2020 Lincoln Aviator

2020 Lincoln Aviator Review: A Brute In A Burberry Coat

by Deiondre van der Merwe

The Lincoln Aviator will most likely find its home with families that won't simply visit their nearest BMW dealership, get the latest SUV, and blend in with the rest of the picket-fenced neighborhood. This SUV will attract those looking for something a little different. The good news is, if you're looking for a taste of something unconventional, the Aviator will give you just that without straying too far from home. Based on the Ford Explorer, it's an all-American SUV that went to private school. Thanks to its infinitely competent twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter V6 engine that smashes out 400 horsepower and 415 lb-ft of torque, it passed with flying colors. We also love the clean and simple approach Lincoln took for the cabin of the SUV, blending deluxe materials and up-to-the-minute technology effortlessly. Still, unforgiving rivals like the Volvo XC90 and the BMW X5 boast some extra agility and opulence.

🚙What’s New For 2020?

The Aviator is back with a fresh face after a good few years in hiding, and the SUV is all new for 2020.

Pros and Cons

  • Elegant exterior styling
  • Cavernous trunk space
  • Premium-feeling interior
  • Powerful engine
  • Long list of standard features
  • Certain rivals offer more opulent interiors
  • Not as agile as rivals

2020 Lincoln Aviator Trims

Trim Engine Transmission Drivetrain Price (MSRP)
Standard
3.0-liter Twin-Turbo V6 Gas
10-Speed Automatic
Rear-Wheel Drive
All-Wheel Drive
$51,100
Reserve
3.0-liter Twin-Turbo V6 Gas
10-Speed Automatic
Rear-Wheel Drive
All-Wheel Drive
$56,190
Black Label
3.0-liter Twin-Turbo V6 Gas
10-Speed Automatic
All-Wheel Drive
$77,695

Aviator Exterior

When did Lincolns become so... sultry? The Aviator perfectly executes the "less is more" design strategy, and on the Standard and Reserve feature chrome upper grille mesh, while the Black Label gets a unique front-end, with black stringers and bright chrome jewels. The top two trims get LED fog lamps too. At the rear, a hands-free liftgate is standard on Reserve and Black Label models, and all models get a slim LED lighting strip that joins the full-LED taillights. All models have a set of dual exhaust pipes poking out from underneath a voluptuous rear bumper. Wheel sizes range from between 19 inches and 22 inches depending on the model.

2020 Lincoln Aviator Front View Driving Lincoln
2020 Lincoln Aviator Front Angle View Lincoln
2020 Lincoln Aviator Rear Angle View Lincoln
See All 2020 Lincoln Aviator Exterior Photos

Dimensions

Significantly larger than the BMW X5, the Aviator measures 199.3 inches from nose to tail and has a 119.1-inch wheelbase. It's also quite a bit larger than the Volvo XC90, and has a width of 89.9 inches with the mirrors included. From the ground up, it stands 69.8 inches, and it has a base curb weight of 4,742 pounds. Overall, it's the largest SUV out of it's mentioned rivals, and it isn't the most expensive in its base form.

  • Length 199.3 in
  • Wheelbase 119.1 in
  • Height 69.6 in
  • Max Width 82.3 in
  • Front Width 66.9 in
  • Rear Width 66.9 in

Exterior Colors

Lincoln makes the Aviator available in ten different colors, but the Black Label only gets access to six of these. Both the Standard and the Reserve models get access to all ten, and the no-cost hues include Infinite Black, Magnetic Gray, Blue Diamond and Silver Radiance. Six additional colors are available at the cost of $695 and these include elegant options like Iced Mocha, Pristine White and Ceramic Pearl. Crystal Copper and Burgundy Velvet are on the richer end of the spectrum, and there is a bold hue called Red Carpet, too. The apex Black Label trim allows for six exterior color options, five of them at no extra cost. They are Infinite Black, Burgundy Velvet, Pristine White, Silver Radiance, and trim-exclusive Flight Blue. Chrome Caviar Dark Gray is unique to this model too, and wraps up the palette for the top of the range model, and costs $1,750.

  • Ceramic Pearl Metallic Tri-Coat
  • Red Carpet Metallic Tinted Clearcoat
  • Pristine White Metallic Tri-Coat
  • Burgundy Velvet Metallic Tinted Clearcoat
  • Iced Mocha Metallic Premium Colorant
  • Crystal Copper Metallic Tinted Clearcoat
  • Silver Radiance Metallic
  • Infinite Black Metallic
  • Blue Diamond Metallic
  • Magnetic Gray Clearcoat
  • Chroma Caviar Dark Gray Premium Metallic
  • Flight Blue Clearcoat
  • Magnetic Gray Metallic

Aviator Performance

We can sum the Aviator up in one sentence. An SUV this size has no business going this fast. The twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter V6 launches the all-American luxury hauler from 0-60 mph in just 5.4 seconds, according to independent testing. Yes, this means that it gets to 60 mph in the same amount of time as a Camaro LS. The mind boggles. It leaves both the XC90 and the base Audi Q7 behind, with the former struggling the most to keep up with the Aviator. It isn't just a threat between traffic lights, either. When properly equipped, the Aviator has the ability to tow a maximum of 6,700 pounds, making it far more capable of getting that new boat to the ocean than the Volvo XC90. It's worth noting that it falls behind the X5 and the Q7 in this regard, with both of its German counterparts boasting the ability to tow over 7,000 pounds. The first two models are available in either rear-wheel-drive or all-wheel-drive, but the Black Label comes exclusively equipped with AWD.

2020 Lincoln Aviator Front View Driving 1 Lincoln
2020 Lincoln Aviator Rear View Driving Lincoln
2020 Lincoln Aviator Phone as a Key Lincoln

Engine and Transmission

The Lincoln Aviator packs a big secret under its snout, and that is its twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter V6 engine. This SUV is a wolf in sheep's clothing and has a total of 400 horses lying in wait. The burly V6 offers 415 pound-feet of torque to boot, making it more powerful than the BMW X5's base engine that produces 335 horsepower and 330 lb-ft. The available T6 engine in the Volvo XC90 also falls behind with figures of 316 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque, but to be fair, those are coming out of a twin-charged 2.0-liter engine. All models in the Aviator lineup host the V6 engine, and the 3.0-liter powerhouse is coupled with a more than competent ten-speed automatic transmission. It delivers imperceptibly smooth changes and is intuitive enough not to bog down the engine when you need to navigate to a lower gear quickly. The gears can be controlled via the shift paddles behind the steering wheel or by the piano key shifter that's unique to the Lincoln brand, displaying gears in a horizontal button layout in place of the traditional shifter layout.

  • Engine
    3.0-liter Twin-Turbo V6 Gas
  • Transmission
    10-Speed Automatic
  • Drivetrains
    AWD, RWD

Handling and Driving Impressions

One of the things that the Aviator does best is its outstanding ability to sail over bumps and untoward obstacles in the road, and only truly menacing flaws will be enough to bring unsettlement into the cabin. The superb ride quality is made even more plush by the optional adaptive suspension setup, but it comes with a considerable markup and is only available for Reserve models and higher with all-wheel-drive equipped. Impressively, even with bigger wheels, the Aviator maintains its composure on uneven roads. Engine noise is also firmly refused by the inside of the Aviator despite the throaty V6's eager soundtrack, and the experience from inside is equally as impressive for the occupants as it is for the driver. The SUV is pleasantly buttoned-down for the sheer size of it, and it handles corners with aplomb. Possibly the only downside of the Aviator from behind the wheel is the steering, which is almost completely absent of road feel. It also hesitates to center again after turning, which isn't a huge problem, but it can be a bit of a nuisance when you deal with it every day.

Aviator Gas Mileage

When we consider fuel economy, the Aviator isn't terrible, but it isn't the most frugal either. The most efficient model in the lineup is the RWD-equipped version that returns EPA estimates of 18/26/21 mpg city/highway/combined, but it falls behind the RWD-equipped X5 sDrive40i's 21/26/23 mpg figures. The AWD Aviator only drops its fuel economy slightly in comparison to the FWD-equipped models and has EPA estimated figures of 17/24/20 mpg. These figures are also beaten by the AWD T5 Volvo XC90's 18/26/21 mpg, which is to be expected because it is significantly less powerful, even with the T6 engine equipped. When the 20-gallon fuel tank is at full capacity, RWD models offer a total range of around 450 miles, and AWD models drop this down to around 430 miles.

  • Fuel Tank Capacity
    20.2 Gallons
  • Fuel Economy
    City/Hwy: 18/26 mpg
* 2020 Lincoln Aviator Standard RWD

Aviator Interior

While this is no Mercedes-Benz or even a BMW, Lincoln has done an excellent job of putting a plush and modern interior together. We love the simplicity of the cabin that's swathed in high-quality materials and places every digital component within perfect reach. This is especially true for the top of the range Black Label trim that gets even more top-notch cladding. Another benefit of the Aviator is that it offers ample interior space thanks to its larger size, and it's as much of a great choice for the smaller well-to-do family as it is for the bachelor that wants a taste of the finer things. We're not ashamed to say that we're highly impressed by the cabin of the Aviator, it's an undeniable winner.

2020 Lincoln Aviator Dashboard Lincoln
2020 Lincoln Aviator Central Console Lincoln
2020 Lincoln Aviator Central Console 1 Lincoln
See All 2020 Lincoln Aviator Interior Photos

Seating and Interior Space

As spacious as it is plush, the Aviator offers more interior space than the Volvo XC90 and the BMW X5, thanks to its bigger size. It beats the latter in every single measurement and continues the beating when we compare it to the XC90, except for the room in the third row that the Volvo reigns superior. Six-footers won't find anything to complain about in any part of the Aviator, other than in the third row that should be reserved for children. The Standard trim comes with heated ten-way power-adjustable front seats with power lumbar support and memory, and the Reserve gets upgraded to 12-way power-adjustable front seats. The Black Label is the king of adjustability, and hosts 30-way power-adjustable front seats with massage and a heated and ventilated front and second-row seats. The base model is the only model that comes standard without second-row captain's chairs.

  • Seating capacity
    7-seater
  • Front Leg Room 43.0 in
  • Front Head Room 41.5 in
  • Rear Leg Room 40.1 in
  • Rear Head Room 39.7 in

Interior Colors and Materials

The entry-level Standard model comes with the choice between leatherette upholstery in two colors that include Ebony and Sandstone. The Reserve model ups the selection with a choice of four premium leather upholstery options. It gets access to the same colors as the Standard and adds Slate Gray and Ebony Roast. For the Black Label, Savannah Leather upholstery is available in three colors, but some are specific to exterior hue choices. Cashmere comes standard, and Luggage Tan is only available with the Infinite Black exterior paint. Mahogany Red can be had with any of the exterior paint choices.

Aviator Trunk and Cargo Space

The Aviator officially has bragging rights for one of the most generous trunk offerings in the segment, and beats almost every rival in this regard. 18.3 cubic feet of room behind the third row leaves the Volvo XC90's 15.8 cubes behind, and the trunk of the Aviator is big enough for the perfect long vacation with the family, allowing for enough room to mitigate any conflict about packing lightly. If that isn't enough, the third row will fold down to allow for 41.8 cubic feet, and with all seats folded, a total cargo capacity of 77.7 cubes becomes available for the hauling of large items.

In-cabin storage is as decent as one would expect thanks to a large glove compartment, a considerable center storage console, and sizable door pockets.

2020 Lincoln Aviator Rear Passenger Seats Lincoln
2020 Lincoln Aviator Rear Passenger Seats 1 Lincoln
2020 Lincoln Aviator Top View Lincoln

Aviator Infotainment and Features

Features

Features are generous from the entry-level model to the apex trim, but subtle improvements are obvious as you climb the ladder. For the Standard model, remote start, keyless entry and push-button start are included along with tri-zone climate control and a piano key shifter. This model also comes standard with ten-way power-adjustable front seats. The Reserve model adds a power tilt and telescopic steering wheel,12-way power-adjustable front seats, quad-zone climate control, and ambient lighting. Added to the top of the range Black Label is a panoramic sunroof, a heated steering wheel, active noise control, the ability to use your phone as a key, and soft-close doors. Safety features on the base model are impressive, and the Standard comes equipped with a rearview camera, pre-collision assist with automatic emergency braking and forward collision warning, along with dynamic brake support, blind-spot monitoring, and pedestrian detection. The Reserve adds a 360-degree camera, and the Black Label welcomes adaptive cruise control with traffic jam assist, a head-up display, lane centering, and speed sign recognition. Park assist rounds the standard suite off.

Infotainment

The inside of the Aviator is a digitally-focused environment, and at the center of it all is a 10.1-inch touchscreen that enables the Sync 3 system that's at home in many Ford products. The system enables Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as well as SiriusXM on the Standard model, and a ten-speaker sound system is included. All models come with a Wi-Fi hotspot and four USB ports. The Reserve adds voice-activated navigation with SiriusXM Traffic, HD Radio and gets an upgraded 14-speaker Revel sound system. Added to the Black Label is a wireless charging pad and the exclusive Revel Ultima 28-speaker sound system.

Aviator Problems and Reliability

The 2020 Lincoln Aviator has been on the receiving end of three recalls so far for issues including reduced seatback strength, the possibility of the fuel lines chafing and causing a fuel leak, and the vehicle staying in factory mode. Lincoln offers a four-year or 50,000-mile warranty for the Aviator along with a five-year corrosion warranty. The drivetrain warranty is valid for six years or 70,000 miles. Roadside assistance is unlimited.

Warranty

  • Basic:
    4 Years \ 50,000 Miles
  • Drivetrain:
    6 Years \ 70,000 Miles
  • Corrosion:
    5 Years \ Unlimited Miles
  • Roadside Assistance:
    Unlimited Years \ Unlimited Miles

Aviator Safety

The IIHS has given the Aviator mostly Good ratings, but it scored Average for the small-overlap front on the driver's side. It also received a Marginal rating for its headlights. The NHTSA, however, gave it a five out of five star rating for overall safety.

Key Safety Features

The standard suite of safety features even at base level is impressive, but the Black Label is the trim that boasts the most comprehensive list of offerings. All models get front side-impact, dual-front, side curtain and driver and passenger front knee airbags - a total of eight airbags. The features shared across the lineup include a rearview camera, pre-collision assist with automatic emergency braking and forward collision warning, along with dynamic brake support, blind-spot detection, cross traffic alert and pedestrian monitoring. The Reserve adds a 360-degree camera, and the Black Label welcomes adaptive cruise control with traffic jam assist, lane centering, speed sign recognition and park assist. The added suite on the Black Label is optionally available for the Reserve model.

Verdict: 🏁Is the 2020 Lincoln Aviator a good SUV?

The Aviator is a worthy challenge to longtime players like the Audi Q7 and the Volvo XC90. It has a powerful engine that either surpasses rivals or sticks with them. It has an affordable asking price when compared against competitors, but it arguably lacks the opulence offered by its German counterparts. That being said, its interior is a definite win for the Aviator, thanks to a fully digital cabin and plush materials. Speaking of plush, the ride quality is superbly cushioned and improved even further by the optional adaptive suspension.

🚘What's the Price of the 2020 Lincoln Aviator?

The entry point of the Aviator lineup has a starting MSRP of $51,100 in FWD guise, and adding AWD will hike the price up to $53,600. The mid-level Reserve model has a $56,190 price tag that also rises by $2,500 when AWD is opted for. A very large price jump is seen between this model and the Black Label, with the top-level model increasing its asking price to $77,695. All prices are exclusive of the $1,095 destination charge.

2020 Lincoln Aviator Models

Made up of three models, the Lincoln Aviator range comprises the Standard, Reserve, and Black Label models. All of them share a twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter V6 mated to a ten-speed automatic transmission. All models except for the Black Label come with either RWD or AWD, but the apex trim is exclusively available in AWD guise.

The Standard model comes with 19-inch wheels and convenience features that include remote start, keyless entry and push-button start. Ten-way power-adjustable seats and tri-zone climate control are also on the list. A 10.1-inch touchscreen enables the Sync 3 infotainment system that in turn enables Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and SiriusXM, as well as Bluetooth streaming. Audio is pushed out of a standard ten-speaker sound system. Four USB ports and a Wi-Fi hotspot are also standard features. Safety features are inclusive of a rearview camera, pre-collision assist with automatic emergency braking, forward collision warning, dynamic brake support, and pedestrian monitoring.

Added to the Reserve are 21-inch wheels, 12-way power-adjustable front seats, quad-zone climate control, and ambient lighting, and it also gets HD Radio, a voice-activated navigation system, and a more premium 14-speaker sound system. A 360-degree camera is added to the safety features.

The Black Label enjoys some subtle upgrades that include 22-inch wheels, a panoramic sunroof and a heated steering wheel, as well as the ability to use your phone as a key. Active noise control mitigates road noise. A head-up display is also added along with a wireless charging pad and a deluxe Revel Ultima 28-speaker sound system. This model boasts the most safety features and adds adaptive cruise control with traffic jam assist, lane centering, speed sign recognition, and active park assist plus.

See All 2020 Lincoln Aviator Trims and Specs

Additional Packages

For the Standard, the Elements Package costs $1,000 and adds heated rear seats, heated steering and heated wipers. For $500, the voice-activated touchscreen navigation can be added. For the Reserve, the Reserve I Package adds a panoramic vista roof, the Elements Package and Lincoln Co-Pilot360 FOR $4,930. A Dynamic Handling Package adds adaptive air suspension and adaptive steering, but requires the Reserve II Package that costs $11,625 and adds 22-inch wheels, the Illumination Package and the Class IV Tow Hitch and the Luxury Package.

🚗What Lincoln Aviator Model Should I Buy?

While the base model is considerably well-stocked in terms of standard features, we'd opt for the Reserve model as it adds the most in terms of value for money. We doubt that the Black Label's considerably large price hike is worth it when all things are considered. So, opt for the mid-range model and use the extra cash you've saved to access the Convenience Package that adds a head-up display and a wireless charging pad as well as the ability to use your phone as a key for $2,200.

Check out other Lincoln Aviator Styles

2020 Lincoln Aviator Comparisons

Lincoln Navigator Lincoln
Ford Explorer Ford
CompetitorHorsepowerMPGPrice (MSRP)
Lincoln Aviator400 hp18/26 mpg$51,100
Lincoln Navigator 450 hp16/22 mpg$76,185
Ford Explorer 300 hp21/28 mpg$32,765

2020 Lincoln Aviator vs Lincoln Navigator

While both SUVs are based on Ford Platforms, the Navigator is larger in size. This inevitably results in the Aviator's interior being considerably smaller, especially when we consider the space in the third row. Their close relation means that they have similar interior setups, and both of them offer undeniably premium cabins, though the Navigator's large stature allows for some extra space. At first glance, it's clear that they share DNA, but the powerhouses behind the SUV are different. While the Lincoln Aviator utilizes a smaller engine, the Navigator relies on a 450 hp 3.5-liter V6 that's aided by two turbochargers. The better choice of the two will depend entirely on what you're looking for. If space is a priority, the Navigator will win the fight, but if your budget is a concern and you don't need the extra room, the Aviator will fare just fine.

See Lincoln Navigator Review

2020 Lincoln Aviator vs Ford Explorer

The Aviator may take cues from the Ford Explorer in terms of its platform, but the two are worlds apart at their core. While the Aviator puts most of its focus on being a decadent SUV offering with more luxury than you'd know what to do with, the Explorer commits to being a trust family SUV that Americans love. It's difficult to tell that the two are related just from looking at them because the Aviator is much more deluxe both on the outside and the inside. It comes with a far better cabin and the only thing the two have in common in terms of standard convenience features is Ford's Sync 3 infotainment system. That being said, the Explorer offers better fuel economy figures and far better value for money. It's unlikely that these two SUVs will attract the same buyers, but the Aviator is only the better choice if luxury is your primary concern.

See Ford Explorer Review

Lincoln Aviator Popular Comparisons

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2020 Lincoln Aviator Video Reviews

$51,100 - $77,695
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