Lincoln showed off the new Aviator's sheet metal in New York, but it held back on a number of details.
At the 2018 New York Auto Show, Lincoln revealed how it will reintroduce yet another one of its historic nameplates as the brand shuffles the deck on its model line to offer more SUVs to luxury customers. The Aviator name was last used in 2005 and returns to the Lincoln fold to take its place on a rear-wheel drive, three-row crossover related to the next-generation Ford Explorer. The aviation-themed crossover will find motivation from a twin-turbocharged engine and an all-new plug-in hybrid drivetrain.
Referred to as a "production preview," Lincoln signified its intention to bring the model to market wearing nearly identical sheet metal as it showed in New York. “The Lincoln Navigator continues to turn heads and bring new clients to the brand,” says Joy Falotico, president of Lincoln. “We believe Aviator’s elegant design, state-of-the-art technology and refined plug-in hybrid option will draw even more clients to the Lincoln showroom, including families who are looking for three-row capability.” Lincoln said the all-new Aviator is will go on sale sometime in 2019, likely for the 2020 model year.
Unlike previous design projects at Ford Motor Company, a Lincoln-specific team was tasked with molding the Aviator's metal. None of those team members were shared with the Ford Explorer redesign team. Inside and out, all Aviator surfaces will be unique. The example shown in New York wears a new take on Lincoln's new grille design and its headlights strike a blend between Nautilus and Navigator. In profile, its most obvious element is its tapered roof that drops toward the rear, a design feature that won't be shared with the forthcoming Ford Explorer. Lincoln also used the reveal of Aviator to introduce some new technology.
One innovation is Lincoln's 'Phone as a Key' app that will allow you to ditch your fob and use your mobile phone to lock/unlock the vehicle and also start it. If you don't have your phone handy, owners will be able to unlock the Aviator through a door keypad with a PIN and start it via its infotainment system. Ford's new Co-Pilot 360 suite will also come as standard on Aviator and includes automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, blind spot information system with cross-traffic alert, lane keeping system, reverse camera and auto high-beam lighting. Aviator is be one of a slew of new SUV models Ford intends to introduce to both the brands over the next few years.