Lincoln sends the Aviator SUV soaring with hybrid tech
The Lincoln Aviator has debuted at the Los Angeles Auto Show as a new midsize luxury sport utility slotting underneath the larger Navigator as a three-row SUV. Based on the Ford Explorer's platform, the Aviator includes high technology and a hybrid variant that brings some interesting speculations.
The all-new 2020 Lincoln Aviator will be a global vehicle, offered in most markets starting with North America and going to China and others soon afterwards. Along with its Grand Touring hybrid option, the Aviator was introduced in LA by president of Lincoln Motor Company, Joy Falotico.
"Aviator represents the very best of our brand DNA and signals the direction for Lincoln vehicles going forward," Falotico said. The Aviator is a "true representation of Lincon's vision for the future."
Most interesting about the new Aviator is its plug-in hybrid powertrain option. Coupling a 3.0-liter twin-turbocharged V6 engine with a 10-speed automatic transmission from the regular Aviator options, the hybrid adds an electric motor and batteries to give 50 more horsepower for 450 in all (336 kW). Similarly, torque is also boosted from 400 pound-feet (542 Nm) to 600 lb-ft (813 Nm). The hybrid powertrain is exclusive to the Lincoln Aviator Grand Touring model and is "our most advanced hybrid technology," Lincoln says.
This drivetrain will debut in the Aviator, but has power output implications that might proliferate in the Ford and Lincoln lineups. The Navigator, for example, would be well-powered with the same hybrid setup were it offered. The same goes for the Ford F-150 and Raptor trucks. That raises our speculating eyebrows immensely. Don't even get us started on a plug-in hybrid Mustang GT.
The Aviator has a much more sophisticated look than do other Lincoln crossovers and SUVs. It's toned down greatly from the previous-generation Navigator's bigger-is-better appearance and truck-like front fascia, using a much more contemporary grille. It remains striking and nice to look at, being perhaps the prettiest Lincoln crossover-SUV yet. Simple body lines, a well-formed sculpture to its roof line, and large wheels give the Aviator a lot of curb appeal.
Inside, the Aviator is spacious, with a lot of horizontal lines giving it less visual clutter and more roominess. Lincoln focused specifically on the Aviator's audio system, utilizing a 28-speaker sound system to create an immersion-aimed experience of sound.
Luxury and technology are melded too. The 2020 Lincoln Aviator includes a host of driver-assist technologies such as adaptive cruise control. These include the latest-generation Co-Pilot360 Plus system from Lincoln, adding stop-and-go to the adaptive cruise control for traffic jams. The system can also read speed signs and adjust speed based on those when adaptive cruise is active. Evasive Steer Assist helps to avoid collisions with slower or stopped vehicles when avoidance through braking alone is not possible. Forward and reverse braking assistance for low-speed collision mitigation is also utilized in the Aviator, as is Active Park Assist Plus, which offers semi-automated parking features.
Smartphone integration is closely aligned with the Aviator's comfort options as well, through the Lincoln Way app. Using the app, the user's smartphone (when logged in) can be used as a smart key to operate the Aviator SUV. It can lower the suspension system for easier entry and egress automatically or on demand, plus it can unlock doors, open the liftgate, and even start the vehicle. It can also be used as the key in place of the fob. Key codes for the door locks and infotainment can additionally be used to override a dead smartphone and operate the vehicle when required.
Lincoln's adaptive suspension with "Road Preview" allows the Aviator to sense upcoming obstacles such as potholes or rough patches in the pavement and adjust the suspension before coming to them, smoothing the ride. A forward camera watches the roadway, looking for those problems.
Details for fuel economy, pricing, and more will be forthcoming, as the Aviator nears market launch.