Tips, Tricks & Trends

Could the Lincoln Aviator be the Best Luxury SUV of the Year?

What elevates an SUV to luxury status is pretty standard among all the top players, including the Mercedes-Benz GLC, the Lexus RX, and the Range Rover Sport. Well-appointed interiors, upgraded suspension systems, and a host of amenities that pamper both driver and passengers. Each year, luxury SUVs are tested to see how they stack up. Expert test driver and car reviewer Doug DeMuro thinks the 2020 Lincoln Aviator could be positioned as the best luxury SUV of the year.

The Lincoln Aviator is marketed as a mid-sized SUV with a starting price tag around $51,000. It includes all the players you would expect in a luxury SUV including a heads-up display, adaptive cruise control. But the 2020 version is also packed with new technologies that are firsts for Lincoln, and some innovations you won’t find in comparable, luxury SUVs. These include using your smartphone as an entry key, the capacity to read speed signs and automatically alter the car’s speed, and the ability to preview road conditions and make suspension adjustments for maximum ride comfort.

Best Luxury SUV?

Ten years ago, the Lincoln Aviator was generally viewed as one of the worst luxury SUVs on the market. In that time, is it possible that Lincoln has transformed into a completely different brand? The company has been determined to return to the top of the luxury car game and it looks like Lincoln may be succeeding. Demand for the Lincoln Aviator is intense!

While it is a smaller SUV than the already successful Lincoln Navigator, the 2020 Lincoln Aviator is meant to compete with the likes of Volvo XC90, the Audi Q7, and the Range Rover Sport. The reviewed Black Label model boasts a sticker price of over $80,000. The impressive twin-turbo V6 generates 400 hp and 415 lb. ft. of torque. Plus, there are several pretty cool features:

  • Within eight seconds, the entire vehicle lowers upon approach to make it easier to climb inside
  • When the driver walks up to your Aviator, the headlights do a little dance to acknowledge you
  • The door handles are electronically-activated, instead of pulling you simply touch the inner handle

Beyond that, the interior of the Lincoln Aviator is full of luxury appointments. The seats have 30 adjustments for perfect positioning, instead of just back and forth or up and down. The absolutely beautiful quality trim is amazing and comparable to a Bentley or Mercedes Benz. First impressions of the 2020 Lincoln Aviator have been generally positive, but it also has to drive well to earn the title of best luxury SUV.

How it Feels on The Road

First of all, you must explore the infotainment system to access many of the driving assistance features. This actually keeps the dash panel and center console very simple and uncluttered. Before taking off, modify your drive experience by moving through Deep Snow/Mud/Sand, Slick/Rain/Icy, Excite/Sport Mode, or Normal – defined as effortless and balanced. In Sport Mode, the Aviator is surprisingly quick for a V6 SUV. Acceleration is 0-to-60 mph in 5.6 seconds. Though it has average handling, it is nice to drive and has a very high “cool factor.” After all, it is one of the most requested SUVs this driver has been asked to review in 2019.

The drive is smooth and quiet, even in Sport mode. You can feel the suspension absorbing irregular road conditions and you will know you’re driving a luxury SUV simply by the way it floats down the road. The bottom line, you may find luxury SUVs that rate higher on performance, and it may be priced a little high for a Lincoln (especially when you consider the resale value may not be as high compared to its key rivals). But this SUV is just as nice as a Navigator, even better looking. This driver rates the Lincoln Aviator at a tie with the BMW X5.