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2020 Lincoln Aviator take son all roads

The 2020 Lincoln Aviator Reserve is powered by a twin-turbo, 3.0-litre V6 with 400 horsepower and 415 lb.-ft. torque. (Jim Kerr)
The 2020 Lincoln Aviator Reserve is powered by a twin-turbo, 3.0-litre V6 with 400 horsepower and 415 lb.-ft. torque. (Jim Kerr) - Saltwire

QUEBEC CITY — The luxury SUV/crossover market is a busy place, with vehicles such as Volvo’s XC90, the Audi Q7 and Cadillac's XT6 to choose from. Now there is a new addition to the marketplace and it steps up to the plate by offering even more luxury, comfort and performance; it’s the 2020 Lincoln Aviator.

The Lincoln Aviator is offered in two trim levels: the Aviator Reserve is just arriving at dealerships and is powered by a twin-turbo 3.0-litre V6 with 400 horsepower and 415 lb.-ft. torque. Coming soon will be the Aviator Grand Touring which has a hybrid powertrain with 600 lb.-ft. torque According to Lincoln, the hybrid powertrain emphasis is on performance. We tested the Aviator Reserve, with a starting price of $69,000.

Key attributes of the Aviator include space and comfort. Seven-passenger seating is standard, with captain seats optional for the second row. Second-row seats can be adjusted back and forth to optimize legroom for third-row passengers. With them adjusted all the way rearward, the second-row legroom resembles a limousine.

Front-seat occupants get the best seats in the business, with 30-way adjustment and several massage settings. Lincoln has named them “Perfect Position” seats and they are better than any you find in a living room or other make of vehicle. They make any trip relaxing regardless of length.

The Aviator’s suspension also adds to passenger comfort. Referred to as "Air Glide," the vehicle rides on air bladders rather than steel springs. As you approach the vehicle, it lowers by 50 mm to easy entry. At start up, it returns to normal ride height but goes into Aero height (15 mm lower) for better handling and fuel economy at highway speeds. If the driver selects "Deep Condition" drive mode, one of five selectable modes, the vehicle raises 33 mm from normal height for more ground clearance.

The suspension is also adaptive. Twelve sensors monitor body movement, steering, braking and acceleration 500 times a second and can adjust the damping up to 100 times a second. In addition a forward looking camera scans the road for obstacles, danger and potholes. This adaptive suspension system uses a forward facing camera to scan the road 50 metres ahead looking for bumps and potholes between two and eight inches in height located in the path of the tires.

With five drive modes, the Aviator's all-wheel drive powertrain is ready to handle all road conditions while maintaining the comfort and security of its passengers. - Jim Kerr
With five drive modes, the Aviator's all-wheel drive powertrain is ready to handle all road conditions while maintaining the comfort and security of its passengers. - Jim Kerr

The system can then raise a wheel to reduce the impact into the vehicle. It’s difficult to really identify these systems working over individual bumps but I can tell you that the ride is very smooth, quiet and comfortable over some very bumpy roads. Even in the passenger seat, I was relaxed and comfortable while my co-driver tested the Aviator’s handling ability. That is high praise from me regarding this suspension design.

Part of the luxury feeling is the simplicity and intuitive operation of controls. The steering wheel has only a few buttons, with two toggle buttons for most controls, a voice activation button placed on the steering wheel exactly where your thumb rests, and cruise buttons only light up when the cruise is turned on.

The adaptive cruise control uses the forward-looking camera to scan speed limit signs and automatically adjusts the cruise set speeds. It worked well even when travelling through construction zones. The adaptive cruise will also bring the Aviator to a complete stop behind other traffic and regain speed as traffic starts to move again. I never did get completely comfortable with the automatic braking behind slowing vehicles as the system does wait longer than I would to brake, but given more time my trust in the technology would evolve.

Lincoln’s 2020 Aviator is stylish, roomy, extremely comfortable, quiet inside and a joy to drive around town, but especially on a long road trip. The voice controls and navigation system and screen display took the stress out of finding our way through unfamiliar cities and countryside, while the performance provided by the 400 horsepower V6 and smooth shifting 10-speed automatic transmission is outstanding.

Lincoln’s 2020 Aviator is stylish, roomy, extremely comfortable, quiet inside and a joy to drive around town, but especially on a long road trip. - Jim Kerr
Lincoln’s 2020 Aviator is stylish, roomy, extremely comfortable, quiet inside and a joy to drive around town, but especially on a long road trip. - Jim Kerr

With five drive modes — Normal, Conserve, Exciting, Slippery and Deep Conditions — the all-wheel drive powertrain is ready to handle all road conditions while maintaining the comfort and security of the Aviator’s passengers.

Now I can hardly wait to drive the even more powerful Aviator hybrid.

The specs

Model: 2020 Lincoln Aviator Reserve

Configuration: seven-passenger all-wheel drive luxury SUV

Engine: 3.0-litre twin turbo V6, 400 horsepower, 415 lb.-ft. torque

Transmission: 10-speed automatic

Fuel economy: 13.7L/100 km city/9.7L/100 km hwy

Brakes: Four wheel disc brakes with ABS

Special features/options: heated and ventilated 30-way perfect position leather seats with massage feature, navigation system, panoramic sunroof, remote start, power liftgate, adaptive air suspension, power tilt/telescopic steering, auto high/low beam headlamps

MSRP: Starting price: $69,000; Price as tested: $86,700 including $2100 destination and delivery charges

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