The most luxurious and comfortable form of travel is via private jet.
The smoothness of air travel wrapped in luxurious comforts of ludicrous appointments. Take flight, set your course and let the pilot take over while you kick back in your journey. Unfortunately this form of travel can only be experienced by the elite, but Lincoln is looking to change that. They’ve introduced the 2020 Lincoln Aviator Reserve to bring the luxury of air travel to the masses. We wanted to see how successful Lincoln is in providing a luxury offering to go head to head with competitors.
The Aviator’s looks can be described as elegant and conservative. It is a boxy design with a long hood and sloping A-pillar to round out the edges. The roofline slopes down towards the rear creating a wing-like silhouette. A long and striking body line starts from the headlights and stretches all the way to the rear fenders creating a sense of fluid motion. The fascia dominated by a beautiful mesh grill patterned in the shapes of Lincoln’s badge. The hood has character lines running back which reminds you of air streaming. The rear end has a light bar which is a signature of Lincoln. The 22-inch wheel design is obviously aviation-inspired resembling jet propellers.
The interior is where the Aviator rises to the occasion. The leather used on the dash, door panels, and seats is top notch. Lincoln’s recent interior design language has been on point, mixing contemporary simplicity with functional elegance. The dash has simple lines but uses a combination of materials to keep it interesting. The stitched leather, chrome accents and piano black inserts spell luxury.
A large 10.1-inch screen dominates the interior with a nicely skinned version of the wonderful SYNC 3 infotainment system. Icons are large and eligible with intuitive menu layout for a short learning curve to use the system. If you choose to bypass the learning curve, you can always connect with Apple CarPlay or Android Auto, both standard equipment.
Seating comfort is excellent for both the front and second row. It’s a bit of a squeeze in the third row as you would expect, but definitely usable for smaller passengers. When not needed, there is a power fold option to quickly stow this row away and reveal 1,183-liters of space. With the third row up, capacity is still at a very usable 519-liters. The front Perfect Position seats are some of the best in the segment, with plenty of adjustability. Once you have it dialed in, it’s like being cocooned by clouds when you drive. Oh, and the cloud will massage your back and buttocks, too. While you are massaged, the 28-speaker Revel Ultima 3D sound system can send you off into your oasis.
To truck you along and give you the smoothest drive possible, Lincoln has deployed a twin-turbocharged 3.0L-liter V6 engine pumping out 400 horsepower at 5,500RPM and 415 lb-ft. of torque at 3,000RPM. Power delivery is buttery smooth with power being delivered through a seamless 10-speed SelectShift automatic transmission. Off the line acceleration is quite good considering, but the way the Aviator accelerates to pass at highway speeds is impressive. The surge is continuous and does not seem to run out of breath even with 10 gears to go through.
The 10-speed automatic contributes to keep the Aviator as efficient as possible. Lincoln rates it at 13.3L/100km city, 9.7L/100km highway and a combined 11.9L/100km. During our week of testing we observed a 12.8L/100km average. Considering the size and power of the Aviator, the numbers are well within what expectations were. Premium fuel is required for optimal performance and efficiency.
Handling is not an area in which we can expect a luxury crossover to excel in. However, the steering is light making tight maneuvers in parking lot for day to day errands effortless. The 360-degree camera system makes maneuvering the big cabin on wheels stress-free. If parking gets tight, the Aviator can take over with Active Park Assist Plus. The Aviator strives to remove all stress in your drive. On long journeys, the Aviator’s handling flaws are all forgotten as it’s well-sorted on the optional Air Glide suspension. The ride is extremely supple, and the air suspension will soften the ride as it senses upcoming road imperfections.
To take the cruising experience up another tier, Lincoln Co-Pilot 360 plus will add to the seamless driving experience. This includes active cruise control with stop and go, along with active lane keep assist. The systems are calibrated extremely well keeping you in lane without bouncing left and right in between lanes. Intelligent all-wheel-drive adds yet another layer of confidence to ensure the Aviator can handle all sorts of road conditions and keep you. The system can be adjusted with drive mode control depending on conditions with options such as deep surfaces for maximum traction when needed.
The comfort and tech-laden Aviator enters the luxury midsize area at a base price of $75,500. Our tester was equipped with $9,585 worth of options for an as tested price of $85,085. The Audi Q7 is one of the key competitors in the luxury midsize market. It is a well-established option with a large following that has a more competitive starting price than the Aviator at $71,300. At a similar price to the Lincoln, you can also consider the Lexus GX which starts at $75,950 and tops out at $81,950. Surprisingly, the Aviator is one of the pricier options in the segment, but it does pack all creature comforts you can think of.
The 2020 Lincoln Aviator Reserve takes inspiration from, well, aviation. The level of luxury and comfort is second to none in this segment. This is an extremely well executed offering which should be competitive in the market. However, Lincoln does not have the same kind of following and popularity in the market that many rivals do, which may be a big road block for its success.