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2020 Lincoln Aviator Review

The well-rounded 2020 Lincoln Aviator ranks in the top half of the luxury midsize SUV class. This all-new model boasts a handsome interior, user-friendly technology, and plenty of engine power, but it’s not as agile or luxurious as some rivals.

Pros & Cons

  • Incredibly user-friendly infotainment system
  • Stylish cabin with plenty of cargo space
  • Cushioned ride
  • Powerful engine
  • Some rivals are more opulent
  • Less agile than some competitors
  • Narrow front seats detract from comfort

8.0

Overall

Scorecard

Critics' Rating: 8.3
Performance: 7.6
Interior: 7.5
Safety: 9.6
Reliability:
J.D. Power Ratings Logo

Is the Lincoln Aviator a Good SUV?

Yes, the 2020 Aviator is a good choice among luxury midsize SUVs. It's available as a gas-only SUV or a plug-in hybrid, and both are quite powerful. The Aviator delivers a cushioned ride, and its cabin is stylish and well-built. There are plenty of standard and available tech features, and the Aviator's infotainment system is one of the best in the class.

However, there are some areas where this Lincoln trails the competition. Despite its attractive cabin, some class rivals are more upscale than the Aviator and have cushier seats. And while the Aviator is composed on the road, it isn't as nimble as some other luxury midsize SUVs.

Should I Buy the Lincoln Aviator?

If you want a powerful cruising vehicle with plenty of technology for a reasonable price, the Aviator is worth a look. That said, there are a lot of excellent SUVs in this class, so you may want to see how the Aviator stacks up against alternatives like the Audi Q7 and Volvo XC90. You may even want to see how it compares to one of its stablemates, like the Lincoln Navigator.

Compare the Aviator, Q7, and XC90 »

Should I Buy a New or Used Lincoln Aviator?

The Aviator is new to the Lincoln lineup for 2020, so used models will be scarce. Lincoln did previously make an SUV known as the Aviator in the early 2000s, but its run ended with the 2005 model year.

We Did the Research for You: 17 Reviews Analyzed

We don’t base our car reviews on our personal opinions. Instead, we combine the findings of professional test drivers with data such as reliability ratings and safety scores to give you a complete overview of every vehicle we rank.

Why You Can Trust Us

U.S. News & World Report has been ranking the best cars, trucks, and SUVs since 2007, and our staff has more than 75 years’ worth of auto industry experience combined. To keep our reviews unbiased, we don’t accept expensive gifts or trips from car companies, and an outside company manages our advertising.

How Much Does the Lincoln Aviator Cost?

At $51,100, the starting price of the base Aviator Standard is about average for the class. This SUV can get much pricier, though. If you're interested in a model with the plug-in-hybrid powertrain, you'll have to step up to the Aviator Grand Touring, which starts at $68,800.

The Aviator Black Label, which is the highest nonhybrid trim, starts at $77,695. That's more than most rivals' top trims cost, but it seems downright reasonable compared to the handful of SUVs in this class with top-trim prices well above $100,000. In fairness to the competition, some of those top trims with six-figure price tags are high-performance models with powertrains that go well beyond the performance this Lincoln offers.

The Aviator Black Label Grand Touring – which is the hybrid variant of the Black Label – has a starting price of $87,800. This is the most expensive Aviator model.

Check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for great savings at your local Lincoln dealer.

Lincoln Aviator Versus the Competition

Which Is Better: Lincoln Aviator or Audi Q7?

Compared to the Lincoln, the Audi Q7 is a better vehicle. It finishes near the top of our luxury midsize SUV rankings because, aside from cramped third-row seats, it has virtually no weaknesses. Some of the Audi’s strengths include its energetic engines, smooth ride, and agile handling. It also has one of the most elegant cabins in the class, with comfortable seats and plenty of tech features. The Aviator has more cargo space, but that's about the only advantage it has over the Q7.

Which Is Better: Lincoln Aviator or Volvo XC90?

The Volvo XC90 has arguably the nicest interior in the class. It features premium materials, the seats are sublime, and it's on the short list of rivals with more cargo space than the Aviator. The Volvo gets better fuel economy too. However, the Lincoln sits higher in our rankings thanks to its stronger powertrains and better predicted reliability rating.

Which Is Better: Lincoln Aviator or Lincoln Navigator?

The Lincoln Navigator is a luxury large SUV and is essentially a larger version of the Aviator. The main reason to choose the Navigator is if you want its extra passenger and cargo space or towing capacity. Its three rows of adult-friendly seating help distinguish it even among other three-row SUVs. The Navigator is more powerful too, but it gets worse gas mileage than its smaller sibling. It's also much more expensive, with a base price more than $20,000 higher than the Aviator's.

Compare the Aviator, Q7, and XC90 »

Aviator Interior

How Many People Does the Aviator Seat?

This Lincoln seats seven people in its base configuration, or six if you opt for the second-row captain's chairs. In the first two rows, the seats are supportive. They have plenty of head- and legroom, but they aren't that wide, which makes them less comfortable for some people. The third-row seats won't make you claustrophobic, but adults won't want to sit back there on long trips.

Aviator and Child Car Seats

For installing child safety seats, the Aviator has two complete sets of LATCH connectors for the middle row of seats and one complete set for the passenger-side third-row seat.

Aviator Interior Quality

Stylish and handsome are two words that come to mind when you climb into the Aviator. Though some European rivals from Mercedes, Audi, and Volvo might outdo this Lincoln in terms of luxuriousness, the Aviator still features plenty of top-notch materials, particularly in the Black Label trims.

Aviator Cargo Space

Not many class rivals can match the Aviator as a cargo hauler. This Lincoln gives you 18.3 cubic feet of cargo space behind the rear seats, 41.8 cubic feet with the third-row seats folded, and 77.7 cubic feet with the second and third rows folded.

Aviator Infotainment, Bluetooth, and Navigation

Standard features include tri-zone automatic climate control and the SYNC 3 infotainment system, which has a 10.1-inch touch screen, four USB ports, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, a Wi-Fi hot spot, a 10-speaker audio system, and satellite radio. A 5.8-inch second-row touch screen for audio and climate controls is also standard.

Available features include a panoramic sunroof, quad-zone automatic climate control, wireless device charging, Lincoln's Phone As A Key, a 14-speaker Revel audio system, a 28-speaker Revel Ultima 3D audio system, HD Radio, navigation, and two additional USB ports.

There are no complaints from reviewers about the SYNC 3 infotainment system. The large touch screen is easy to read because of its crisp graphics, and the interface is intuitive. In fact, SYNC 3 works well enough that you may not even feel the need to connect your smartphone via Apple CarPlay or Android Auto. With the Aviator's Phone As A Key system, you can download an app and use your smartphone to do things like start the vehicle, lock and unlock the doors, and open the tailgate.

Read more about interior »

Aviator Performance

Aviator Engine: 400 Horses Is, Um, a Lot

The base engine in the Aviator is a twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter V6 engine that puts out 400 horsepower. That's enough juice for any driving situation, and this Lincoln makes highway merging and passing look easy.

There's a plug-in-hybrid powertrain as well; Grand Touring models feature a twin-turbo V6 and an electric motor. The hybrid is even more powerful, putting out 494 horsepower and an incredible 630 pound-feet of torque.

Aviator Gas Mileage: Decidedly Average

When it comes to fuel economy, this Lincoln gets typical ratings for the class. With front-wheel drive, it returns 18 mpg in the city and 26 mpg on the highway. With all-wheel drive, ratings drop to 17/24 mpg city/highway.

The plug-in-hybrid Aviator has an all-electric range of 21 miles. It returns an estimated 56 MPG-equivalent and 23 mpg in combined city/highway driving.

For more information, read What is MPGe?

Aviator Ride and Handling: Stable and Smooth

One thing this Lincoln does well is provide a cushioned ride, even over rough roads. Opt for one of the available suspension upgrades, and the ride gets even plusher. But this is more than just a long-distance, comfortable cruiser. The Aviator also handles well for a vehicle of its size, so it doesn't feel overwhelmed on curvy roads.

Aviator Towing Capacity

When properly equipped, the Aviator can tow up to 6,700 pounds. That tow rating is in the middle of the pack for a luxury midsize SUV.

Read more about performance »

Aviator Reliability

Is the Lincoln Aviator Reliable?

The 2020 Lincoln Aviator has a slightly above-average predicted reliability rating of 3.5 out of five from J.D. Power.

Lincoln Aviator Warranty

Lincoln covers the Aviator with a four-year/50,000-mile limited warranty and a six-year/70,000-mile powertrain warranty.

Read more about reliability »

How Much Does It Cost to Insure a Lincoln Aviator?

The cost of insuring a Lincoln Aviator will depend on a variety of factors, including your deductible, the level of coverage that you want, and the type of insurance that you choose. Your age, gender, location, credit score, and driving record can also have an impact on your insurance rates. Check out our car insurance guide to find the best policy for you.

Aviator Safety

Aviator Crash Test Results

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the 2020 Aviator the highest rating of Good in four crash tests and the second-highest rating of Acceptable in the driver’s side small overlap front test. The IIHS gave the Standard, Reserve, and Grand Touring trims the second-lowest rating of Marginal for how well their headlights illuminate the road ahead. Models equipped with adaptive headlights earned the highest rating of Good.

The IIHS has a different scale for grading active safety features. The Aviator received the highest rating of Superior for its standard and optional vehicle-to-vehicle front crash prevention features. It received the second-highest rating of Advanced for its standard vehicle-to-pedestrian front crash prevention features, while models equipped with the Co-Pilot 360 Plus package earned a top rating of Superior.

At the time of writing, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has not tested the 2020 Aviator.

Aviator Safety Features

Standard driver assistance features include a rearview camera, MyKey, front and rear parking sensors, blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, forward collision warning, pedestrian detection, automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning, lane keep assist, and driver drowsiness monitoring. Some of these features are part of the Lincoln Co-Pilot360 suite of technology.

Available active safety features include a surround-view parking camera system, a head-up display, adaptive cruise control, lane centering, evasive steering assist, parallel and perpendicular park assist, traffic sign recognition, and adaptive bending headlights, which scan the road ahead and focus the light where needed. Some of these are part of Lincoln's Co-Pilot 360 Plus suite of driver assistance features.

Read more about safety »

Aviator Dimensions and Weight

The Aviator is 16.6 feet long. Its curb weight ranges from 4,764 to 5,678 pounds.

Where is the Lincoln Aviator Built?

Lincoln builds the 2020 Aviator in Illinois.

Which Lincoln Aviator Model Is Right for Me?

The all-new 2020 Aviator has five trim levels: Standard, Reserve, Grand Touring, Black Label, and Black Label Grand Touring.

The Black Label is the most luxurious trim, but it's also far and away the most expensive one. Most buyers will get more bang for their buck with the Reserve trim. It comes standard with many more features than the already well-equipped Standard trim, and the Reserve offers most of the technology you can get in the higher trims.

Buyers looking for an electrified powertrain are limited to the two Grand Touring trims. Of those two, we recommend opting for the regular Grand Touring instead of the Black Label for the same cost/benefit reasons discussed above.

Lincoln Aviator Standard

The Aviator Standard carries a base price of $51,100. It comes with a 400-horsepower twin-turbocharged V6, a 10-speed automatic transmission, and rear-wheel drive.

Standard features include tri-zone automatic climate control and the SYNC 3 infotainment system with a 10.1-inch touch screen, four USB ports, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, a Wi-Fi hot spot, a 10-speaker audio system, and satellite radio. This trim also comes with synthetic leather upholstery, 10-way power-adjustable front seats, and heated front seats.

Standard driver assistance features include a rearview camera, MyKey, front and rear parking sensors, blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, forward collision warning, pedestrian detection, automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning, lane keep assist, and driver drowsiness monitoring. Some of these features are part of the Lincoln Co-Pilot360 suite of technology.

You can add all-wheel drive for $2,500. There's also the Interior Elements package, which costs $1,000 and adds heated rear seats and a heated steering wheel.

Lincoln Aviator Reserve

The Aviator Reserve starts at $56,190. In addition to the base trim's features, the Reserve comes with second-row captain's chairs, genuine leather upholstery, 12-way power-adjustable front seats, a hands-free power liftgate, quad-zone automatic climate control, navigation, a 14-speaker Revel audio system, and a surround-view parking camera system.

You can add all-wheel drive for $2,510. This trim is available with several option packages that range in price from a few hundred dollars to more than $10,000. These packages include features like a head-up display, adaptive cruise control, parallel and perpendicular park assist, heated and ventilated first- and second-row seats, a heated steering wheel, and wireless device charging.

Lincoln Aviator Grand Touring

The Aviator Grand Touring has a starting price of $68,800. The Grand Touring features a 494-horsepower plug-in-hybrid powertrain and all-wheel drive. On top of the lower trims' features, the Grand Touring comes with adaptive steering, regenerative braking, and a panoramic sunroof.

Available features in this trim are similar to what's available in the Reserve. However, the Grand Touring offers a few features the Reserve trim doesn't, including 30-way power-adjustable front seats, massaging front seats, and a 28-speaker Revel 3D audio system.

Lincoln Aviator Black Label

The Aviator Black Label starts at $77,695. This is the most luxurious trim, and it has several styling elements not offered in lower trims. It also comes with all-wheel drive, ventilated front seats with 30-way power adjustability, massaging front seats, heated and ventilated second-row seats, a heated steering wheel, heated windshield wipers, wireless device charging, Lincoln's Phone As A Key, a 28-speaker Revel audio system, adaptive cruise control, lane centering, traffic sign recognition, parallel and perpendicular park assist, and a head-up display.

The Black Label comes standard with just about every feature you can get in an Aviator.

Lincoln Aviator Black Label Grand Touring

The Aviator Black Label Grand Touring has a starting price of $87,800. Other than its hybrid powertrain, this trim has the same features as the Black Label trim.

Check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for great savings at your local Lincoln dealer.

See 2020 Lincoln Aviator specs and trims »

The Final Call

The all-new Lincoln Aviator makes quite the comeback for the 2020 model year. This is a big, comfortable SUV with plenty of technology. It's easy to drive, making it great for your daily commute or a long road trip.

Still, there are some weak spots that Lincoln could shore up. Some rivals are more athletic and luxurious, making them a better buy if those qualities are top priorities. There are many reasons to consider the Aviator, but compare it to a few competitors before you drive one off the lot.

Don’t just take our word for it. Check out comments from some of the reviews that drive our rankings and analysis.

  • "The Aviator is a proper luxury vehicle built in the American style." -- Car and Driver
  • The 2020 Lincoln Aviator is excellent in a lot of ways, but it does have a few drawbacks. As mentioned previously, some conventional rivals from Acura and Volvo are less expensive to start. What's more, rivals from BMW, Mercedes and Audi have a seemingly higher build quality – our test vehicle had some squeaks and rattles that don't belong on such a plush SUV. Altogether though, the Aviator is an impressive entry into the luxury three-row class." -- Edmunds
  • "As the all-new 2020 starts at $52,000, we see no reason why it won't be a strong contender in its midsize luxury SUV class, unlike its very nice but slow-selling 2003-to-2005 predecessor." -- Truck Trend
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2020 Lincoln Aviator

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