2019 Lincoln Aviator Preview

FAST FACTS
  • Lincoln provides “teaser” of the Aviator
  • Three-row midsize crossover utility vehicle
  • Rear-wheel drive platform
  • 2019 or 2020 yet to be determined
  • Sale date yet to be determined


Introduction:

Aviator, we hardly knew ye. That was the name for a seldom seen, seldom sold thinly disguised Ford Explorer that Lincoln offered back in 2003, then discontinued a mere two years later. Lincoln is hoping for more luck with the introduction of this new Aviator, which is more than a concept vehicle but just short of a production vehicle.

This time, though, they have more than crossed fingers on their side; this time, the Aviator seems like a boldly styled, performance-minded, legit entrant into the luxury crossover realm.

Exterior Features:

Styling alone should ensure the success of the Aviator. Unlike previous Lincolns, which merely slapped a different front fascia to existing Fords, the current Lincolns are much more expressive. The Aviator looks stately and distinctive, and all the lines follow through to the rear, making a harmonious design while retaining a beefy, boxy silhouette.

The show vehicle was coated in a gorgeous Flight Blue paint job that really emphasized all the lines and sculpturing. Here’s hoping that they offer it to consumers. The 22-inch turbine-blade wheels were a bit of an overkill, but there’s no doubt that it will be appealing to many.

Interior Features:

The driver will be hard pressed to miss the 12-inch digital display in the gauge cluster, and the wide infotainment screen that is the centralized location of many of the controls. The overall design of the cabin emphasizes a horizontal flow, and shows off a deft, appealing touch when it comes to aesthetics. In the Black Label trim level, you have your choice of Shearling Beige and Lunar Gray color schemes, and the use of aluminum trim pieces and supple leather upholstery elevates the cabin.

Lincoln showed off its Perfect Position front seats, with 30-way power adjustments and a massage feature to soothe away concerns during the commute. In the rear, the seats recline and slide fore and aft to easier entry into the third row. Lincoln says that a six-feet tall adult will be able to fit back there; we’ll reserve judgment to see if it’s that’s “technically” or “happily.”

Optional Features:

As this is a “teaser” preview, Lincoln has not given any details on various trim levels and options. The vehicle shown at the New York Auto Show was the Black Label, which is Lincoln’s highest-zoot trim level. 

Under the Hood:

Lincoln hasn’t released any horsepower numbers, but has stated that it will be powered by a twin-turbo and a plug-in hybrid engine. A transmission was not specified either, but we can speculate that it will be Ford’s 10-speed automatic.

Lincoln built a new rear-wheel drive platform for the Aviator, but, of course, AWD will be available. Lincoln hasn’t confirmed many of the details, but we’ll make an educated guess that this will be the platform that a future Explorer, and possibly the Lincoln Continental will rest upon at a later date.

Rear-wheel drive means that the Aviator will have good handling chops, and may compete with the more athletic luxury crossovers, like the BMW X5, rather than the softer CUVs like the Lexus RX. The chassis sounds fairly robust as well, and Lincoln detailed their Suspension Preview Technology that scans the road with a radar to look for bumps and potholes and adjusts the suspension for less impact.

Safety:

A comprehensive array of active safety technologies help you avoid collisions.  The Co-Pilot360 system is pretty much a semi-autonomous driving feature, with automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, lane keeping, and blind spot monitoring with cross traffic alert. An available reverse brake assist will stop the vehicle when it’s going in reverse and it detects an object.

Technology:

You can unlock the Aviator with your phone (or, as tradition dictates, through a code on the touchpad on the door sill) with Lincoln’s Phone as Key feature; it also lets you start and drive the car, set off a chirp to locate it in a parking lot. We suppose a key fob would be one less thing to carry, but given our propensity to misplace our phone throughout the day, we’re not sure that this is the ideal solution. A wireless charger, multiple charging ports and a WiFi hotspot makes the standard list.