2020 Aviator showcases glam design, new hybrid EcoBoost powertrain
Lincoln has released details on the all-new midsize three-row Aviator SUV, scheduled to arrive at dealers for the 2020 model year. While the base Aviator will be powered by a 400-horsepower twin-turbo 3.0-liter V-6 gasoline engine, Grand Touring models will add hybrid power to the V-6, with a combined 494 horsepower and a class-leading 630 lb-ft of torque. Based on the rear-wheel drive platform shared with the Ford Explorer, the Grand Touring Aviator’s torque should make it a capable tow vehicle. The Aviator comes standard with intelligent all-wheel drive.
The Grand Touring Aviator will be the first implementation of hybrid power with the twin-turbo EcoBoost Ford V-6. Tellingly, as Lincoln is trying very hard not to be seen as selling expensive, badge-engineered Fords, nowhere in the text of the press release do the words Explorer or EcoBoost appear. Ford is only mentioned once, in the boilerplate text at the bottom.
The base Aviator comes with five selectable driving modes: Normal, Conserve, Excite, Slippery, and Deep Conditions, while the Grand Touring adds two electrified modes. Preserve EV mode saves battery power for later use, allowing full performance out of the hybrid powertrain while the battery recharges up to 75 percent of its capacity. Pure EV is an all-electric mode, with a built-in prompt to allow the gasoline engine to start when driving demands call for more power. No range figures when operating in Pure EV mode have been released. The electric side of the powertrain features a 75-kW motor and a 13.6-kWh battery pack.
To provide a smooth ride, the Aviator has an optional adaptive suspension that uses road preview technology (a Lincoln first) and pothole mitigation. That system uses 12 sensors that measure vehicle motion, body movement, acceleration, steering, and braking 500 times per second to automatically adjust suspension settings based on road conditions. Pothole mitigation can predict when a wheel will drop severely into a crevice and, when needed, stiffens the suspension on that wheel to reduce the amount of drop and lessen the harshness of the impact.
Road Preview uses the Aviator’s front-facing camera to read the road approximately 50 feet ahead of the SUV for road height changes between 2–8 inches and then adjust the suspension to reduce impact. Air Glide Suspension is also available, which replaces coiled metal springs with air springs, and offers a variety of ride heights to suit conditions. When driven at 70 mph or above, the air suspension automatically lowers the Aviator to Aero Height, for better performance and fuel economy.
Debuting on the Aviator is Lincoln’s first application of Phone As A Key functionality through the Lincoln Way smartphone app. Phone As A Key doesn’t just let you unlock the vehicle, it also recalls individual seat, steering, and mirror configurations, as well as HVAC and infotainment settings. Don’t worry if your phone dies or you forget it somewhere. You can still use the standard equipment keypad on the door to gain entry and then enter a passcode on the touchscreen to start the vehicle.
Other tech and driver-assists include Lincoln CoPilot360 with pre-collision assist with automatic emergency braking, blind spot detection with cross-traffic warnings, a rear camera, auto-dimming high beams, and a lane-keeping system. That can be upgraded to Lincoln Co-Pilot360 Plus, which adds adaptive cruise control with traffic jam assist, stop-and-go, and speed limit sign recognition, which can adjust driving speeds based on the legal limit.
Evasive steering assist offers assistance to the driver to help avoid a collision with a slower or stopped vehicle ahead; it provides additional steering support when a collision cannot be avoided by braking alone. Active park assist plus can park the SUV in both parallel and perpendicular parking spaces, and leave them when you are ready to go as well, at the touch of a button. Reverse brake assist will stop the vehicle if its sensors determine there is an obstacle in the Aviator’s path.
The Aviator also offers optional adaptive pixel LED headlights, which allows control over the lighting pattern, including adaptive dynamic bending lighting, which uses the front camera to predict curves and adjusts the projected beam according. Beam intensity and focus is speed-dependent, with the headlights brighter and aimed higher at speed.
Lincoln is touting the Aviator’s cabin as spacious and airy, with minimized visual clutter and a relaxing ambience. The luxury brand has earned kudos for the high-end Revel audio systems it has offered and the Aviator is no exception. The optional Revel Ultima 3D audio system features an impressive 28 speakers located throughout the interior, offering three immersive listening modes: stereo, audience, and on-stage, depending on how you like to experience your music. As an added touch for music lovers, the alert chimes for the Aviator have been recorded by the Detroit Symphony Orchestra. The Aviator comes standard with a Wi-Fi hotspot and multiple power taps throughout the interior. A wireless charging pad in the console is optional.
Also available are a variety of Lincoln’s top-shelf Black Label interior themes. “Flight” features luggage tan and ebony leather and trim, along with engine-turned metal appliqués said to evoke the look of vintage aircraft control panels. “Chalet” offers Espresso and Alpine Savannah leather and Silverwood appliques, while “Destination” is said to be inspired by the look of vintage luggage, using Mahogany Red Savannah leather and khaya wood appliques.
With the launch of the Aviator, Lincoln is also starting Lincoln Access Rewards, a customer loyalty program for those buying or leasing a new Lincoln. Purchases and leases earn points that can be applied to new vehicle purchases, dealer service, or special experiences staged by Lincoln hospitality affiliates.
The 2020 Aviator will be assembled at Ford’s Chicago Assembly Plant and available wherever in the world that Lincoln vehicles are sold.