Trucks & SUVs

Will Luxury SUV Buyers Give the Lincoln Aviator Another Chance?

In a world where every car on the market has some sort of gimmick or feature to get you to check it out, the first generation of Lincoln’s midsize SUV couldn’t find a way to thrive. Promoted as its luxury midsize SUV, the Lincoln Aviator was simply too similar to other vehicles to make it worth the price that Lincoln wanted for it.

People instead looked to the Ford Explorer, which was pretty much the same vehicle without a few luxury touches, or the Lincoln Navigator, which was a step up in size but close enough in price to make it more appealing. As a result, the Aviator was only in production from 2003-2004.

Lincoln is bringing the Aviator back, however, with a new 2020 model. Will it be able to stand apart from the crowd this time around? Let’s take a look.

A 2020 Lincoln Aviator in the factory
A Lincoln Aviator rolling off the assembly line | Scott Olson/Getty Images

The Lincoln Aviator’s exterior is more exciting than last time

The 2020 Aviator has a lot going on. The exterior is stylish and pleasing to look at, with a few one-of-a-kind features built-in. Inspired by the shape of an airplane’s wing, the roof slopes downward in the back, which gives it a smooth and unique shape.

But the cream of the luxury crop shows itself when you simply walk up to the Aviator. As you approach or unlock the vehicle, the Aviator actually lowers itself eight inches to make it easier to get into. Who wouldn’t like their car to bow to them?

On top of that, the Aviator’s front end lights up as you approach, as well. The driving lights fade into life from the outside inward, followed by the Lincoln logo in the middle of the grille. When you lock up the car, the lights fade off, again ending with the Lincoln logo. Not only does this feature look exciting and modern, but it’s also practical in that it makes it easier to find your vehicle in the dark.

The interior is where the Aviator shines

The interior of the 2020 Lincoln Aviator has more unique features than other luxury SUVs on the market today. It has artfully-designed speakers practically everywhere, from the inside of the doors to in the ceiling above your head. Its “Perfect Position” seats have an astounding 30 different points of adjustment, allowing you to perfectly customize your seat’s settings (plus massage options!). That’s something no other luxury vehicle offers.

The tech in the Aviator is right on par with its luxury competitors. The center control panel controls everything through a touchscreen, with an additional “Drive Mode” knob below. Turning this knob allows you to change between the Aviator’s preset driving modes such as ‘Deep Conditions’ for snow or mud, and ‘Slippery’ for rain or icy conditions, among others.

While features like this are also found in other luxury vehicles, the ease of use and the unique display that accompanies changes in the Aviator are definitely top-of-the-line.

Where does the Aviator miss its mark?

Lincoln is putting a lot of faith in itself to be bringing back a car that didn’t do as well as they’d hoped it would almost 20 years ago. The 2020 Aviator is powered by a 400 horsepower twin-turbo V6 engine, which is incredibly powerful for a midsize luxury SUV. The intriguing part, however, is that the 2020 Ford Explorer ST has the exact same engine.

Will history repeat itself? Consumers could very well look at these two vehicles and simply choose the Explorer for a lower price, but Lincoln has definitely stepped up the amount of luxury in the Aviator, so much so that the two don’t compare as much as they did back in 2003. Time will truly tell for certain, but it seems like the Aviator is finally standing out from the crowd.