth-generation Ford Explorer. And while the Aviator will be RWD, the platform used will also be available for adaptation to both AWD and FWD vehicles.

As for motivation, the Aviator is powered by a twin-turbo engine. We have yet to get exact specs on this, but we do know that, for the first time, Lincoln will be offering the Aviator as a plug-in hybrid model.

“This combination of power and electrified capability will help Aviator deliver Lincoln’s quietest, smoothest, most powerful drive yet,” the automaker claims.

And while Lincoln says that the hybridized powertrain makes the Aviator “mightier than many supercars on the road today,” don’t expect this thing to be all that quick. We’re expecting a sprint to 60 mph in about 7 seconds, possibly even breaking into the high sixes, with the previous first-gen completing the benchmark in about 7.6 seconds. Around 350 horsepower feels about right.

So then, although it probably won’t be all that quick, the hybrid powertrain is definitely the way to go. While operating on battery power alone, the Aviator won’t succumb to the noise and vibration of a standard ICE powertrain, which obviously makes a lot of sense for a luxury automaker looking to offer a refined driving experience. A selection of driving modes are offered to refine the experience even further.

That said, it’s also possible Lincoln will bolster the lineup with a more powerful model higher in the range.

The suspension system set-up is also pretty high-tech, making for more comfort out on the road. Standout features include a forward-facing camera, which will actually read the road surface ahead and adjust the onboard adaptive suspension to more adequately soak up bumps as needed. Lincoln is calling it Suspension Preview Technology, and it will surely be appreciated by customers who frequent less-than-ideal blacktop.

2019 Lincoln Aviator Prices

2020 Lincoln Aviator Exterior
- image 775528

Sales for the second-generation Aviator are going up next year, and although an announcement on exact pricing is expected closer to the on-sale date, we’d venture it’ll cost around $55,000, give or take. That’ll place it between the Nautilus and Navigator in Lincoln’s lineup.

2019 Lincoln Aviator Competition

Audi Q7

2017 - 2018 Audi Q7 High Resolution Exterior Wallpaper quality
- image 585697

When it comes to opulence and luxury in a tall-riding three-row package, the Germans have plenty to offer. Say hello to the Audi Q7, which comes stuffed with tech to rival the Lincoln, including all-digital instrumentation, optional 10.1-inch entertainment tablets in the rear, and support for both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Power is provided by a turbo 2.0-liter four-cylinder making 252 horses in the base model, but higher in the range there’s a supercharged 333-horsepower 3.0-liter V-6. Extra grip is standard thanks to quattro AWD, while options include four-wheel steering and adaptive dampers. Pricing starts at $49,900.

Read our full review on the 2018 Audi Q7.

Volvo XC90

2016 Volvo XC90 High Resolution Exterior
- image 565987

Volvo has really cleaned up the last few years, and now it’s looking very sharp indeed with the latest XC90 SUV. Up to seven passengers can fit inside the well-appointed and handsome interior, which features top-shelf materials, a large touchscreen, and four-zone climate control. Motivation is derived from a turbo 2.0-liter four-cylinder making as much as 250 horsepower, while higher in the range there’s a twin-charged 2.0-liter and a hybrid, making 316 horsepower and 400 horsepower respectively. Pricing starts at $45,900, ranging up to $64,950 for the hybrid.

Read our full review on the 2018 Volvo XC90.

Conclusion

2020 Lincoln Aviator Exterior
- image 775522
The Aviator offers a nice break from the usual Euro-sourced competition, bringing loads of elegance, presence, quiet, and smoothness. Overall, we’re liking what we’re seeing.

As a fresh entry in the luxury SUV segment, the Aviator has a lot to offer. Not only is this segment red hot at the moment, but the Aviator offers a nice break from the usual Euro-sourced competition we see here. Lincoln says it’s focusing on elegance, presence, quiet, and smoothness, and overall, we’re liking what we’re seeing.

Indeed, this latest Aviator provides “a glimpse into the brand’s future, which is moving toward a broader portfolio of utilities and electrification in conjunction with effortless services,” says Lincoln.

That all makes sense to us. We also like the fact that Lincoln went with an appeal “to millennials starting families,” especially considering the brand is typically associated with an older crowd (that is, retirees). However, as the brand points out, most medium-sized premium SUVs are getting scooped up by buyers aged between 35 to 44, so stuffing in new tech, a clean interior, and an optional hybrid is surely a good way to get noticed.

It’s certainly possible some of these features will get changed up by the time they hit production, but overall, we wouldn’t expect too many differences between this initial “preview” model and the production machine that eventually rolls off the line.

So far, so good. Now we just need the details from Lincoln. Check back in when they drop for our full rundown.

  • Leave it
    • * Plenty of competition
    • * No specs out yet
    • * Brand associations need a refresh

References

The New Lincoln Navigator is Here, and You're Going to Want One High Resolution Exterior AutoShow
- image 712920

Read our full review on the 2018 Lincoln Navigator.

no article
- image 764039

Read more Lincoln news.

no article
- image 769406

Read more New York Auto Show news.

Press release

Aviator glides into New York this week, offering a preview of The Lincoln Motor Company’s newest vehicle along with a glimpse into the brand’s future, which is moving toward a broader portfolio of utilities and electrification in conjunction with effortless services.

As more consumers choose the spaciousness and capability of SUVs, Lincoln unveils Aviator, a distinctive three-row plug-in hybrid production preview. The “teaser” model serves to preview the direction Lincoln plans to take with its newest SUV when the production model goes on sale next year.

“The Lincoln Navigator continues to turn heads and bring new clients to the brand,” says Joy Falotico, president, The Lincoln Motor Company. “We believe Aviator’s elegant design, state-of-the-art technology and refined plug-in hybrid option will draw even more clients to the Lincoln showroom, including families who are looking for three-row capability.”

With its slim, tapered lines, roomy interior, twin-turbocharged powertrain available with an advanced plug-in hybrid option, the three-row Aviator targets the heart of the premium market, entering the medium luxury SUV segment that represents more than a quarter of all premium SUVs sold. Appealing to millennials starting families, with the majority of vehicles sold to people ages 35 to 44, the medium luxury SUV segment saw sales of more than 585,000 vehicles in 2017.

Aeronautical inspiration

The synchronicity of Aviator’s name and form language is intentional; aeronautics has long inspired automotive design.

“In Aviator, the lines of the vehicle are streamlined,” says Lincoln Design Director David Woodhouse. “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 emphasis of graceful lines pulling downward toward the rear – a cue to Aviator’s rear-wheel-drive platform – is what Woodhouse describes as an in-flight gesture. “If you look at a bird or plane in flight, the wing is always at an angle to the air and falling downward toward the rear,” he says. “You see that in the main bodyline of Aviator. From the headlight to the taillight, there’s a beautiful undercut feature varying in depth that connotes poise and grace.”

The iridescent Flight Blue exterior color complements Aviator’s elegant, flowing lines, while the signature Lincoln grille is executed in high-gloss black and chrome accents. A wraparound windshield helps complete the aviation-inspired theme.

Comfort and convenience

The effortless experience begins even before entering the Aviator, as owners can use their smartphone as a key. When it debuts on the production SUV, Phone as a Key technology is expected to be one of the industry’s leading systems. Activated through the Lincoln Way™ app, it allows owners to lock and unlock, open the trunk and, most importantly, start and drive the vehicle – no smart key fob is necessary.

Phone as a Key is designed to offer other amenities similar to a smart key fob. For instance, drivers can activate a locator chirp to find Aviator in a crowded parking lot, or recall their personal profile. Should the phone battery go dead, a backup passcode can be entered on the standard exterior keypad to gain access, then clients can start and proceed to drive the vehicle via the center touch screen. And, if the phone is lost or stolen, Phone as a Key can be easily deleted, providing additional peace of mind.

Inside, Aviator’s spacious, airy cabin accentuates horizontal lines, minimizing visual clutter to deliver a soothing sanctuary. A thoughtfully designed steering wheel is intended for ultimate ease of use, with only subtle finger movements needed to access the many functions it houses.

As comfort is paramount with Aviator, the amenities continue with Perfect Position seats offering 30-way adjustability and massage capability, while flexible second-row seats can recline and slide forward for easy access to the spacious third row.

Wireless phone charging is located in the front armrest, while a convenient media bin is available for passengers in front as well. Multiple power outlets are located throughout the cabin, while standard Wi-Fi 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-turn aluminum appliqués, brushed in small circles to replicate the shape of early aviation instruments, enhance the theme. The supple leather of the seats is minimally processed to retain its natural texture.

Power, capability and choice

Built on a rear-wheel-drive platform, Aviator allows for the power and capability luxury clients require in a three-row SUV. The platform also serves to enhance Aviator’s elegant proportions, with a long wheelbase allowing for a spacious second and third row.

The Lincoln powertrain is designed for clients interested in options. A twin-turbocharged engine can be paired with the brand’s first advanced plug-in hybrid technology, marking the first time the company will offer a plug-in hybrid powertrain mated to a twin-turbocharged engine. This combination of power and electrified capability will help Aviator deliver Lincoln’s quietest, smoothest, most powerful drive yet.

Offering the capability of its twin-turbocharged engine in combination with a hybrid electric powertrain makes Aviator mightier than many supercars on the road today. The plug-in hybrid experience provides for a responsive, refined ride, with no powertrain-induced noise and vibration when operating on battery charge, yet is capable of using its twin-turbocharged engine if needed, easing range anxiety.

Lincoln Drive Modes allow clients to further customize the drive experience, while a 12-inch standard cluster display confirms the choice with beautiful and dynamic, easy-to-read graphics.

Client-focused technologies, services

Aviator delivers a wealth of advanced technologies designed to assist the driver every step of the way.

With Aviator’s advanced forward camera scanning the road ahead, Lincoln’s first-ever Suspension Preview Technology seamlessly adjusts the suspension for upcoming road conditions. This can help reduce driver stress caused by potholes and bumps in the road.

Aviator will be equipped with Lincoln Co-Pilot360™, an advanced suite of standard driver-assist technologies including automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, blind spot information system with cross-traffic alert, lane keeping system, reverse camera and auto high-beam lighting.

Aviator offers Reverse Brake Assist, an enhanced driver-assist technology that integrates rear sensors and a camera to provide automatic braking if an obstacle is detected behind the vehicle.

Aviator also debuts a selection of considerate prompts delivered through the newest version of SYNC®. With the introduction of these prompts, or cues, Lincoln advances the brand’s holistic approach to vehicle ownership by bringing those services into the car.

The prompts are designed to deliver helpful information to drivers visually on the cluster display, recommending appropriate actions to help them overcome whatever situation they’re facing. Should they run low on fuel, for example, Aviator will notify them and seamlessly connect them with navigation to offer them the closest gas station options.

“Lincoln is committed to delivering the innovation and features that luxury consumers expect today,” says Falotico. “And, the Aviator is yet another example of how we are creating an effortless experience for our clients.”

View the full press release Hide press release
Press release
What do you think?
Show Comments
Car Finder: