2020 Lincoln Aviator: When Luxury Vehicles & Cheese Graters Collide

  • The 2020 Lincoln Aviator is all about luxury, safety technology, and performance. 
  • Lincoln Driver Modes, Phone As A Key, and Co-Pilot360 Plus are among the top features.
  • We’re not sold on the styling but the 2020 Lincoln Aviator has lots of redeeming qualities.  

Wow, where to start with the 2020 Lincoln Aviator? Well, first off, it looks like a cross between a bank vault and a cheese grater, and a very angry cheese grater at that. It has the on-road presence of a Panzer tank, and all the creature comforts of a 12,000 square foot McMansion. In short, it’s just what a certain segment of the American car buying public wants.

Lincoln will probably sell them by the boatload.

Suburban Mainstays

Maybe it’s just where I live, but I’ve been seeing a lot of Lincolns around for a while now. The same could be said when I was interned in Arizona. Sure, down there, there’s tons of retirees, and that demographic loves its big American cars. But Lincoln, a company on its deathbed as long as its namesake, seems to be entering some sort of resurgence these days. So like I said, you’ll probably be seeing more of these large, stately, borderline-ugly things tooling around shopping malls and burbclaves and such in a couple of years.

The 2020 Lincoln Aviator hit the stage at this year’s LA Auto Show, with Lincoln noting that their “three-row midsize (ha!) premium SUV” is aimed at the highest volume segment in the United States: the midsize luxury market. They also, rightly, point out how this is also the “third-highest volume segment in China.”

Hmmm? Export plans much?

It looks like a cross between a bank vault and a cheese grater. Click To Tweet

2020 Lincoln Aviator. Photo: Lincoln Motor Company.

Power & Performance: A Healthy Dose

You’d expect the Aviator to be powered by a big ‘Murican V8, but no, the powertrain choices are actually rather sensible and efficient. The standard engine is a twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter V6, hooked up to a 10-speed SelectShift automatic. As such you get a notable 400 horsepower and 400 lb-ft. of torque. Impressive for only three-liters. The optional powertrain is that same twin-turbocharged engine connected to a hybrid drive system. Lincoln says it gets you 450 horsepower and a colossal 600 lb-ft. of torque. Yes please!

There’s no word on MPG figures for either engine, but with 600 lb-ft. of torque, I’m willing to wait, then completely forget.

The drivetrain is controlled via this scheme referred to as “Lincoln Drive Modes.” There are five “signature” settings: Normal, Conserve, Excite, Slippery, and Deep Conditions; then for 2020, two new modes: Pure EV and Preserve EV. As the names imply, these two new modes allow drivers to choose how and when to best use their electric energy from the hybrid system.

Related: Big and loaded with luxury: our full review of the 2018 Lincoln Navigator.

The 2020 Lincoln Aviator can recognize road signs with the standard Co-Pilot360 Plus system. Photo: Lincoln Motor Company.

Convenience & Safety: Digital Keys & Driver Assist Systems

Naturally, the tech doesn’t stop there. The suspension system automatically lowers the vehicle to “greet” the driver and turns on the signature welcome lighting. Lincoln’s “Phone As A Key” means you can lock and unlock, open the liftgate, adjust seat, mirror and steering positions, and, ta-DAH, start and drive the vehicle without a traditional key. And, if you’re gullible enough to loan out your Aviator, the technology allows up to four “keys” for each vehicle.

The 2020 Lincoln Aviator has a gizmo that lets it “see” potholes or uneven pavement, adjusting the suspension as it does. Lincoln calls it Adaptive Suspension with Road Preview.

The Co-Pilot360 feature includes multiple assist systems as standard equipment. Traffic Jam Assist, for example, contains adaptive cruise control for stop-and-go traffic, lane centering, and traffic sign recognition. Evasive Steer Assist helps avoid collisions with a slower or stopped vehicle; Reverse Brake Assist will stop the Aviator from backing into something, and Active Park Assist Plus guides you into parallel and perpendicular parking spaces.

Photo: Lincoln Motor Company.

Comfort & Connectivity: Luxury Car Levels of Both

Other comfort and convenience features abound inside the 2020 Lincoln Aviator. The Revel Ultima 3D Audio System contains 28 speakers, while the steering wheel recognizes subtle thumb movements for accessing numerous functions and commands. The seats offer 30-way adjustability, massage, and additional lumbar support for drivers and passengers. The second-row seats recline, adjust fore and aft, and slide forward for access to the third row.

Other such features include wireless phone charging in the center armrest, a handy media bin, multiple power outlets throughout, and a standard Wi-Fi hotspot.

Pricing & Availability

In many ways, you can think of the 2020 Lincoln Aviator as your home away from the retirement home; the perfect vehicle to get you from your gated community in Scottsdale or Boca Raton, down to the golf and racket club. And back in butter smooth comfort, quietly and safely.

Expect the new Aviator next summer with pricing information due closer to that time.

Tony Borroz has spent his entire life racing antique and sports cars. He is the author of Bricks & Bones: The Endearing Legacy and Nitty-Gritty Phenomenon of The Indy 500, available in paperback or Kindle format. Follow his work on Twitter: @TonyBorroz.

2020 Lincoln Aviator Gallery

Photos & Source: Lincoln Motor Company.

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