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2020 Lincoln Aviator Chicagoland Review by Larry Nutson +VIDEO

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2020 Lincoln Aviator
Quiet Flight

By Larry Nutson
Executive Editor and Bureau Chief
Chicago Bureau
The Auto Channel

My first stint behind the wheel of the new 2020 Lincoln Aviator 3-row midsize SUV was at the Midwest Automotive Media Association (MAMA) Fall Rally. My task at that time was to evaluate the Aviator in relation to other new or mostly-new luxury SUVs.

MAMA is a nonprofit group of automotive journalists and public relations professionals of which I am a member. The association developed its Luxury Family Vehicle of the Year award to assist car-shopping families in making a wise, knowledgeable purchase decision.

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Following a couple rounds of voting by nearly 100 MAMA media members, the Lincoln Aviator was named the winner of the 2020 MAMA Luxury Family Vehicle of the Year award, ahead of the BMW X7 and Cadillac XT6.

Now, after that first drive a few months ago, I recenly spent a week living with a new 2020 Lincoln Aviator. This time around I had many hours over many days to get to know the Aviator better.

The Lincoln Motor Company has been and continues to be recognized for its impressive vehicle lineup by both industry experts and customers alike. Recently it achieved the highest luxury brand rating in this year’s AutoPacific Vehicle Satisfaction Awards. The Aviator is a clear example of why Lincoln is getting attention. With its dramatic exterior design and a very comfortable and inviting interior there’s a lot to like about the Aviator.

Based on a new rear-wheel-drive architecture, with intelligent all-wheel drive available, there’s the choice of a either a traditional gasoline or a new hybrid powertrain. With second-row captains’ chairs there’s seating for six. A second-row bench provides for seven seats.

Rear cargo room is 18.3 cu.ft. behind the 3rd row, with a max. of 77.7 cu.ft. with all seats folded. The most useful number is the 41.8 cu.ft. with the 3rd row folded. I say most useful since many 3-row SUV drivers leave that rear seat down most of the time for cargo carrying.

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A standard 400-horsepower twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter V6 engine is paired with a new 10-speed SelectShift automatic transmission. With 415 ft.-lbs. of torque there is plenty of get up and go acceleration.

EPA test-cycle fuel economy ratings for RWD models are 21 combined mpg, with 18 city mpg and 26 highway mpg. AWD models are rated at 20 combined mpg, with 17 city mpg and 24 highway mpg.

A plug-in hybrid option uses the twin-turbocharged 3.0-V6 engine combined with a 75- kilowatt electric motor to deliver total system 494-horsepower and 630 combined ft.-lbs. of torque (best-in-class according to Lincoln). Estimated electric driving range is 21 miles while maximum driving range is 460 miles. A 10-speed automatic gets the power to the wheels.

Of note, we will be seeing more hybrid powertrains being the “performance option” on many new vehicles.

The 400-hp Standard and Reserve models are available with rear-wheel or all-wheel drive and the Black Label is only all-wheel drive. The plug-in-hybrid is offered in Grand Touring and Grand Touring Black Label models and only in all-wheel drive. For my brief drive last Fall I drove both powertrain versions. For this longer stint I drove a Reserve AWD model.

Styling being subjective and a matter of taste, I do like the sloping rear roof of the Aviator. It makes it less utilitarian looking and a bit more refined. With Lincoln’s signature grille up front the long tapering roof makes for a pleasant profile.

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Inside the cabin is where it really matters. At least to me, anyway. Light-touch soft- close doors open with a gentle squeeze of the handle. Optional 3-way power adjustable and massaging front seats ensure the perfect driving position and lots of comfort. I really liked the adjustable upper portion of the seat back to get good shoulder support. The 10-speed automatic is operated through a dash-mounted piano key shifter. A Revel 28-speaker audio system delivers concert hall sound.

Lincoln has equipped the Aviator with a complete array of standard advanced driver- assist safety (ADAS) features under its CoPilot360 suite. Additional ADAS features are optional.

For refined driving and comfort as well as confident ride and handling a Dynamic Handling Package includes Adaptive Suspension with Road Preview, Air Glide Suspension with Dynamic Lower Entry, and Adaptive Steering. A multitude of sensors look ahead at road surfaces and make suspension adjustments as needed. A lot more information and details on the 2020 Lincoln Aviator can be found at .

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Pricing for the Aviator starts at $51,100 for the Standard with the Reserve at $56,190, and Black Label at $77,695. The Grand Touring Hybrid is priced at $68,800 and $87,800 for the Grand Touring Black Label. Plus it’s $1,095 for shipping and delivery on all. And, AWD is $2,500 more on the Standard and Reserve.

Prices climb quickly on the Aviator but to many it’s worth it. For example, the Reserve AWD I drove had a base price pf $58,700. With a few option packages added plus shipping the bottom hit $76,310. However, the Aviator is quite refined and luxurious while at the same time delivering excellent overall dynamic performance.

I was quite impressed. If I were to be shopping for a 3-row luxury mid-size SUV it would clearly be on the top of my list. And yes, it got my vote for MAMA’s Luxury Family Vehicle of the Year.

© 2020 Larry Nutson, the Chicago Car Guy