Review: Lincoln Aviator 2021 | The star
You would be forgiven if at first glance you couldn’t tell which Lincoln model you were looking at in the photo at the top of this page. The brand’s current lineup, made up entirely of crossovers and SUVs, offers the same look in sizes small (Corsair) to XL (Navigator). Don’t take this as a negative point, however. They might all look the same, but it didn’t hurt Audi when this company built four versions of the same sedan, and Lincoln chose a wonderful shape to put in the enlarger.
This is Lincoln’s second attempt to create a luxury midsize crossover. The first, which was only marketed for three years, differed little from the Explorer with which it shared a platform. Over 10 years later, Lincoln is still starting out with the bones of Explorer, but only the engineering team and someone who spends hours browsing the parts list will notice the similarities between the two three-row models. Lincoln made this one different wherever it matters, right down to the Detroit Symphony Orchestra providing bespoke warning tones.
As we said above, it’s a nice SUV. It has a real presence both in a parking lot and on the road, which it needs because the Cadillac XT6 offers some pretty serious arrogance as well. This is where Lincoln really takes the game a step further than its import competitors, because none can pose like that. All Lincoln SUVs wear a similar face, this is the best version of it.
The bluster continues into the cabin starting with the power seat adjustment switches on the doors allowing you to make adjustments before entering. Take your time to get used to these settings, there are nearly three dozen on this Aviator with the Luxe pack.
Driver and front passenger benefit from 30-position Perfect Position seats with electric thigh extensions (separate adjustment for each leg) and massage. They will adapt in a way you never imagined. Heat and ventilation are standard across the board, with non-lux having 12-way seating.
Three interior color packs are offered, this Sandstone combination is the highlight with light and dark leather surfaces as well as open pore wood trim throughout. Contrast stitching brightens the interior even more, while the metal grilles of the 28-speaker Revel audio system are as beautiful as you will find anywhere. While not normally a luxury staple, the interior is packed with plenty of storage space, most with lids, giving you plenty of places to stash almost everything. The clever textures of the Lincoln logo inside these lockers are also a nice touch.
Continuing the fantasy, the middle seats are heated and ventilated, the steering wheel is heated, and the third row electrically folds into the floor, but these are things you can find on a Hyundai these days. It’s Lincoln’s material choices and the consistency of the design that make this feel special.
The Aviator needs to feel special, you see, as it faces some serious gear for a little more and a little less money, depending on how much you value that special feeling and how much value you place on that special feeling. that you grant to a badge. Take a look, inside and out, and it’s definitely special.
Get the Revel sound system right and it’s one of the best in the business. I didn’t hear a single internal noise when I cranked up the bass, a rarity at any cost. The digital dashboard, with a quiet screen that minimizes distractions, is just another touch that makes this Lincoln feel like being pampered.
Under the hood is a 3.0-liter twin-turbo V6 producing 400 horsepower and 415 lb-ft, paired with a 10-speed car with all-wheel drive at all levels. Adaptive suspension raises and lowers the Aviator for access and loading, while the shocks change to absorb what the road has to offer. Lincoln even made buying one simple, with just one trim level for Canada and a major option package adding seats, head-up display, key-phone and premium stereo. It also has adaptive cruise, panoramic cameras and a parking assistant function.
Execution is where the Aviator fell behind. Despite the many seat adjustments, neither I nor my regular passenger (with the two of us at opposite ends of the size spectrum) could find a comfortable setting. The sitting position is also quite high, which makes it more difficult for the older ones to find space and for the little ones to access it.
The V6 delivers excellent power and hands down many of its competitors, but again, it’s the execution. Lincoln’s philosophy is quiet flight and effortless smoothness, but the drivetrain falls short. Although I am tempted to make aircraft comparisons, it is not that hard. It does, however, send noise and vibrations into the cabin at idle and on the highway. The power delivered was harsh as well, especially from a standstill, causing the Aviator to swerve and jerk in a decidedly non-luxurious and non-pampering way.
The air suspension, while filtering out big bumps, also never set in. The vehicle felt like it was still moving on its four shocks, looking for a neutral position that it couldn’t find. The 10-speed automatic didn’t help, offering very jarring gear changes and making many confusing choices in normal driving.
The fuel economy of the V6 is estimated at 13.7 in the city and 9.6 on the highway. My own driving came down to 12.0, with judicious use of the on-board brain’s start-stop system helping to keep the engine from wasting as much fuel as possible. If that’s not enough, the Grand Touring model is a PHEV that gives you more power and uses less fuel. It is also more fluid.
The Grand Touring Aviator could make your range choice even easier. Want that look and that interior, but want calm, smoothness and efficiency? Get the PHEV. Otherwise, make sure you can get comfortable in the Aviator’s chic seats before considering bringing one home.
Lincoln Aviator Reserve 2021
Body Style: Five-door, six-seater SUV
Configuration: Front engine, all-wheel drive
Motor: 3.0-liter twin-turbo V6. 400 hp @ 5,500 rpm, 415 lb-ft @ 3,000 rpm
Transmission: 10-speed automatic
Loading capacity: 519 liters behind third row, 1,184 behind second row, 2,201 behind first row
Fuel economy: (Premium Gasoline in L / 100 km) 13.7 city; 9.7 highway; 11.9 combined
Observed fuel economy: 12.0 L / 100 km
Price: Reserve Lincoln Aviator 2021 $ 69,400. Options Convenience package $ 2,000 (includes head-up display, remote start with phone as key, wireless charging), $ 9,000 Group 202A (22-inch wheels, adaptive suspension, Co-Pilot 360 Plus, audio at 28 height- speakers, 30-position seats) $ 3,500 Dynamic Handling Package (Adaptive Suspension with Roadside Preview, Air Suspension with Dynamic Lower Entry), $ 750 full rear console, $ 900 Ocean Drive Blue, $ 200 floor liners. Price as tested: $ 85,950