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2003 Lincoln Aviator Sport Utility

2WD Luxury

Starting at | Starting at 13 MPG City - 19 MPG Highway

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  • $39,485 original MSRP
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Printable Version

2003 Lincoln Aviator Sport Utility

Printable Version

2003 Lincoln Aviator Sport Utility

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2003 Lincoln Aviator

Source: New Car Test Drive

Introduction

Lincoln showrooms have been like Old Mother Hubbard's cupboards of late: rather bare. But Lincoln's cupboards are now being re-stocked, and the most recent addition is the 2003 Aviator sport utility.

Ford's luxury division has been eliminating models from its line. Gone is the aging Continental along with the Blackwood, an impractical but expensive sport-utility vehicle with a pickup bed that never took off. In essence, all that Lincoln dealers have had to sell is the LS entry-luxury sedan, the Town Car and the Navigator sport-utility.

The Aviator, on sale since November, is the luxury marque's first midsize sport-utility vehicle. It is part of Lincoln's two-prong strategy for attracting different sets of buyers to the brand. Lincoln executives, who saw division sales tumble by 5.6 percent in 2002 to 150,057 vehicles, according to industry trade journal Automotive News, plan to invest in its traditional vehicles like the Town Car to retain loyal buyers, refine fairly recent models such as the LS and Navigator to keep the new customers it has attracted and add new products to lure younger, affluent buyers. Indeed, they hope the Aviator's smaller dimensions and lower price will lure buyers, whose average age is expected to be about 45 years old, a decade younger than Navigator owners, with more of them being women.

Based on the Ford Explorer and Mercury Mountaineer, the Aviator drives into an increasingly crowded neighborhood of sport utilities with price tags that soar well above $40,000. It goes up against newly introduced midsize luxury sport utilities like the Lexus GX 470 and Infiniti FX45. It will also face the upcoming Volkswagen Touareg and Cadillac SRX. And it will challenge the relative old-timers, the Acura MDX, BMW X5 and Mercedes-Benz M-Class.

Model Lineup

Lincoln Aviator comes in two trim levels, Luxury and Premium. Both include a long list of standard features.

Luxury ($39,255) comes standard with six-way power front seats with two memory settings; AM/FM/in-dash CD audio system with steering wheel-mounted controls; dual-zone electronic climate control and auxiliary climate controls for rear seat passengers; heated power-adjustable side mirrors with built in puddle lamps and turn-signal indicators; power adjustable brake and accelerator pedals; and a back-up obstacle detection system.

Premium ($42,205) adds more equipment, including heated and cooled front seats. Options on both include a power moonroof ($1,595), a rear entertainment system with a DVD player and wireless headphones ($1,295), and a Class III towing package offering a 7,300-pound towing capacity ($295). Other options include a DVD-based navigation system and tire-pressure monitoring system.

Under the hood, the Aviator is outfitted with Ford's 4.6-liter DOHC V8 engine, rated at 302 horsepower and 300 pounds-feet of torque. The V8 is paired with a five-speed automatic transmission.

Aviator comes with a choice of rear-wheel drive and all-wheel drive ($2920). Two all-wheel drive systems are available. Early models use a permanently engaged system that shifts power between the front and rear wheels. A more sophisticated AdvanceTrac system will also be available that shifts power front to rear and side to side for better traction in snow and ice and improved stability.

Aviator is outfitted with a host of safety features. Side airbags are not offered, however. Instead, Lincoln offers an optional Safety Canopy air curtain to provide protection for first- and second-row occupants in side impacts and rollovers. Other automakers offer both side airbags and a side curtain. Other safety and security features on the Aviator include: front safety belts with pretensioners and load-limiting retractors; three-point lap and shoulder belts for all seating positions; childproof rear-door locks; LATCH universal child safety seat latches; SecuriLock passive anti-theft system; remote keyless entry; approach lamps; and adjustable pedals.

Walkaruond

The all-new Lincoln Aviator was deliberately designed to be a scale model in size and price of Lincoln Navigator. As a result, the Aviator is nearly identical to the Navigator in appearance, both inside and out.

Aviator features the same chrome-laden grille as the Navigator, though it is more diminutive and less imposing because of the Aviator's overall smaller dimensions. Like the Navigator, the Aviator sports a generous application of chrome trim, from the grille to the roof rack to the rear licensee plate holder.

As a midsize luxury sport utility, the Aviator is a foot shorter in length than the Navigator, which is a full-size luxury sport utility. Aviator seats six or seven, depending on the seating configuration ordered, while the Navigator has room for eight. The Aviator is also about six inches shorter in height. In price, the Aviator starts at about $40,000 and tops out at just over $50,000. Navigator ranges from $50,000 to more than $60,000 when fully loaded.

The Aviator shares its basic body structure with the Ford Explorer and Mercury Mountaineer, both of which were redesigned and re-engineered for 2002. The Aviator is more than just a redesigned Explorer, however. Its engineers modified the Explorer's basic architecture to produce a roomier, more comfortable, more luxurious vehicle with a smoother ride.

For starters, the Aviator is slightly longer and wider than the Explorer. It uses the Explorer's new independent rear suspension, a design more common on luxury cars than trucks that greatly improves ride quality and allows room underneath for the fold-down third seat. The Aviator takes this refinement a step farther, however, with a revised suspension, steering, and brakes. Lightweight components and different tuning have been employed for improved on-pavement ride.

The truck-like running boards, stationary and not power-operated like those on the Navigator, are a giveaway that the Aviator is a truck and not a car-based sport utility. In fact, the running boards are a necessity for short-legged passengers climbing aboard the tall utility.

Exterior colors include Gold Ash Metallic, Ceramic White Tricoat, Vivid Red Metallic, Medium Wedgewood Blue Metallic, Aspen Green Metallic, Mineral Grey Metallic and Ebony.

Interior Features

The Lincoln Aviator's interior is stunning. Nearly identical to the Navigator's interior (also redesigned for 2003), it is every bit as elegant as a luxury sedan.

Our Aviator was outfitted in two-tone leather, a cream (light parchment) complemented with charcoal gray (espresso), with American walnut burl wood trim. The interior also comes in a two-tone medium and dark ash.

The most distinctive touch on the interior is the pewter-colored satin nickel finish used on the center dashboard and shifter surround. Another distinguishing element is a door, in the same satin nickel finish, that pulls down to hide the audio system. You won't forget what you are driving when you close the door as its cover spells out L-I-N-C-O-L-N. Also on the center dash, the clock, with delicate gold hands and numbers, resembles an expensive watch. The clock is becoming a signature feature in Lincolns.

Aviator's interior designers said the 1961 Continental inspired the symmetrical instrument panel. Switches and controls, either rectangular toggles or rotary dials, are backlit with white LED lighting. The wood and leather trimmed steering wheel includes controls for the audio and climate controls. Every surface throughout the Aviator is not only attractive to the eye but also inviting to the touch.

Aviator comes standard with three rows of seats. The front bucket seats are comfortable and supportive.

In the second row, Aviator buyers have a choice, for which there is no difference in price. They can select a three-way split bench seat that seats three or bucket seats that seat two. The bucket seats feature a hefty center console nearly identical to the one that sits between the front bucket seats. Either way, the second-row seats fold and tumble forward for access to the third row.

The third-row bench sits low and is most suitable for children. The third seat folds flat into the floor manually, not by power as is available in the Navigator. Nor does the Aviator offer a power liftgate, as the Navigator does. Instead, it is a two-piece design like on the Explorer and Mountaineer with a flip-up window positioned at the height of a shopping cart for loading of groceries without lifting the entire hatch.

Driving Impressions

The Lincoln Aviator offers a smooth, sophisticated ride. It isn't bouncy like other truck-based sport utilities. It rides more smoothly than the Mercury Mountaineer.

Lincoln has made vast improvements in steering systems and the Aviator is a good example of that. Its rack-and-pinion steering system delivers a solid on-center feel. In contrast to previous Ford sport utilities, most notably the Navigator, steering the Aviator was a relaxed experience, requiring few corrections to keep it on course. The speed-sensitive steering assist makes low-speed parking lot maneuvers and tooling around the neighborhood effortless. Yet it feels stable at highway speeds. Steering transitions can be accomplished so seamlessly your passengers will hardly feel them.

Aviator is equipped with four-wheel disc brakes, which are larger than those used on its cousins. It comes equipped with an anti-lock brake system (ABS) and electronic brake force distribution. Slam on the brakes and the Aviator comes to a predictable and uneventful stop. ABS lets the driver maintain steering control in a panic stop, while EBD reduces stopping distances.

Aviator's tried-and-true V8 engine delivers plenty of power and makes it possible, with the optional package, to tow up to 7,300 pounds. The only criticism, which is often the case with Ford engines, is that it roars at start up and under hard acceleration, like a jet engine on take-off. Beyond those conditions, the Aviator delivered a relatively quiet ride.

Aviator's transmission was problematic in early production versions. While the problems supposedly are fixed, the shifts on our test model were abrupt and harsh, exacerbated by frigid weather we experienced during our weeklong test.

Lincoln expects the majority of Aviators to be ordered with all-wheel drive. As mentioned, two all-wheel drive systems are available. Both are designed more for inclement weather than off-road driving and neither requires action by the driver to engage. One is a permanently engaged all-wheel drive system that uses a viscous coupling to transfer torque between the front and rear wheels. In normal driving, 35 percent of the power is directed to the front and 65 percent to the rear. It shifts as conditions warrant. The optional AdvanceTrac system has the Aviator operate in rear-wheel drive most of the time. If it detects lack of traction, it shifts up to 100 percent of the power to the front wheels; it also can shift the power from one side of the vehicle to the other. Theoretically, the Aviator needs only one wheel with traction to keep rolling with AdvanceTrac.

Summary

Lincoln Aviator offers the smoothness and sophistication of the new Lincoln Navigator in a smaller, more maneuverable package. It costs about 10 grand less than the Navigator, yet gives up nothing in interior elegance and luxury.

All new for 2003, the Aviator seats six or seven people. It's smoother and more comfortable than the Ford Explorer and most other mid-size SUVs. Its V8 delivers good power. The available AdvanceTrac all-wheel-drive system gives offers excellent traction and control in icy conditions.


Model Line Overview

Model lineup: Luxury ($39,255); Premium ($42,205)
Engines: 4.6-liter dohc V8
Transmissions: 5-speed automatic
Safety equipment (standard): dual-stage front airbags, front safety belts with pretensioners and load-limiting retractors, Safety Canopy air curtain for first- and second-row occupants, 3-point lap and shoulder belts for all seating positions, childproof rear-door locks, LATCH universal child safety seat latches, SecuriLock passive anti-theft system, remote keyless entry, approach lamps, 4-wheel anti-lock brakes, electronic brakeforce distribution, brake assist, adjustable pedals
Safety equipment (optional): AdvanceTrac electronic stability enhancement system, tire pressure monitoring system, reverse sensing parking for rear obstacle detection, a choice of two all-wheel-drive systems
Basic warranty: 3 years/36,000 miles
Assembled in: St. Louis, Missouri

Specifications As Tested

Model tested (MSRP): Lincoln Aviator Premium AWD ($45,125)
Standard equipment: leather upholstery, six-way power front seats with two memory settings, AM/FM/in-dash CD audio system with steering wheel-mounted controls, dual-zone electronic climate controls and auxiliary climate controls for rear-seat passengers; heated power-adjustable side mirrors with built in puddle lamps and turn-signal indicators, power adjustable brake and accelerator pedals, reverse obstacle detection system; Premium AWD adds all-wheel drive, heated and cooled front seats, high-intensity discharge headlamps, 6-disc in-dash CD, unique 17-inch machined aluminum wheels
Options as tested (MSRP): power moonroof ($1,515); Class III towing package ($295); rear-seat DVD entertainment system ($1,295)
Destination charge: ($740)
Gas guzzler tax: N/A
Price as tested (MSRP): $48,970
Layout: all-wheel drive
Engine: 4.6-liter dohc 32-valve V8
Horsepower (hp @ rpm): 302 @ 5750
Torque (lb.-ft. @ rpm): 300 @ 3250
Transmission: 13/18
EPA fuel economy, city/hwy: 5-speed automatic mpg
Wheelbase: 113.7 in.
Length/width/height: 193.3/76/73.9 in.
Track, f/r: 60.9/61.2 in.
Turning circle: 40.5 ft.
Seating capacity: 7
Head/hip/leg room, f: 39.9/53.3/42.4 in.
Head/hip/leg room, m: 38.4/53.7/36.8 in.
Head/hip/leg room, r: 38.9/45.4/34.8 in.
Trunk volume: 77.1 cu. ft.
Payload: 1247 Lbs.
Towing capacity: 7,300 Lbs.
Suspension, f: independent, short- and long-arm with monotube shock absorbers, coil springs and stabilizer bar
Suspension, r: independent, short- and long-arm with toe link, monotube shock absorbers, coil springs and stabilizer bar
Ground clearance: 8.9 in.
Curb weight: 5002 lbs.
Tires: P245/65HR17 Michelin Pilot LTX
Brakes, f/r: disc/disc with 4-sensor ABS, Electronic Brakeforce Distribution and panic assist
Fuel capacity: 22.5 gal.

Unless otherwise indicated, specifications refer to test vehicle.
All prices are manufacturer's suggested retail prices (MSRP) effective as of August 01, 2002.
Prices do not include manufacturer's destination and delivery charges.

N/A: Information not available or not applicable.
Manufacturer Info Sources: 1-800-521-4140 - www.lincolnvehicles.com

Copyright © 1994-2003 New Car Test Drive, Inc.

Printable Version

2003 Lincoln Aviator Sport Utility

Safety Features & Equipment

Braking & Traction

4-Wheel ABS Std

Passenger Restraint

Driver Air Bag Std
Passenger Air Bag Std
Side Head Air Bag Std
Rear Head side Air Bag Std
Child Safety Locks Std

Road Visibility

Fog Lamps Std
Intermittent Wipers Std
Variable Inter. Wipers Std

Accident Prevention

Rear Parking Aid Std

Security

Anti-theft System Std
Printable Version

2003 Lincoln Aviator Sport Utility

Original Warranty  help
Original Warranty
An original warranty is the warranty associated with a vehicle when it is brand new. In addition to the original warranty, select items, like tires, are typically covered by respective manufacturers. Also, an act of Federal law sometimes provides protection for certain components, like emissions equipment.
The original warranty is often broken down into multiple sections, including:
Basic Warranty:
Typically covers everything except for parts that wear out through normal use of the vehicle. Examples of non-covered items are brake pads, wiper blades and filters.
Drivetrain Warranty:
This warranty covers items the basic warranty does not protect. Wear and tear items such as hoses will not be covered, but key items like the engine, transmission, drive axles and driveshaft often will be.
Roadside Assistance:
The level of service differs greatly with this warranty, but many manufacturers offer a toll-free number that helps provide assistance in case you run out of gas, get a flat tire or lock your keys in the car.
Corrosion Warranty:
This warranty focuses on protecting you from holes caused by rust or corrosion in your vehicle's sheet metal.
Please check the owner's manual, visit a local dealership or look at the manufacturer's website to learn more about the specifics of the warranties that apply to a vehicle.

Basic 4 Years/50,000 Miles
Drivetrain 4 Years/50,000 Miles
Corrosion 5 Years/Unlimited Miles
Roadside Assistance 4 Years/50,000 Miles

Lincoln Certified Pre-Owned Warranty  help
Certified Pre-Owned Warranty
To be eligible for Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) status, vehicles generally must be recent models with relatively low mileage. CPO vehicles must also pass a detailed inspection, outlined by the manufacturer, which is measured by the number of inspected points.
Warranty coverage can vary from one manufacturer to the next. While most certified pre-owned programs transfer and extend the existing new car warranty terms, others offer a warranty that simply represents an additional year and mileage value. Always check with the manufacturer for the specific warranties they offer.
Common features and benefits of Certified Pre-Owned warranties include:
Age/Mileage Eligibility
To even be considered for certification, a car must be a recent model year and have limited mileage. The exact requirements are established by individual manufacturers.
Lease Term Certified
Some manufacturers offer certified pre-owned cars for lease. The length of the lease is often shorter than a new car lease, but it will cost you less.
Point Inspection
These inspections entail a comprehensive vehicle test to ensure that all parts are in excellent working order. The point inspection list is simply a numbered list of exactly what parts of the car are examined. While many inspections range from a 70- to 150-point checklist, most are very similar and are performed using strict guidelines. Ask your local dealer about specific details.
Return/Exchange Program
Some manufacturers offer a very limited return or exchange period. Find out if you will get the sales tax and licensing/registration fees back should you return or exchange the car.
Roadside Assistance
Most certified pre-owned programs offer free roadside service in case your car breaks down while still under warranty.
Special Financing
Reduced-rate loans are available through many certified pre-owned programs. Manufacturer-backed inspections and warranties help eliminate the risks involved with buying pre-owned, so buyers who qualify can take advantage of the great offers.
Transferable Warranty
When a new car warranty transfers with the certification of the car and remains eligible for the next owner, it is known as a transferable warranty. Once the original transferable warranty expires, an extended warranty takes effect.
Warranty Deductible
This is the amount for which you are responsible when repair work is performed under the warranty. Some manufacturers require a deductible while others don't, so always ask.

6 years or 100,000 miles comprehensive limited warranty coverage from the original in-service date

Rental Reimbursement $45/day
Age/Mileage Eligibility 6 model years or newer / less than 60,000 miles
Lease Term Certified Yes
Point Inspection 200
Return/Exchange Program No
Roadside Assistance Yes
Special Financing Yes
Transferrable Warranty Yes
Warranty Deductible $100

Learn more about certified pre-owned vehicles

Printable Version

2003 Lincoln Aviator Sport Utility

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