After an absence of 15 years, the Lincoln Aviator has returned.
First seen from 2003-2005, the Aviator was then discontinued. The second generation arrived on a newly crowded mid-size luxury crossover segment for 2020. There are few changes for the 2021 model year.
The combination of a luxurious interior, refined powertrain, intuitive technology, and excellent ride/handling qualities equip the 2021 Lincoln Aviator to compete with the established segment leaders – Audi, BMW and Mercedes.
Based on the same platform found beneath the Ford Escape, the Aviator undergoes a thorough upgrade to literally everything above that point. The exterior design clearly identifies it as a Lincoln. The interior design and execution is where it immediately earns respect.
There is a sense of elegance. Top quality materials like open pore wood and satin metallic trim is artfully applied with precision and premium touches abound.
The front seats of the 2021 Lincoln Aviator are worthy of special mention.
The Perfect Position seats are from supplier Lear. Heated, ventilated, and covered in supple leather, they can be adjusted 30 ways allowing almost anybody to find the ‘perfect’ fit promised by the name. I found the back a little too narrow for my size 48 but appreciated the power lumbar and thigh extenders.
There is plenty of headroom in both first and second rows and decent legroom in the back. The third row can be accessed easily but there is very little room there for adults of any size. But it is fine for small children.
The cargo area is expansive with 18.3 cubic feet of cargo space behind the third row, 41.8 cubic feet behind the second and a generous 77.7 cubic feet with both second and third rows folded down. Those numbers are more than competitive in this segment!
Hats off to the latest version of Ford’s SYNC infotainment system.
In this application, it is viewed on a 26-centimetre touch screen atop the centre of the instrument panel. Easily viewed without taking your eyes too far off the job, it has a simple menu and intuitive controls.
The standard 14-speaker Revel audio system provides crisp, clear sound. Satellite radio is standard, and the system is compatible with both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Amazon Alexa and wireless connectivity are paired with a Wi-Fi hot spot and four USB ports.
Near silence at highway speeds, which are reached with luxurious ease
Other features expected at this level include keyless entry using your smartphone, a number of cameras to aid parking maneuvers, and near silence at highway speeds.
On the subject of highway speed – the Aviator reaches them with ease. Power, and plenty of it, is supplied by a twin-turbo V6. Up to 400 horsepower is delivered to all four wheels through a 10-speed automatic transmission. Power delivery is smooth and seamless, very worthy of a luxury vehicle.
Although it tips the scales at more than 2,200 kg, the Aviator drives like a lighter vehicle. The engine is more than capable of dealing with that weight and up to 3,000 additional kilos on a trailer hitch.
I was pleased to see fuel mileage numbers in the single digits on the open road, not all that common in vehicle of this size and weight.
The ride is comfy and composed. Major road blemishes are ironed out and while it is no sports car, it doesn’t bring shame when pressed in the turns.
The Lincoln Aviator is a worthy contender in the mid-size luxury crossover segment.
FACTS & FIGURES – 2021 Lincoln Aviator Reserve AWD
As tested: $88,100 including freight
LED headlights with automatic high beams, lane keep alert and assist, driver alert, pre-collision system with automatic emergency braking, forward collision warning and pedestrian detection, blind spot information system with cross -traffic alert
14-speaker Revel audio system, satellite radio with three-month subscription
360-degree camera, hands-free liftgate with foot activation, keyless entry keypad, heated mirrors, power recline third row seats, leather seats, panoramic sunroof, power heated tilt & telescope steering wheel, universal garage door opener, tri-zone automatic climate control, adaptive cruise control, remote keyless entry, voice-activated navigation
Equipment group 202A, $6,500 (includes: auto heated and ventilated driver and front passenger seats, heated and ventilated second row seats, heated wipers); Lincoln Co-Pilot360 plus, $2,500 (includes Active Park Assist plus, adaptive cruise control, evasive steering assist, reverse brake assist, traffic jam assist, lane centering, stop-n-go, speed sign recognition); Ocean Drive blue paint, $900; front and second row floor liners, $200; convenience package, $2,000 (includes: heads-up display, remote start with phone as key, wireless charging pad); dynamics handling package, $3,500 (includes adaptive suspension with road preview, air glide suspension with dynamic lower entry); full rear console, $750
Twin-turbo 3.0-litre V6, 400 horsepower, 415 lb.-ft. of torque, premium fuel, 10-speed automatic transmission, all-wheel-drive. NRCan rating (litres/100km city/highway): 13.78/9.7
Length, 5,062 mm; width, 2,384 mm; wheelbase, 3,025 mm; weight, 2,363 kg
Acura MDX, Audi Q7, Cadillac XT6, Lexus RX 350L, Volvo XC90