2020 Lincoln Aviator Reserve AWD, as the range-topping version of the Aviator family, not only fills a major gap in Lincoln’s model range but also strengthens Lincoln’s competitive position in the midsize luxury SUV segment.
Lincoln is one of America’s luxury brands for over a century. Ford Motor Company owns the Lincoln brand for almost since its foundation. Henry M Leland founded Lincoln Motor Company in 1917, naming it after Abraham Lincoln, one of the most influential presidents in US history.
In February 1922, Ford acquired Lincoln and remains as its parent company to this day. Following World War II, Ford formed the Lincoln-Mercury Division, pairing Lincoln with its mid-range Mercury brand. This segmentation lasted through the 2010 closure of Mercury in the aftermath of the global financial crisis. At the end of 2012, Lincoln reverted to its original name, Lincoln Motor Company.
The lifespan of the first generation Aviator was relatively short. It was produced from the 2003 to 2005 model years as a variation of Mercury Mountaineer with both models based on the Ford Explorer. (After the 2008 global financial crisis Ford killed the Mercury brand). While returning with the 2020 model year, the Aviator also replaced the MKX, the three-row crossover which did not fulfill the sales expectations during its life cycle. It looks like that after a long time of turbulence and a certain degree of negligence, the blue oval brand has a clear strategy and cares about its now only luxury brand. In my opinion, the change started early last decade when Ford completed its own transformation under Ford Mullaly, the legendary CEO.
Focusing more and more on SUV’s, Lincoln added the current Aviator for the 2020 model year to its lineup and filling the gap between the compact Corsair and the larger, full-size Navigator.
With the current generation, Lincoln’s design and engineering teams did a fantastic job of creating a unique vehicle with distinctive design and luxury features. The fact that the Aviator shares the same basic architecture with the Ford Explorer can be forgotten entirely. The aviation theme is well crafted and artfully integrated into the visual identity of the vehicle. The 22″, machined alloy wheels are shaped as rotating blades of a jet engine. The smoothly sloping roofline repeats the aerodynamic shape of an airplane wing.
Engine and powertrain
The Twin-Turbocharged 3.0L V6 engine mated to a 10-speed transmission delivers 400 horsepower and 420 lb-ft of torque. Like many other manufacturers, Ford (and Lincoln) continue to downsize their engines while adding efficiency without a lack of power. The magic word here is turbocharging, Ford has been applying over the last decade and calls “Ecoboost”.
The interior is now unique to Lincoln and copied parts from Ford are impossible to find. The craftsmanship and material quality are better, even if it still doesn’t excel as the customers expect in this price category.
The electric doors are still a feature I dislike. Even if the driver door has a mechanical handle, this could be problematic if a power cut occurs. It doesn’t look very practical either. On the other hand, power buttons to adjust the front seats (which are heated and cooled, as well as with massaging function) are placed at the door and very convenient. The leather seats are very comfortable too. The legroom for the second row is good, the third row is okay but not as comfortable as the second row. Regarding the comfort for the rearmost seating row, minivans are still the king.
The biggest difference with the 2020 Lincoln Aviator Reserve AWD is the air suspension that gives a very smooth ride also on somewhat rough terrain. The 10-speed transmission easily transfers the torque to the wheels and I never had a feeling of underpowered.
On our trip to Bobcaygeon in the Kawartha Lakes, we took also country roads to test the ability of cornering. Of course, this big SUV is not meant to “bite and eat” the curves like a sports car or a roadster, but the steering input is relatively direct and makes you feel to drive a smaller car. For more driving pleasure, switch to sports mode.
Lincoln’s midsize SUV looks nice at the night shot in Mississauga’s Square One complemented by the “Marylin Monroe” twin towers
Driving with the 2020 Lincoln Aviator to Bobcaygeon, Trent-Severn Waterway, and the Kawartha Lakes
Bobcaygeon is a beautiful small town 163 kilometers from Downtown Toronto. It is the hub of Kawartha Lakes and a major station of Trent-Severn Waterway, which is also Canada’s largest national historic site covering an area of about 18,000 square kilometers. A network of canals, rivers, lakes, and locks connects Bay of Quinte in Lake Ontario with the Port Severn in the Georgian Bay. Parks Canada operates the Trent-Severn Waterway.
Its scenic, meandering route is probably “one of the finest interconnected systems of navigation in the world”. Bobcaygeon is also an important station for “loopers”.
Loopers are, wealthy Canadian and American boat owners who sail a nearly 10,000 km-long route around the eastern half of North America. Sadly, due to the Covid-19 restrictions and the closed Canada-US border, these trips are not possible this year. However, more Canadians than ever are able to navigate through this beautiful waterway with its 44 locks without the need to cross the border.
During our day trip, we were glad to see people lining up to have a table at restaurants or taking a walk along the canal.
Even if you are not lucky enough to pass the canal with your boat, it is fascinating to take a trip to the beautiful Kawartha Lakes of Ontario. The American “loopers” are absent due to Covid-19 restrictions.
For more information about this region, please visit:
Parks Canada: https://www.pc.gc.ca/en/lhn-nhs/on/trentsevern
Bobcaygeon Tourism: http://www.visitbobcaygeon.com/
The base price for the 2020 Lincoln Aviator Reserve AWD is C$69,000.Our fully-loaded tester had two optional packages worth nearly C$25,000 thus bringing the final MSRP C$ 86,700. At this price point, things get a bit complicated. The expectations of luxury car owners, from Mercedes to Lexus, from Audi to Cadillac and BMW getting sky-high. Not only the product itself but the ownership experience count. We think that Lincoln has still some room to improve product quality (at once, our infotainment screen went dark and returned. The tablet-style screen in our tester had a slightly loose assembly. That is OK for an ordinary driver, who would probably not even notice it, but noticeable for a critical eye.). Please see also our “window sticker” below.
Throughout our test drives with the Aviator in the Greater Toronto Area and beyond up until Bobcaygeon, whether in the city or the highway and country roads, we enjoyed driving this luxurious and ultra-comfortable SUV. As an auto blogger and car buff, I am so glad to see the return of a great, century-old brand like Lincoln. And obviously Ford got its lessons from previous decades of mismanagement and will continue treating Lincoln as a brand with its distinctive identity. Lincoln now offers a unique ownership experience that is built also upon the strength and experience of a global brand like Ford.
Lincoln offers also a plug-in hybrid version of the Aviator which we hope to test in the next few weeks.
For the most up-to-date and more detailed information, please visit https://www.lincolncanada.com/
Article by Varol McKars
Photo credits: Burak McKars, Ramazan Guvenc