NEWS

2020 Lincoln Aviator Finally La-La-Lands in Production Form in L.A.

06-lincoln-aviator-2020-angle--blue--exterior--front.jpg 2020 Lincoln Aviator | Manufacturer images

Competes with: Acura MDX, Infiniti QX60, Volvo XC90, punching up at BMW X5 and Mercedes-Benz GLE

Looks like: The “production preview” Aviator we saw earlier this year at the 2018 New York auto show; a Ford Explorer after one of those entire-life makeover shows

Drivetrain: 400-horsepower, twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter V-6 good for 400 pounds-feet of torque; Grand Touring plug-in hybrid combining electrification with the V-6 for a claimed 450 hp and 600 pounds-feet of total system output; 10-speed automatic transmission

Hits dealerships: 2019

After a debut at the 2018 New York International Auto Show that earned its production preview our Best in Show accolade, the Lincoln Aviator returns in full production guise for the 2018 Los Angeles Auto Show as a 2020 model. We praised the luxury of the production preview, and it certainly looks like that will carry over into the actual Aviator that will be available for sale sometime in the new year.

Related: More 2018 L.A. Auto Show Coverage

The Aviator is a three-row SUV that Lincoln hopes will build on the Navigator’s success to help rebuild the brand and establish it as a true player among luxury vehicle manufacturers. To that end, like the Navigator, the Aviator will offer special ultra-luxe Black Label versions that boast premium interior materials and additional ownership benefits.

Exterior

The exterior looks mostly unchanged from the production preview version, although the side mirrors are a slightly new shape. Even the turbine-inspired wheels are still there. The plug-in hybrid Grand Touring version of the Aviator will have a small door on the left front quarter providing access to its charging port. It also gets a different set of wheels than non-hybrid versions.

Interior

Interior materials still look first-rate, and the layout still appears to be a smaller version of the Navigator’s — both good things. The 12.3-inch configurable gauge display and 10-inch multimedia screen are still present, as is the Lincoln-signature button-based gear selector in the center console above the audio and climate controls.

The Aviator will also offer a feature that allows owners to use their smartphones as a key, a feature that can be activated via the Lincoln Way app. The classic exterior keypad can be used for entry in case of a dead or missing phone, and a separate code can be entered in the multimedia system to start the car in that instance. Lincoln says the feature can also be turned off easily if a phone is lost or stolen to prevent a stranger from gaining access to the car.

The Aviator will also have a delightful set of symphonic alert chimes courtesy of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra.

Related: Lincoln Aviator Rises to the Occasion With Elevated Style, High Tech

Under the Hood

Unlike the production preview, we finally have powertrain details for the Aviator. All versions of the Aviator will receive a twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter V-6 producing 400 horsepower and 400 pounds-feet of torque, which will send power through a 10-speed automatic transmission.

The Aviator Grand Touring has a plug-in hybrid system added to that V-6 in what is not a simple fuel-saving maneuver. Touting the instant torque electric motors provide, Lincoln expects this system to make somewhere in the region of 450 hp and a whopping 600 pounds-feet of torque. While the Aviator is equipped with an adaptive suspension, the name Grand Touring should clue you in that that enhanced performance is not for the track. The battery pack is located under the occupant floor, which preserves cargo space; Lincoln even managed to keep the Grand Touring’s fuel tank capacity at 19 gallons.

Gas-only Aviators will have five driving modes: Normal, Conserve, Excite, Slippery and Deep Conditions. The plug-in hybrid gets two extra modes, called Pure EV and Preserve EV, that are fairly self-explanatory — Pure EV is electric-only and Preserve EV reduces usage. The Excite mode in the Grand Touring has also been tweaked to account for the added electric power.

Safety

Lincoln has updated its standard suite of safety features for the Aviator — what was once Lincoln Co-Pilot360 is now Lincoln Co-Pilot360 Plus. It features Traffic Jam Assist, which uses adaptive cruise control with stop-and-go, lane-centering steering and traffic sign recognition to guide the vehicle with minimal driver input. Evasive Steer Assist provides automatic steering input to help avoid an imminent collision if braking is not enough. Reverse Brake Assist will automatically apply the brakes if the rear sensors and camera detect something while backing up. Finally, Active Park Assist can take over all the steering, braking, shifting and acceleration while parking in a perpendicular or parallel parking space.

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