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U.S. News Best Price Program

2021 Lincoln Aviator Performance Review


Performance: 8.0

The 2021 Lincoln Aviator is a well-rounded performer with two muscular powertrains, composed handling, and a gentle ride. It’s not the most agile SUV its class, but it’s easy to drive and relatively maneuverable. Fuel economy is typical.

  • "The refined 3.0-liter V-6 works with a smooth-shifting 10-speed automatic transmission to deliver both serene cruising and authoritative acceleration." -- Car and Driver
  • "The twin-turbo 3.0L V6 delivers plenty of power for confident acceleration around town and on country roads. The 10-speed automatic transmission delivers, quick, smooth shifts. The gas pedal felt a little touchy to me in sport mode, but I suspect I'd get used to it in a day or two." -- The Detroit Free Press (2020)
  • "Despite feeling some body roll, the interior is a really nice place to spend long road trips." -- Motor Trend (2020)

Engine Options, Horsepower, and Acceleration

  • Base engine: twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter V6 with 400 horsepower and 415 pound-feet of torque
  • Available powertrain: 3.0-liter twin-turbo V6 engine and an electric motor with a combined 494 horsepower and 630 pound-feet of torque
  • Drivetrain: standard rear-wheel drive; available all-wheel drive
  • Transmission: 10-speed automatic

The base twin-turbocharged engine delivers enough power for just about any driving situation. With its electric motor and extra power, the plug-in hybrid feels even brawnier, and it races from zero to 60 mph in about five seconds. Paired with both powertrains is a smooth-shifting automatic transmission that operates seamlessly.

  • "The Grand Touring plug-in hybrid version adds a 102-horsepower electric motor, contributing the extra thrust missing from the combustion-only setup, although it’s heavier still. With a combined 494 horsepower and 630 lb-ft of torque, it’s extremely responsive, bringing plenty of muscle for either moving off the line or when needing a surge at speed. If a buyer is looking for a more performance-oriented SUV in this class, here is a good place to start." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "The standard twin-turbo … engine outguns the competition's – in many cases by more than 50 horses. The engine operates silently enough to be forgotten at cruising speeds. With a poke of the accelerator, the V-6 roars to attention and rockets the Aviator down the road. Ford's 10-speed automatic transmission continues to improve with every new application, including this one. In the Aviator, the transmission picks gears assertively yet executes shifts with a gentle smoothness." -- Car and Driver (2020)
  • "The Aviator builds speed quickly, and the automatic makes the most of the engine's considerable power: Shifts are smooth and refined, and the transmission always seemed to be in the right gear for the driving situation." -- Cars.com (2020)

MPG Estimates

The Aviator earns typical gas mileage for a luxury midsize SUV.

  • 3.0-liter, RWD: 18/26 mpg city/highway
  • 3.0-liter, AWD: 17/24 mpg
  • PHEV, AWD: 56 MPGe combined

Alternative Powertrains and Charging

The Aviator plug-in hybrid has two drive modes distinct from the gas-powered model. Preserve EV conserves and recharges up to 75% of the battery while you’re using the vehicle. Purr EV maintains an all-electric driving experience.

A charging cord for a 120- or a 240-volt outlet comes standard. It takes between three and four hours to fully recharge the battery using the stronger outlet.

Handling and Braking

The Aviator delivers a plush ride, especially if you opt for the available air suspension. There’s also an available camera system that scans for potholes and transmits that data to the suspension so it can adjust and help keep any bumps from being felt in the cabin. Considering its weight, the Lincoln feels fairly light on its feet. Handling is composed, and the steering is responsive, if a bit soft.

  • "Despite the bulk, the Aviator is responsive and easy to maneuver through traffic." -- Autotrader
  • "Handling and steering (especially in Excite driving mode) were surprisingly good for such a heavy … vehicle, and the brakes proved equally capable when needed." -- Truck Trend (2020)
  • "The steering is light and well balanced, but it doesn't give you much feedback as to what's happening on the road. Even in Excite mode, the steering doesn't get as stiff. But most Aviator customers wouldn't mind the soft steering, as the ride in general is serene and quiet, with little wind or tire noise making it into the cabin." -- Motor Trend (2020)
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2021 Lincoln Aviator

MSRP: $51,100 - $88,335

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