The Lincoln Navigator raised a few eyebrows upon its debut in 1997, but that Ford Expedition in pancake makeup proved to be a rousing success. It brought new customers to Lincoln and sent Cadillac scurrying to cobble together the Escalade. So why not try it again, this time using the Explorer? Just to be safe, Lincoln slavishly copied the Navigator's look and even came up with a name that rhymes: Aviator. It's as obvious as the Whopper Jr.
As with its more grandly proportioned progenitor, creating an Aviator involves more than merely checking all the option boxes on a Ford. The Aviator's 4.6-liter V-8 gets four-valve heads and a new intake manifold, which boost output by 62 horsepower and 20 pound-feet of torque. A unique exhaust system helps make this engine exceedingly quietmore hushed than the V-8 in the Lexus LX470, according to Lincoln. The chassis modifications include a larger front crossmember, aluminum lower control arms, more robust brakes, and a ZF power-steering rack with variable assist and a variable ratio, as well as the expected springs, bushings, and (monotube) dampers.... Read full article