If we had told you before you saw the title of this review, that we are reviewing a 494-horsepower plug-in hybrid-electric luxury crossover that uses the same underpinning as the next generation Ford Mustang, would you have thought it would be this 2023 Lincoln Aviator Grand Touring SUV? Neither did we.
Much like its parent company Ford, Lincoln has trimmed out its sedan offerings and shifted its focus to developing SUVs and crossovers. The Aviator is the second largest vehicle in the product lineup and looks strikingly similar to the full-size body-on-frame Navigator SUV. Despite having been around since 2020, its sleek design has remained attractive and we appreciate the subtle elegance exuded by the Aviator.
By pairing an electric motor with the twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter V6 engine, the Aviator Grand Touring puts out 494-horsepower and a whopping 630 lb-ft. of torque. The addition of the 75-kilowatt electric motor gives the Aviator Grand Touring significant acceleration power the moment your foot touches the accelerator pedal, getting it going from a standstill without any hesitation whatsoever.
While the linear power profile is quite suiting to the luxury performance experience promised by the Lincoln Aviator, the standard ten-speed automatic transmission is not. The gearbox felt like it was always searching for the right gear but never satisfied with any, thus making for a less refined experience than one we have come to expect from the historic luxury automaker.
Riding on the CD6 platform that is going to be used by the next generation Ford Mustang pony car, the Aviator Grand Touring feels composed and balanced in the corners. There is good weight from the steering system, and the Aviator drives smaller than its size suggests. Seven drive modes – two more than the standard gas-powered model – allow drivers to tailor one’s own driving experience.
The Aviator Grand Touring’s official fuel consumption ratings are 10.9L/100km in the city and 9.6L/100km on the highway for a combined figure of 10.3L/100km. We noted a slightly higher 11.5L/100km result during our city-heavy commutes, but the good part is that the Aviator Grand Touring will accept 87-octane gasoline into its 68.1 litre tank – a rarity in the luxury automotive segment.
Moving on inside, where the Lincoln manages to shine with excellent passenger space and elegant layout. Despite the 13.6-kilowatt battery hidden beneath the floor, there is still plenty of room for all three rows of passengers and the panoramic moonroof does wonders to brighten up the cabin. To help enhance the experience, our tester included key optional features like the 30-way power adjustable front seats with massaging functions and a full console with rear seat command and control for second row passengers. Cargo space is quite generous at 519 litres with the third row erected, and this expands up to 1,183 litres when they are folded down.
Infotainment system is powered by Lincoln’s SYNC3 system through the 10.1-inch LCD touchscreen atop the centre console. The interface design is clean and system navigation is intuitive, with standard Android Auto and Apple CarPlay integration. The optional 28-speaker Revel Ultima 3D audio system fills the cabin with excellent sound quality and there is a wireless charging pad as well as four USB ports to keep devices playing throughout the journey.
Standard safety features include Pre-Collision Assist with Automatic Emergency Braking, Blind Spot Detection with Cross Traffic Alert, Lane-Keeping, and automatic high-beam headlamp systems. Our tester was loaded with the upgraded Lincoln Co-Pilot360 1.5 Plus package that adds adaptive cruise control with traffic jam assist, evasive steering assist, reverse brake assist, and active park assist plus systems that helps add the peace of mind especially if longer road trips are what you do.
The 2023 Lincoln Aviator starts at $73,400 for the standard gasoline-powered Reserve model, and the base price for the for the Grand Touring plug-in hybrid trim jumps to $85,400. Our tester came fully loaded with optional packages such as the 301A, Luxury, Dynamic Handling, and Illumination packages, bringing the as-tested total to a hefty $100,250.
We like the 2023 Lincoln Aviator Grand Touring; it is an attractive people mover that manages to haul six in comfort with impressive performance to boot. However, competition is fierce once you cross that $100,000 mark, especially if you can do with only five seats rather than six. The BMW X5 xDrive45e might not be as fast on a straight line but handles more dynamically in a very likeable package, and is our top-choice for anyone looking for a plug-in hybrid luxury crossover.