2004 Lincoln Aviator

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starting MSRP

2004 Lincoln Aviator

Key specs

Base trim shown


The good:

  • Smaller size than Navigator sibling
  • Interior space
  • Ride comfort
  • Easy to drive

The bad:

  • Price
  • Trucklike feel
  • Fuel economy

3 trims

Starting msrp listed lowest to highest price

  • Ultimate

  • Luxury

  • Base


Wondering which trim is right for you?

Our 2004 Lincoln Aviator trim comparison will help you decide.

Notable features

  • 302-hp V-8
  • Three rows of seats
  • AdvanceTrac system
  • Roll Stability Control
  • Side-curtain airbags/Safety Canopy

2004 Lincoln Aviator review: Our expert's take


When it comes to siblings, it seems the middle child always seems to get less attention.

And so it goes with the new Lincoln Aviator SUV.

Just as the Navigator is an upscale interpretation of the Ford Expedition, the Aviator is an upscale interpretation of the Ford Explorer and Mercury Mountaineer.

The Navigator’s base price ranges from $49,050 to $62,910. The Aviator starts at $39,995 and runs to $54,635.

But a slightly less luxurious Mercury Mountaineer ranges in base price from $29,950 to $40,125.

The Aviator hit dealer showrooms in November 2002, but it hasn’t taken flight. Lincoln has sold 6,789 Aviators through the end of March, according to the industry trade publication Automotive News.

Ford executives are concerned with the same report indicating that buyers are either opting for the similar, yet $10,000 cheaper, Mercury Mountaineer or a more-expensive Lincoln Navigator over the new Aviator.

So the question remains: are buyers being saavy or are they overlooking a good thing?

While it’s true that there is much of the Lincoln Aviator in the Mercury Mountaineer, Lincoln has ensured that you’re getting more for the difference in price.

While the Mountaineer can be had with either a six or eight-cylinder engine, the Aviator has one engine: a 302-horsepower double-overhead-cam 4.6-liter V-8. The Mountaineer’s 4.6-liter V-8 is a single overhead cam and churns out a respectable 240 horsepower.

Like the Mercury, the Aviator is available with rear-wheel or all-wheel-drive.

Unlike some of its car-based competition (such as Lexus RX 300 or Acura MDX), the Aviator uses body-on-frame construction, giving the truck a solid, tough foundation. Unlike most truck-based SUVs, the Aviator (like the Ford Explorer and Mercury Mountaineer) employs a fully independent suspension. Lincoln has taken advantage of this by giving the Aviator road manners similar to that of the Lincoln LS sports sedan. It feels planted, allowing for confident maneuvering.

Body lean is minimal and very well controlled. There’s little of the ride softness one feels in the Navigator. However, the Aviator does an admirable job of soaking up bumps.

Power is quick off the line and quite substantial. The accelerator seems touchy upon initial acceleration, so that smooth starts are hard to accomplish. But, the transmission shifts quickly and unobtrusively.

The test vehicle came with all-wheel-drive, although rear-wheel-drive is available. Under normal conditions, 35 percent of the power goes to the front wheels, while 65 percent goes to the rear. Up to 90 percent of the available power can be transferred to the front or rear.

While all of this is noteworthy, most of it can applies to the Aviator’s lesser siblings, the Mountaineer and Explorer.

But the Aviator is blessed with one of the finest interior designs of any American vehicl e.

The dashboard looks as if it came straight from a mid-’60s Lincoln Continental. Its real walnut trim contrasts beautifully with the eggshell-colored vinyl and leather seats.

As you’d expect of a Lincoln, there are many convenience features.

The front seats are heated and air-conditioned. The power adjustments help front seat occupants find a comfortable position. Strangely, the backrest angle is adjusted manually, which seems shortsighted in a truck that starts at $39,995.

The second row seats are short and shallow, while the third row is strictly for kids. Both second and third rows fold. The third row isn’t power activated, as on the Navigator.

Other available niceties include power-adjustable brake and accelerator pedals, a keyless-entry keypad on the driver’s side, running boards, an AM/FM/audio system with in-dash six-CD changer, power moonroof, dual-zone electronic automatic climate control, DVD rear-seat entertainment system, and a Reverse Sensing System that detects obstacles to the rear while the vehicle is backing up. Of course, all of this is available on the Mercury Mountaineer as well.

A unique feature allows the second row split-folding, rear bench seat to be replaced with two bucket seats and a console. This adds to passenger comfort and appears to be a worthwhile option, especially as it would separate warring siblings.

Ford did an admirable job of ensuring occupant safety. Features include dual-stage front air bags, a side curtain air-bag system (which provides enhanced occupant protection in side impacts and rollovers) as well as systems designed to aid drivers in the event of a skid.

Many buyers would find the price premium hard to swallow, but the siren song of the Lincoln’s styling and incredible power do much to make the higher tariff more bearable.

Sadly, the test vehicle didn’t live up to the quality standard that one expects of Lincoln. The rear tailgate was balky to open; a trim piece had fallen off. Neither is a big indictment and can happen on any car or truck. But the power passenger seat failed to work, something that shouldn’t fail with as little as 10,000 miles on the odometer.

Fuel economy was typical for an all-wheel-drive, V-8-powered SUV. Mixed city/highway driving returned 13.6 mpg. The Aviator uses premium fuel.

You can get an Aviator in two trim levels. The base version is called Luxury, while the upscale version is dubbed Premium. A rear-drive Luxury starts at $39,995. Adding all-wheel-drive raises that to $42,915. A rear-wheel-drive Premium Aviator starts at $42,945, while the test vehicle starts at $45,865. All prices include the destination charge.

While the Aviator may not strike a value-conscious buyer as the best buy in the Mountaineer/Aviator/Navigator trio, it is more powerful and stylish than a Mountaineer and easier to handle than the giant Navigator.

Consumer reviews

Rating breakdown (out of 5):
  • Comfort 4.7
  • Interior design 4.6
  • Performance 4.3
  • Value for the money 4.3
  • Exterior styling 4.7
  • Reliability 4.1

Most recent consumer reviews


Great family car

Luxury SUV Seats 6 comfortably. Heated/cold seats are amazing. Adjustable gas/brake pedals. Fully retractable moon/sun roof. ALL the perks in this one. Great family car. Premium sound made for fun road trips!


A Very Nice Luxury SUV

I own a rare 2004 Lincoln Aviator CS (California Edition) that I bought used with 45k in 2017 and have been very happy with the purchase. It is near perfect with a few things that could be improved. Pros: Great interior and exterior styling...I think it looks better than many current SUVs on the market. Roof rails, chrome steps, heated/cooled seats, rear DVD player, rear side airbags, are some higlights. It’s not built on a unibody so it can tow more and is beefier. Very smooth ride (Lincoln trait), and the V8 is from the Mustang Bulitt. It has been reliable and performs well for an H-frame truck. Oil guard to protect undercarriage and prevent spray (now that’s luxury : ) not found on the same era Explorers. Footwell and puddle lights. (CS) Dual Borla exhaust. Seats 7; Wood grip on steering wheel; sturdier suspension than Explorer; Reliable thus far! Some Cons: Could have better MPG but better than the Navigator. Safety relay can get stuck to release shifter from Park normally when brake pedal is depressed; I just disabled it. Transmission must be babied but with a good additive and an extra second pause between PR and D, or a solenoid changeout, the first sign of hard shifting, the transmission is good and if its like my Explorer, will last a long time. The same passenger side speaker like my Explorer goes out but can be easily replaced. All in all, this is one of the best vehicles I have ever purchased! I really enjoy driving it!


Very reliable car. Has lots of power and room.

Has been a very reliable car. Plenty of room. I live on a small island and it is perfect to take the family and the pedal boards to the beach. Has great air condition in the front and the rear and the children always enjoyed being able to function the radio from the second seat.

See all 27 consumer reviews


New car program benefits
48 months/50,000 miles
60 months/unlimited distance
48 months/50,000 miles
Roadside assistance
48 months/50,000 miles

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