2021 Lincoln Aviator

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Key specs

Base trim shown


Body style


Combined MPG


Seating capacity

199.3” x 69.6”


Rear-wheel drive



7 trims

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2021 Lincoln Aviator review: Our expert's take

By Kelsey Mays

Unveiled on the auto-show circuit (remember those?) a little over three years ago, the Lincoln Aviator was the first plug-in hybrid from Ford’s luxury brand, though hardly the first plug-in from the automaker itself. Dubbed the Aviator Grand Touring, the SUV’s plug-in version employed a 75-kilowatt electric motor with a turbocharged 3.0-liter V-6 and 10-speed automatic transmission for a combined 494 horsepower and 630 pounds-feet of torque. That’s considerably more than the gas-only Aviator (no “Grand Touring” moniker), whose turbo V-6 makes 400 hp and 415 pounds-feet of torque. The mechanicals carry into 2021 unchanged.

Related: 2020 Lincoln Aviator Plug-In Hybrid First Drive: Still Getting Its Wings

The Grand Touring is mighty quick, if tentative in its acceleration and braking. But is it efficient after you drain the 13.6-kilowatt-hour battery pack, either by driving the EPA-estimated 21 miles under electric power or farther in hybrid mode? I drove 295 miles to find out.

With all-wheel drive standard, the Aviator Grand Touring is EPA-rated at 23 mpg combined once the battery pack is depleted. That’s 15% better, at least by rounded EPA figures, than the 20 mpg combined rating for the gas-only Aviator with AWD. (The gas-only SUV also comes with rear-wheel drive, which nabs an EPA-rated 21 mpg combined.) 

I began my trip with electric-only range depleted looking to see how the EPA numbers panned out driving the Grand Touring essentially like a hybrid. Although it squanders a key capability for PHEVs, it’s the reality of the ever-popular road trip — and the only way to get an electrified Aviator, as Lincoln offers no plug-free hybrid variant of the SUV. Believe it or not, there are PHEVs on the market that are less efficient than their gas-only counterparts without the help of a charged battery, such as the new Jeep Wrangler 4xe, so it’s not safe to assume any plug-in hybrid is automatically a road-trip champion.

The Trip

My two-day trip took me from Chicago’s western suburbs to Port Byron, Ill., in the Quad Cities area along the Illinois-Iowa border.

  • I began and ended at the same gas station and pump, a journey easily within the Grand Touring’s 439 miles of EPA-rated gasoline range. I topped off the Aviator to begin, and the trip computer read 294.7 accumulated miles when I pulled in a day later to fill back up. The Aviator’s owner’s manual calls for a minimum 87-octane fuel but recommends premium for best performance. In both cases, I topped off with 93 octane.
  • Conditions ranged from partly cloudy to heavy thunderstorms during the two-day jaunt, with 13 to 16 mph headwinds on the westbound leg out and roughly equal tailwinds on the eastbound leg back, according to readings from Weather Underground. Temperatures ranged from the low 70s to the low 80s throughout.
  • I traveled with my two children plus overnight luggage, amounting to some 350 pounds’ total weight. I adjusted tire pressure to manufacturer-recommended settings and kept the Aviator’s windows and moonroof closed. 
  • The vast majority of the trip involved interstate highways, with an average vehicle speed of 62 mph and extensive use of the Aviator’s adaptive cruise control. I set the climate control to its fully automatic setting with temperatures between 68 and 72 degrees, which activated a fair amount of air conditioning. 
  • Finally, I drove as I normally would, neither trying to evaluate the vehicle’s drivetrain (which inevitably dumps mileage) nor drive in a particularly efficient way. Among the various selectable driving modes, I kept the Aviator in Normal.

The Results

When I pulled back into the station, the Aviator’s trip computer read 23.7 mpg, a tad above the EPA combined rating. The SUV took 13.12 gallons of fuel from the same pump I’d topped off at the day prior, rendering a pump-calculated fuel economy of 22.5 mpg. Averaging the two data points, as is Cars.com’s typical practice during a dedicated mileage drive, gets 23.1 mpg — spot on with the SUV’s EPA numbers on gasoline only.

If my experience is any indication, achieving the Aviator Grand Touring’s EPA-rated mileage on highway stretches is fairly easy. It shows the SUV in a better light, too: Sustained cruising masks the indecisive transmission and tentative brakes, issues we pointed out in our initial drive in 2019. That said, it raises a new annoyance: Our test car’s lane-centering steering repeatedly warned me to keep my hands on the steering wheel despite them being there. I’ve observed similar tendencies from Cars.com’s long-term Ford F-150, which — like this particular Aviator — has lane centering under an advanced version of Ford’s Co-Pilot360 system.

The Aviator Grand Touring starts at $70,640. That’s $9,450 more than the Aviator’s similarly equipped Reserve trim with AWD ($61,190). It’s currently eligible for a federal tax credit of $6,534 for plug-in vehicles, which narrows the net gap to just under $3,000. At that, the Grand Touring clearly prioritizes performance over efficiency. If you’re looking for an Aviator geared more toward the latter, stay tuned: Ford reportedly plans to build an all-electric Aviator down the road.

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Photo of Kelsey Mays
Former Assistant Managing Editor-News Kelsey Mays likes quality, reliability, safety and practicality. But he also likes a fair price. Email Kelsey Mays

Consumer reviews

Rating breakdown (out of 5):
  • Comfort 4.6
  • Interior 4.6
  • Performance 4.5
  • Value 4.0
  • Exterior 4.7
  • Reliability 4.2

Most recent consumer reviews


Beautiful SUV - Drives great

The Aviator is certainly a luxury SUV with high performance. The technology may be a little 'buggy' (based on a lot of reviews I've read) but mine has been fine. Fun to drive and comfortable as heck.


2021 Aviator

2021 Aviator have owned for a year, paid $75k. The control system-chip failed. Took 3 visits to finally get them to order a new one. Took 3 months and arrived at dealer while I was away on vacation. They advised I needed to be there immediately, and I could not so they sent it back and I need to wait months again for the part. No hands free -voice control items work, radio only controls 5 stations unless I input them manually. Other than that, it is a beautiful car inside and out, great comfort and smooth ride. Hoping to get my issues resolved.


Never again. Beware Lincoln is CRAP.

2022 Lincoln Aviator: Black Label, Grand Touring- their top trim. Nothing works. There's a recall and no parts to fix it. Check engine light intermittent on. Remote entry doesn't work to lock door- have to use the key fob. Charging cord doesn't work and there are no replacements available, told to wait and check back after at least 5 weeks. I have owned many many new vehicles in my lifetime and I absolutely HATE this one. Never another Lincoln, or any Ford product. Beware.

See all 16 consumer reviews


Based on the 2021 Lincoln Aviator base trim.
Combined side rating front seat
Combined side rating rear seat
Frontal barrier crash rating driver
Frontal barrier crash rating passenger
Overall frontal barrier crash rating
Overall rating
Overall side crash rating
Risk of rollover
Rollover rating
Side barrier rating
Side barrier rating driver
Side barrier rating passenger rear seat
Side pole rating driver front seat


New car and Certified Pre-Owned programs by Lincoln
New car program benefits
48 months/50,000 miles
60 months/unlimited distance
72 months/70,000 miles
Roadside assistance
-12 months/unlimited distance
Certified Pre-Owned program benefits
Maximum age/mileage
Current plus five previous model years / Less than 60,000 actual miles
Basic warranty terms
60 months or 100,000 miles (whichever comes first) Comprehensive Limited warranty
6 years/70,000 miles
Dealer certification required
200-point inspection
Roadside assistance
View all cpo program details

Have questions about warranties or CPO programs?

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