I recently had the chance to drive the all-new 2020 Lincoln Aviator Black Label, which is a luxury SUV from Lincoln. Several years ago, I would’ve done this only begrudgingly, as Lincoln was a mediocre brand primarily surviving off rebadged Ford models. But that’s no longer true — and the new Aviator is excellent.
I first discovered the new Aviator would almost certainly be excellent when I saw it last year at the Los Angeles Auto Show. It looked great — it had handsome exterior styling and truly fantastic interior styling, and good technology to match. It was clear that Lincoln was taking the lessons they’d learned from the highly praised Navigator and applying it to the smaller Aviator. I couldn’t wait for it to come out.
And now, here we are. The 2020 Lincoln Aviator is indeed out, and I spent the day with one — and I was just impressed with the Aviator after spending more time with it as I was during my quick experience at the LA Auto Show.
There are a few reasons why I liked it so much. One is obvious: it just looks great. On the outside, on the inside, the Aviator is a handsome luxury SUV, and I’m incredibly impressed with it. I drove a Black Label model, with a sticker price of more than $80,000, and the interior was just as nice as any European luxury SUV, and better in many cases. It’s amazing to see this level of quality and luxury coming from Lincoln.
I also like the driving experience — namely the fact that the Aviator is just so comfortable. While most other luxury brands have been pursuing sportiness, often to the detriment of comfort and relaxation, Lincoln has gone the other way, picking up buyers that want "luxury" and not "sport." The Aviator is a great example of that, with truly unbelievable 30-way power front seats, a cushy ride, and, again, fantastic materials everywhere you look.
Of course, that means the Aviator’s drawback is a lack of sportiness, and indeed that’s true. Although Lincoln has now moved the Aviator to a rear-wheel-drive platform, as opposed to a front-wheel-drive platform like the smaller MKC and Nautilus models, it’s still not exactly engaging to drive. It boasts 400 horsepower from its twin-turbo V6, and it’s fast enough, but steering is light and cushy. I’d argue that’s precisely what luxury-minded buyers want, though, meaning Lincoln has done that right. If you’re looking for performance, you can choose from many other competitors.
Another minor drawback of the Aviator is that its technology isn’t quite up to the par of German rivals. When it comes to tech, the Aviator is excellent — great, in fact. But many new German luxury SUVs are truly mind-blowing, with features I’m always shocked to see. The Aviator has a fairly mediocre gauge cluster, for instance, compared to Audi’s Virtual Cockpit. It doesn’t have a handwriting pad for navigation destinations like BMW or Porsche, meaning you have to type each letter individually. You can’t fold the second row from the cargo area, like you can in many other models. These drawbacks are small, but noticeable to luxury SUV buyers who are used to the cutting edge.
Still, the Aviator is loaded, and it has everything you need and a lot more. It also has some cool features of its own, like the fact that it lowers itself three inches when you approach it to make it easier to climb inside. Mostly, though, it has what it needs to revive the Lincoln brand: good technology, gorgeous styling, a fantastic interior, a supple driving experience and enough of all of those things to permanently change the public perception of Lincoln. Find a Lincoln Aviator for sale