I drove a $70,000 Lincoln Aviator Grand Touring to see if this suave SUV could serve up some plug-in hybrid power - here's the verdict
Matthew DeBord/Business Insider
- The 2020 Lincoln Aviator Grand Touring is a midsize, plug-in hybrid SUV.
- The Aviator can offer about 20 miles of all-electric range, but what the hybrid system really does is punch up the performance of the turbocharged V6, bringing its output to nearly 500 horsepower with gobs of torque on offer.
- The styling uses Lincoln's "Quiet Flight" attitude, evoking sleek aviation motifs.
- I genuinely enjoyed the Lincoln Aviator - it's a great, three-row option in the crowded SUV segment.
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TOP VIDEOS FOR YOUI recently tested the 2020 Lincoln Aviator in Los Angeles. My SUV was an Aviator GT, the plug-in hybrid version of the midsize hauler.
AdvertisementThe experience was richly enjoyable. And I was made especially happy when I stomped the throttle, not something you can say about all that many SUVs.Read on to find out why ...
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I picked up my Lincoln Aviator tester near Los Angeles International airport. It was an all-new, 2020 Aviator GT hybrid. The SUV starts a little north of $50,000, but my well-equipped version, although officially not for sale, probably tipped the cost scales at more than $70,000.
Because I was in LA for the annual auto show, a rite of autumn, I had the chance to test the cargo capacity of this three-row hauler right away. With the third row deployed, there was a goodly amount of space for my luggage.
During several days of testing, I squired the Aviator around LA. In Venice, we stopped at Frank Gehry's famous "Binoculars Building," with the iconic Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen sculpture outside.
The Aviator is an extremely nice-looking midsize SUV, embodying what Lincoln calls its "quiet flight" brand philosophy, which combines seafaring and airborne motifs.
The Aviator's "Magnetic Gray Metallic" paint job added a stately aspect to the sort of vaguely steampunk aesthetic.
The Aviator nameplate, rendered in a distinctive blue color and a sans serif typeface, add to the Jazz Age vibe.
This isn't a small SUV, to be sure, but with dashing character lines and a sloping roof, it comes off as almost sleek.
Meanwhile, the front fascia means business.
The grille is "Dark Smoke Chrome," and it's lovely. The Lincoln badge is proud and prominent. Under the hood is a 3.0-liter V6, mated to a smooth 10-speed automatic transmission.
The LED headlights are encased in angled pods.
Even from the rear, the Aviator presents a sharp appearance — and that's the toughest trick for an SUV to pull off.
Lincoln is in the midst of a robust revival. The Aviator is among the latest in a new lineup of SUVs.
My tester came with premium 21-inch machined aluminum wheels. They're gorgeous, but ... I'd go aftermarket and get 22s.
We live in the golden age of mega-sunroofs — or in this case, "panoramic vista roofs."
Lincoln's seats are something else. Covered in "Sandstone" for my Aviator, they're 12-way-adjustable up front, and heated and cooled.
Second-row legroom is quite good for a midsize SUV.
The Aviator's rear seats also have their own climate and infotainment controls.
The third row, while snug, is actually rather luxurious.
My tester's multifunction steering wheel was leather-wrapped and two-tone.
THIS IS A GOOD IDEA! Put the voice-interface button right on the wheel.
The climate controls are straightforward, and the piano-key shifter sits right above.
The wood-grain trim is beautiful, and the drive-selector is easy to find.
The infotainment system runs on a reasonably large central touchscreen and uses Lincoln/Ford's SYNC 3 setup. It does everything well, from Bluetooth device pairing to GPS navigation.
The wood trim is subtle, in keeping with Lincoln's whisper-rather-than-shout values.
Drive modes are artfully indicated with animations, sort of like performance GIFs.
They really are attractive, soothing, and they fit nicely into the zen-like cluster design that Lincoln has created.
The drive modes are "Normal," "Conserve," "Excite," "Slippery" and "Deep Conditions." In LA, I used four of the five. I guess if I'd driven on the beach I could have used "Deep Conditions."
Yes, I even used "Slippery," as my visit coincided with a typical one-day LA downpour.
What's this? A Lincoln Aviator you can plug in?
Yep, the Aviator GT is a plug-in hybrid, with a 75-kilowatt-hour battery that adds about 20 miles of all-electric range.
Luckily, the parking structure I like to use in downtown LA has ChargePoint locations, and I have an account.
I re-juiced the Aviator twice, and each time it took about six hours to go from zero to full.
So what's the verdict on the 2020 Lincoln Aviator?
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