By on May 11, 2021

2020 Lincoln Aviator

2020 Lincoln Aviator Fast Facts

3.0-liter twin-turbocharged V6 (400 horsepower; 415 lb-ft)

Ten-speed automatic; all-wheel drive

17 city / 24 highway / 20 combined (EPA Rating, MPG)

13.7 city, 9.7 highway, 11.9 combined. (NRCan Rating, L/100km)

Base Price: $58,700 (U.S) / $62,000 (Canada)

As Tested: $76,620 (U.S.) / $78,985 (Canada)

Prices include $1,095 destination charge in the United States and $2,250 for freight, PDI, and A/C tax in Canada and, because of cross-border equipment differences, can’t be directly compared.

Defining what makes a large luxury SUV “good” can be harder than it looks.

Sure, some things are obvious – are the materials nice enough to justify the price? Is the ride comfortable? Are the seats nice and relaxing? Is NVH kept to a minimum? Is the features list long, with many items that are optional on cheaper vehicles standard?

But some things aren’t so obvious, and/or hinge on subjectivity. Styling, of course, is subjective. But there’s also an “it” factor at play. Basically, buyers want to know that when they pull up to dinner, the valet will compliment their ride. Or, at the very least, that Muffy and Buffy won’t whisper about the driver’s questionable taste after a round of tennis at the club.

There was a time, not so long ago, when driving a Lincoln SUV might get you a bit of side-eye. “Couldn’t afford a Lexus or a BMW, even on her salary?” “You’d think a guy like him would drive an Escalade”.

2020 Lincoln Aviator

Lincoln seems to have solved that problem with the Aviator. Turns out that the product is the point, and ads starring Matthew McConaughey – ads that were produced as if the writers sat down with the Lincoln Lawyer himself and sampled some peyote – aren’t. Best to let them be mocked by Saturday Night Live.

It starts with the styling, here. Lincoln has penned a classic luxury look, with clean lines and a big grille that announces your presence. A roofline that slopes towards the rear along with a rakish roofline and a curved front help give what’s essentially a rolling brick a hint of sportiness.

The interior styling is a bit more mixed. Lincoln tries to continue the clean-sheet theme with a cockpit that’s a bit minimalist, and it might work if not marred by the use of the trendy-but-ugly tacked-on infotainment screen. Materials at least feel class-appropriate, if not best-in-class. And exterior noise is mostly well filtered out.

2020 Lincoln Aviator

Luxury isn’t limited to look and feel, especially these days. There was once a time luxury buyers, especially those shopping for SUVs, would tolerate soft rides and sloppy steering. But thanks to underpaid and overfed scribes like me shouting into the void about poor performance, a basic standard of competence, if not fun, is to be expected.

Lincoln meets this standard with the Avi. It manages to handle relatively well for its size while sacrificing little in the way of ride. It’s not perfect – some wallow appears on occasion, as does the occasional ripple after encountering a particularly rough bump – but it’s good enough to satisfy most buyers at this price point.

Underhood sits a twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter V6 that makes 400 horsepower and 415 lb-ft of torque. That’s enough to keep up with traffic, though anyone entertaining any fantasies of surprising sport-sedan drivers in stop-light drags need to be disabused of that notion. The Aviator feels every bit of its nearly 5K-pound curb weight.

2020 Lincoln Aviator

The standard features list shows the usual suspects in terms of expected items – hands-free power liftgate, dual exhaust with quad tips, LED headlamps, LED fog lamps, ambient interior lighting, heated front seats with driver memory, power tilt/telescope steering wheel, four-zone climate control, 360-degree camera, keyless entry and starting, lane-keeping system, wi-fi, rain-sensing wipers, Revel audio, automatic high beams, Sync 3 infotainment, and blind-spot detection.

The options list is where it gets wild. Spend 11 large and get the Elements Package (heated and cooled front seats, heated steering wheel, heated and cooled second-row seats) plus Lincoln Co-Pilot 360 (park-assist, adaptive cruise control, evasive steering assist, and other driver-aid tech) and add a panoramic sunroof, 22-inch wheels, a towing package, and the Luxury Package (rear sunshades, upgraded seats and audio).

2020 Lincoln Aviator

Another 3 grand adds a Dynamic Handling Package with the adaptive air suspension that gives our rig its smooth ride and is height-adjustable. Finally, 2K more adds the Convenience Package: Head-up display, wireless phone charger, and the use of your phone as a vehicle key.

That puts you at $75K. Oh, and save some dough for fuel – the EPA numbers are 17/24/20.

2020 Lincoln Aviator

So, it’s not cheap. But it’s pretty dang good. Good enough to challenge the Escalade, and the aging Lexus GX/LX (although the LX, being based on Toyota’s Land Cruiser, can do some off-roading that the Lincoln likely can’t).

Lincoln has been slowly crawling out of a bad spot, and it’s on the right track. Consistent production of strong vehicles like the Aviator is what’s needed to keep Lincoln in the luxury conversation.

Somewhere, McConaughey approves.

What’s New for 2020

The 2020 Lincoln Aviator is all new, debuting in both gas and hybrid versions.

Who Should Buy This Car

Luxury-SUV shoppers who are happy to see Lincoln is back.

[Images © 2021 Tim Healey/TTAC]

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49 Comments on “2020 Lincoln Aviator Reserve AWD Review – Getting It Right...”


  • avatar
    tonycd

    Some other things that make an SUV good:

    Did it have bands of employees roving around its final assembly plant unchecked, harassing other employees? As a result, did the finished SUVs come off the line so horribly built and riddled with defects that the maker shipped hundreds of examples to its other plant, so that more trustworthy workers could somewhat fix them before sale?

    When you buy the car, you buy the company. Ford has lost my trust.

  • avatar
    Lie2me

    I’ve seen this and the Escape based Corsair close up and find the fit and finish of these two Lincolns to be remarkable for American cars. Save for the dumb screen the interiors are nice and well thought out

    What I don’t understand is how Ford can get this so right, but the Explorer so wrong

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    Holy center console Batman – that is HUGE

    • 0 avatar
      JMII

      And people made fun of the C8’s great wall-o-buttons? Well now we have something new to mock, thanks Ford.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      They design the center console first and then figure out a way to add four wheels and doors to it now.

      • 0 avatar
        MRF 95 T-Bird

        Ford/Lincoln went on this wide and tall center console styling theme on the Taurus, MKS and Navigator not long after they purchased and then sold Land Rover which have very similar looking consoles and control panels.

  • avatar
    wjtinfwb

    I’d say the Lincoln’s competition is not the 90k+ Escalade, but rather the XT6, which it absolutely blows away. The Lexus GX is a nice rig if a bit stale and somewhat off-road oriented. The Lincoln falls between the Mercedes GLE/GLS series, priced closer to the GLE, which it compares favorably to but sized more like the GLS, which is more expensive but also nicer. Being a bit more judicious with the options list gets you a very nice Aviator AWD for about 65k or about the same as a GLE350 or XT6, it’s a much nicer vehicle than either of those.

  • avatar
    dal20402

    I want to know if time has allowed them to get the PHEV powertrain right. Early reviews of the Aviator Grand Touring criticized the transitions between power modes for being jerky and noisy. But if it were to work correctly, the Aviator PHEV would be the ideal vehicle for my family in a lot of ways. So despite the very high prices I’m interested.

  • avatar
    Cicero

    The iPad is stuck to the dash with only the finest double-sided tape.

  • avatar
    slow_poke

    How does it compare to the Telluride / Palisade? It seems like they are the new standard of the industry for SUV’s that don’t cost a TON.

    • 0 avatar
      Tim Healey

      It feels a bit more luxurious than those two, and slightly less fun to drive, though not by much.

      • 0 avatar
        PeriSoft

        I feel like $26,000 needs to buy more than “a bit” more luxury. The XC90 may be a crap shoot with maintenance but at least it (in Inscription guise, anyway) seems genuinely special relative to the H/K twins.

        • 0 avatar
          Dan

          The XC90 is brilliant until you turn it on, then it’s slow and sounds like a mail delivery truck.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Slow and utilitarian? The 240 lives on in spirit.

          • 0 avatar
            clearance42

            Just took delivery on XC90 Recharge. Can confirm it both feels special, and sounds agrarian when the gas engine kicks in. Fast enough though, once the transmission stops hunting.

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            0-60 in 5.5 is “slow?” I see the bench racing brigade has logged on.

          • 0 avatar
            Dan

            The plug in edition with electric assist, and $80,000 on the window, may do that but the regular one at a mere $60,000 is a dog.

          • 0 avatar
            sckid213

            Yes hearing an XC90 at WOT is soul-crushing.

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            I still can’t see a three-row that does 0-60 in the high sixes as “slow.” You may not want to push it hard because it sounds ugly, but that’s a different issue.

        • 0 avatar
          Dave M.

          Having bought and fallen in love with a Volvo, it’s a painful mistress. Finally had to cut bait when it was 5 years old because it cost an arm and leg to keep going. At 60k miles. I think the need for an ABS brain and complete AC system was the straw that broke the camel’s back. Weened me off European cars forever since I like to keep my cars forever. I don’t know when they’ll ever learn their lesson or if they care to.

      • 0 avatar
        slow_poke

        Thanks! This is what i want to see / hear about. Don’t want to dump the cash for luxury, but not really interested in a complete plastic interior anymore. Maybe when i was younger…. i thought about the XC90, but yeah, super-turbo makes me really wince re: reliability. Hard to swallow that pill. If I’m going that route, maybe a 2-3yr old Range Rover… ?????…. right.

  • avatar
    EBFlex

    What is amazing is how people are so easily fooled by some shiny bits and a curvy body.

    This MKExplorer is a disappointment from nose to tail. The styling, while subjective, is awkward and not cohesive. The grille is downright ugly. The sides are overly sculpted and the sloping roofline is ridiculous. Although maybe that sloping roofline is a retro nod to past Lincolns with blow out rear airbags.

    The powertrain are mediocre. No V8 option and a problematic 10-speed.

    The interior inoffensive (save for the cheap android tablet that was clearly an afterthought) but really doesn’t raise the bar for near luxury brands. The 30 way seats are a Rube Goldberg thing too. Just because it’s complicated doesn’t mean it’s good.

    Lastly, pricing is for too high for a poorly built Lincoln. When Hyundais and Kias have the same level of quality, you have to wonder what you’re really paying for. Prices should drop by about $10k across the board.

    All in all it’s a pretty poor effort and shows Ford is not serious in making Lincoln anything other than Fords with some extra chrome

    • 0 avatar
      The Comedian

      I’m glad to find this comment here so I don’t have to type a much less eloquent version of the same.

      An undersized engine connected to a troubled transmission in an overly tech-laden vehicle assembled by ingrates does not inspire the confidence.

    • 0 avatar
      crtfour

      “When Hyundais and Kias have the same level of quality, you have to wonder what you’re really paying for. Prices should drop by about $10k across the board.”

      Well said. My opinion is that with domestic vehicles, you are overpaying compared to the competition in order to support the UAW nonsense.

  • avatar
    Lightspeed

    Uh, dude, you left your iPad on the dash, better take it with you or someone’s gonna break in and steal it. “Underhood sits a twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter V6 that makes 400 horsepower and 415 lb-ft of torque. That’s enough to keep up with traffic,” Remember when a 300HP Buick Turbo made people think they’d seen God?

    • 0 avatar
      ponchoman49

      I assume you are referring to the old Grand Nationals with the 3.8 turbo V6. Note that those old G-bodies weighted around 3300-3400 LBS. This Lincoln in close to 5000 or a difference of 1600-1700 LBS. That GN also spun 15″ rubber compared to 20″ for these modern vehicles. Still the 400 HP Lincoln should be plenty quick even in these times.

  • avatar
    sentience

    Lincoln still needs work on their design language. At first glance, this reads as an mid-2000’s Mercedes ML.

    Same droopy headlights, same divorced grille and lighting elements. Strip off the Lincoln badges, and this just reads like any contemporary SUV. Nothing about it screams luxury. and for what, an as tested price of 75k?

    Instead of buying some near luxury tin can that looks like an outdated luxury SUV, buy a real luxury SUV. 75k can get you a well equipped GLE. new.

    • 0 avatar
      ponchoman49

      The problem is that with these CUV’s it’s either going to be a high riding brick with a rear hatch or a rounded bar of soap with a hatch. These things are looking more alike than ever with little room to differentiate save the front and rear end treatments. Even then I find myself confusing different makes. I actually think the current Explorer looks better than this Lincoln because I can still identify it as such. When I see these Aviators it could be confused with numerous other foreign makes.

  • avatar
    jkross22

    It’s a 50k minivan selling for 75k before incentives and figure it’s close to 65k with incentives.

    Why would anyone buy this?

    Lexus GX is less, looks just as good, will be more reliable and have better resale value.

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      Lexus GX is a truck from before the dawn of time. This generation was introduced for the 2010 model year and not much has changed. It will be better off-road than the modern competition but ride, interior packaging, and design are all much worse.

  • avatar

    Comment section in TTAC is the reason why many old-timers left.

    • 0 avatar
      Chocolatedeath

      Yeah thats why I mostly read and not comment. If gas prices up its political, If they go down its political. Buick builds in China its political, Tesla leaves Cal to Tx and its political.
      I realize that this article is not one of those but when you have idiots saying that this engine is too small and it should have a V8 dont live in the real world. Hell I dont even recognize most of the names on this comment list. I miss consistency with comments mixed with open mindedness. Its amazing that folks root for companies like its their favorite sports team.
      Or against them like their the Patriots.

  • avatar
    Dan

    I guess when you get this expensive there’s nothing left to sell but gimmicks but the electric door latches on these are a bridge too far for me to cross.

  • avatar
    Oberkanone

    Lincoln is on the right track. So unfortunate the Continental failed. It was good when it needed to be great. Lincoln is doing well with it’s SUV lineup.
    Lincoln is still falling behind in battery electric.

  • avatar
    A Scientist

    I disagree with the majority of the comments here. This thing is super handsome inside and out. I think it looks terrific and sort of captures that staid, understated elegance of old Lincoln. Ok, the tacked on screen is not good, but it’s become par for the course for most manufacturers these days, particularly European manufacturers who seem to get a pass for every flaw. And seriously, if four hundred freaking horsepower isn’t enough for you, go buy a Hellcat or something, geez.

    • 0 avatar
      EBFlex

      The problem is it’s junk. It’s easy to be fooled by the glitz and glam but at the end of the day this is an overpriced Explorer that’s built very poorly.

    • 0 avatar
      swilliams41

      Agreed, the Aviator is a nice-looking SUV without the bug-eye headlights, flame curved gimmick surfaces, and other guffaws so many contemporary sleds have. This is a classy-looking entry for Lincoln and it has some competitive tech. Good for you Lincoln.

  • avatar
    ToolGuy

    @Tim Healey,

    Fire your photographer. (These pictures are awful.)

  • avatar
    bpscarguy

    We were really excited about the Aviator when we first saw it and thought it would be the ride to replace our aging but comfortable and trouble free Town & Country.

    Then, as I have continued to read the reports of constant quality issues all over the board it gives me great pause. And no way would we consider the Explorer. It looks awful and awkward.

    I have since moved my sights to a top line Grand Cherokee L and anxiously await it to make its appearance on lots so we can check it out. The top line Summit version looks great, and the interior looks to be just as nice or nicer than the Aviator and hopefully will not have the quality issues.

    Sorry Lincoln, we really wanted to go with you but I think we will be giving our money to Jeep.

    • 0 avatar
      EBFlex

      That’s smart. Jeep has never had to snipe vehicles to another factory to be fixed immediately after being built.

      I wouldn’t touch an aviator even if it was given to me. It will only provide you with years of headaches and problems. Not worth it. The Jeep will be far better especially the ZF 8-speed. That transmission alone is worth buying the Jeep. A far better transmission than the Ford 10 speed. Most people that know and drive cars say it’s the best “traditional” transmission on sale today.

      • 0 avatar
        bpscarguy

        EBFlex, AND…. the 6 cyl engine in the Jeep (which is what we would get) is the same engine we currently have in the Town & Country and has been flawless. That gives me alot of comfort as well.

  • avatar
    pb35

    With 75k in my pocket, I went shopping for a new luxury crossover for my wife in late 2019 to replace our 12 year old V8 XC90. After selecting all of her cars for the past 25 years, I told her to pick whatever she liked while gently suggesting the Aviator. She didn’t even give it a second thought, saying “I don’t like the grill…”

    While smaller, she picked a 2020 F-Pace S. She loves it and if/when it breaks I can tell her she should’ve gotten the Aviator. Or not. The Jag is pretty sweet and I like driving it. I should also mention that it’s been bulletproof.

  • avatar
    swilliams41

    Rather get a base Aviator than a loaded Explorer. Understand the suspension tuning and NVH is much better in the Lincoln. Not to mention fit and finish.

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