It's always tough coming up with new car names, but with Aviator, Lincoln could hardly have chosen to conjure a more disturbing image for its version of the Ford Explorer. Heretofore known as the baby Navigator, the small (yet still $40,000) Lincoln SUV takes the Explorer shell and ritzifies it with buttery leather, burl walnut, and satin nickel trim. It also trumps the Explorer in the engine bay: Its V-8 produces 302 horsepower to the Ford's 240. Customers can configure the Aviator for six or seven passengers, depending on whether they want bucket- or bench-style second-row seating. As in the Explorer, the third row folds into the floor, and the suspension is fully independent. But unlike the Explorer, the bedrock of the Ford SUV lineup, the Aviator hopes to extend the reach of the Lincoln brand.
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