Lincoln gave us quite a surprise with its Aviator “preview,” which apparently now is a posh way to describe a concept or prototype vehicle. We didn’t know this thing even existed until a little over a week before the media days at the New York Auto Show, and even then the official press announcement broke at midnight. To say we were excited to see it in person is an understatement, and as you can see from the video above, that first impression didn’t disappoint.

Some might say Lincoln has struggled to find its way in the changing automotive landscape, but the Aviator suggests there could well be a bright future for the luxury brand. Getting up close to the SUV, we’re quite impressed with just how elegant and flowing it looks for what’s essentially a smaller take on the boxy (but also recently dressed-up) Lincoln Navigator. The body lines flow more like something we’d expect from the latest Range Rover, and it makes for a nice contrast to the edgy offerings coming from crosstown rival Cadillac.

And lest we forget, the Aviator is a three-row SUV that also looks great on the inside. From our vantage point the warm two-tone interior appears very inviting, and it’s loaded with tech, too. Lincoln says it can scan the road ahead via camera and make instant adjustments to the suspension to compensate for rough roads. That’s a rather exclusive feature typically relegated to very high-end offerings.

What’s also interesting is the Aviator’s rear-wheel drive platform, which gets a plug-in hybrid powertrain that could have serious speed potential. The company hasn’t offered up any details in that department, other than it will pair electricity with a biturbo V6 to generate performance that could rival supercars.

Whether all this makes its way to the actual production version slated for next year is unknown. But Lincoln most definitely has our attention now, as you can see in the First Look video above.

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