The all-new 2020 Lincoln Aviator has been unveiled at the 2018 Los Angeles auto show, marking the return of a nameplate that had a brief run from 2002 to 2005. The new model slots between the smaller Nautilus and the supersize Navigator and, as with its early aughts predecessor, shares its platform with the Ford Explorer. It’s a new architecture that offers both rear- and all-wheel drive, and the Lincoln is available with a choice of gas-only or gas-electric powertrains.
“Aviator represents the very best of our brand DNA and signals the direction for Lincoln vehicles going forward,” said Lincoln president Joy Falotico at an offsite reveal just prior to the show. “It offers elegance, effortless performance, and unparalleled comfort—a true representation of Lincoln’s vision for the future.”
The latest Lincoln features symphonic chimes that alert occupants when the door is ajar, headlights are left on, or the fuel is low. It’s a nice touch, but the Lincoln Aviator Grand Touring trim is the single biggest piece of news that comes as part of the model’s debut. The new GT combines a twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter V-6 engine with hybridization to deliver 450 horsepower and a monstrous 600 lb-ft of torque. (Yes, you read that last figure correctly.) All-wheel drive is standard in the hybrid model, so if you prefer a rear-driver, you’ll need to stick with the standard powertrain. But you won’t exactly want for power, as its twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter V-6 offers 400 horsepower and 400 lb-ft of torque. Both powertrains use a 10-speed automatic transmission.
A new adaptive suspension system automatically lowers itself to “greet” the driver, and it also incorporates a “road preview” function that aims to detect potholes or other pavement imperfections and adjust the dampers to keep the ride nice and smooth. The Aviator also features Lincoln Co-Pilot 360 Plus that adds cruise control that can accelerate and brake to a stop, emergency steering assist, and automatic reverse braking, as well as an active parking system to handle those pesky parallel-parking chores.
Techies can also use a linked app on their phone to open and start the Aviator instead of using the fob. If your phone—or fob—is out of power or lost, you can punch in an access code on the door keypad to enter and start the Aviator. For its L.A. debut, one of the Aviators on hand was coated in an exclusive iridescent Flight Blue paint and was equipped with a high-gloss black grille and accents.
A new Black Label aesthetic theme called Flight takes a bow, too; the Luggage Tan and Ebony combination looks great, and you’ll be able to distinguish it from other Aviators by its reverse lattice mesh grille up front. For their part, the GT and GT Black Label versions get their own grilles, too.
Inside, the new Lincoln packs a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster that reconfigures based on the driver’s selection from one of five chassis modes that all sort of sound like Austin Powers catchphrases: Normal, Conserve, Excite, Slippery, and Deep Conditions. The hybridized Grand Touring adds Pure EV and Preserve EV settings to the mix, with the latter allowing the driver to store the vehicle’s electric energy to be used when it is needed.
The second-row seats recline and also slide forward for third-row access; we sat in the third row, and it’s definitely more for kids than adults, at least for long hauls. Other available goodies include 30-way adjustable seats with massage functions for the driver and front passenger and a bangin’ Revel Ultima 3D audio system with 28 speakers, several of which are located in the headliner.
Pricing has yet to be announced, but we expect to know more closer to the Aviator’s on-sale date early next year.