Behold the Aviator, the newest luxury SUV from Lincoln. We got a teaser of this machine a few weeks back, but don’t go flying out the door to place an order for one just yet. Lincoln is keeping us in a holding pattern because this model is just a “preview” of the actual vehicle slated to come next year. Does that make it a concept or a prototype? We aren’t sure, but we do know one thing. It’s freaking gorgeous.
“The Lincoln Navigator continues to turn heads and bring new clients to the brand,” says Joy Falotico, Lincoln Motor Company president. “We believe Aviator’s elegant design, state-of-the-art technology and refined plug-in hybrid option will draw even more clients to the Lincoln showroom, including families who are looking for three-row capability.”
As such, Lincoln doesn’t offer up much in the way of specific details on the forthcoming Aviator. You did, however, probably notice the plug-in hybrid part. The Aviator will become the automaker’s first such vehicle, but whereas plug-in hybrids are typically paired with a modest gasoline engine, Lincoln says the Aviator can also wield a biturbo V6 with its electric motor to make it “mightier than many supercars on the road today.” That’s a pretty bold claim from a company not the least bit known for performance, but it’s one we’re extremely anxious to follow. Considering the Aviator is built on a rear-wheel drive platform, there could well be potential for greatness
Lincoln eyes the Aviator as slotting into the mid-size three-row SUV segment, offering a plethora of luxury features that includes functionality for owners to use a smart phone as the vehicle key. It also is fully equipped with Ford’s new Co-Pilot360 driver assist and safety systems, and it features something called Suspension Preview Technology. Basically, a forward-looking camera scans ahead and adjusts suspension settings depending on road conditions.
Being that this is a preview model, it’s hard to say just how many of these features or capabilities will ultimately make it to production. Lincoln says the Aviator doesn’t just preview a specific model, however, but the direction in which the entire company is headed. Based on what we see so far, that could be a darned good-looking future.
Live Photos: Reimy Gonzalez / Motor1.com
Gallery: 2020 Lincoln Aviator
Elegant Aviator SUV Previews Lincoln’s Next Act with Power, Technology and Plug-In Hybrid Option
- Aviator preview embodies Lincoln’s future as the brand moves toward a portfolio of more utilities highlighting beauty and elegance and offering Lincoln’s quietest, smoothest drive yet
- Three-row, rear-wheel-drive Aviator marks the first time Lincoln will offer a plug-in hybrid model that is capable of using its twin-turbocharged engine if needed – easing range anxiety
- Owners will be able to use their smartphone as a key when Lincoln debuts the Phone as a Key technology on the production model of Aviator, allowing clients to lock and unlock the vehicle, open its trunk and, most importantly, start and drive it – no smart key fob necessary
NEW YORK, March 28, 2018 – Aviator glides into New York this week, offering a preview of The Lincoln Motor Company’s newest vehicle along with a glimpse into the brand’s future, which is moving toward a broader portfolio of utilities and electrification in conjunction with effortless services.
As more consumers choose the spaciousness and capability of SUVs, Lincoln unveils Aviator, a distinctive three-row plug-in hybrid production preview. The “teaser” model serves to preview the direction Lincoln plans to take with its newest SUV when the production model goes on sale next year.
“The Lincoln Navigator continues to turn heads and bring new clients to the brand,” says Joy Falotico, president, The Lincoln Motor Company. “We believe Aviator’s elegant design, state-of-the-art technology and refined plug-in hybrid option will draw even more clients to the Lincoln showroom, including families who are looking for three-row capability.”
With its slim, tapered lines, roomy interior, twin-turbocharged powertrain available with an advanced plug-in hybrid option, the three-row Aviator targets the heart of the premium market, entering the medium luxury SUV segment that represents more than a quarter of all premium SUVs sold. Appealing to millennials starting families, with the majority of vehicles sold to people ages 35 to 44, the medium luxury SUV segment saw sales of more than 585,000 vehicles in 2017.
The synchronicity of Aviator’s name and form language is intentional; aeronautics has long inspired automotive design.
“In Aviator, the lines of the vehicle are streamlined,” says Lincoln Design Director David Woodhouse. “You have the stature and presence of the grille at the front, then the body and tail taper off – creating a distinct aerofoil analogy.”
The emphasis of graceful lines pulling downward toward the rear – a cue to Aviator’s rear-wheel-drive platform – is what Woodhouse describes as an in-flight gesture. “If you look at a bird or plane in flight, the wing is always at an angle to the air and falling downward toward the rear,” he says. “You see that in the main bodyline of Aviator. From the headlight to the taillight, there’s a beautiful undercut feature varying in depth that connotes poise and grace.”
The iridescent Flight Blue exterior color complements Aviator’s elegant, flowing lines, while the signature Lincoln grille is executed in high-gloss black and chrome accents. A wraparound windshield helps complete the aviation-inspired theme.
Comfort and convenience
The effortless experience begins even before entering the Aviator, as owners can use their smartphone as a key. When it debuts on the production SUV, Phone as a Key technology is expected to be one of the industry’s leading systems. Activated through the Lincoln Way™ app, it allows owners to lock and unlock, open the trunk and, most importantly, start and drive the vehicle – no smart key fob is necessary.
Phone as a Key is designed to offer other amenities similar to a smart key fob. For instance, drivers can activate a locator chirp to find Aviator in a crowded parking lot, or recall their personal profile. Should the phone battery go dead, a backup passcode can be entered on the standard exterior keypad to gain access, then clients can start and proceed to drive the vehicle via the center touch screen. And, if the phone is lost or stolen, Phone as a Key can be easily deleted, providing additional peace of mind.
Inside, Aviator’s spacious, airy cabin accentuates horizontal lines, minimizing visual clutter to deliver a soothing sanctuary. A thoughtfully designed steering wheel is intended for ultimate ease of use, with only subtle finger movements needed to access the many functions it houses.
As comfort is paramount with Aviator, the amenities continue with Perfect Position seats offering 30-way adjustability and massage capability, while flexible second-row seats can recline and slide forward for easy access to the spacious third row.
Wireless phone charging is located in the front armrest, while a convenient media bin is available for passengers in front as well. Multiple power outlets are located throughout the cabin, while standard Wi-Fi ensures everyone stays connected.
An all-new Lincoln Black Label-inspired theme harmoniously combines Shearling Beige and Lunar Gray to further elevate the ambience. Machine-turn aluminum appliqués, brushed in small circles to replicate the shape of early aviation instruments, enhance the theme. The supple leather of the seats is minimally processed to retain its natural texture.
Power, capability and choice
Built on a rear-wheel-drive platform, Aviator allows for the power and capability luxury clients require in a three-row SUV. The platform also serves to enhance Aviator’s elegant proportions, with a long wheelbase allowing for a spacious second and third row.
The Lincoln powertrain is designed for clients interested in options. A twin-turbocharged engine can be paired with the brand’s first advanced plug-in hybrid technology, marking the first time the company will offer a plug-in hybrid powertrain mated to a twin-turbocharged engine. This combination of power and electrified capability will help Aviator deliver Lincoln’s quietest, smoothest, most powerful drive yet.
Offering the capability of its twin-turbocharged engine in combination with a hybrid electric powertrain makes Aviator mightier than many supercars on the road today. The plug-in hybrid experience provides for a responsive, refined ride, with no powertrain-induced noise and vibration when operating on battery charge, yet is capable of using its twin-turbocharged engine if needed, easing range anxiety.
Lincoln Drive Modes allow clients to further customize the drive experience, while a 12-inch standard cluster display confirms the choice with beautiful and dynamic, easy-to-read graphics.
Client-focused technologies, services
Aviator delivers a wealth of advanced technologies designed to assist the driver every step of the way.
With Aviator’s advanced forward camera scanning the road ahead, Lincoln’s first-ever Suspension Preview Technology seamlessly adjusts the suspension for upcoming road conditions. This can help reduce driver stress caused by potholes and bumps in the road.
Aviator will be equipped with Lincoln Co-Pilot360™, an advanced suite of standard driver-assist technologies including automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, blind spot information system with cross-traffic alert, lane keeping system, reverse camera and auto high-beam lighting.
Aviator offers Reverse Brake Assist, an enhanced driver-assist technology that integrates rear sensors and a camera to provide automatic braking if an obstacle is detected behind the vehicle.
Aviator also debuts a selection of considerate prompts delivered through the newest version of SYNC®. With the introduction of these prompts, or cues, Lincoln advances the brand’s holistic approach to vehicle ownership by bringing those services into the car.
The prompts are designed to deliver helpful information to drivers visually on the cluster display, recommending appropriate actions to help them overcome whatever situation they’re facing. Should they run low on fuel, for example, Aviator will notify them and seamlessly connect them with navigation to offer them the closest gas station options.
“Lincoln is committed to delivering the innovation and features that luxury consumers expect today,” says Falotico. “And, the Aviator is yet another example of how we are creating an effortless experience for our clients.”