The 2020 Lincoln Aviator makes its official return to Los Angeles

The 2020 Lincoln Aviator makes its official return to Los Angeles

LOS ANGELES, California - Usually when a manufacturer is unsuccessful with a particular model for three years, it is not too tempted to restart it later.

This is why we have not reviewed the Chrysler TC by Maserati or the little memorable Chevrolet SSR. But the situation is different in the case of Lincoln and the firm is moving forward with a modern incarnation of its mid-size Aviator SUV.

The Aviator was only on the market from 2003 to 2005, but it has never been mocked like the two models we just mentioned. In fact, it might have been more successful in the current environment where SUVs are ubiquitous. The 2020 version - unveiled one day before the opening of the 2018 Los Angeles show - takes a big step forward and impresses with its characteristic grille in two versions. The Aviator has a third row of seats to accommodate the whole family, it will be available in a plug-in hybrid version, called Grand Touring, and there are even some musical surprises in store for us.

On the powertrain side, the new SUV is equipped with a 3.0-liter twin-turbo V6 that delivers impressive 400 horsepower and 400 lb-ft of torque. It is connected to a 10-speed automatic transmission. In the United States, the basic version is powered. In Canada, all Aviators will be delivered with all-wheel drive, in Select or Reserve versions.

This basic engine impresses, but we raise the bar a notch with the Grand Touring plug-in hybrid version. There is the same gasoline engine, plus an electric motor, for an estimated total power of 450 hp, with a torque of 600 lb-ft. We see that this electrified version was part of the plans from the start because the battery is placed in a central position, under the floor, so as to maximize the loading capacity.

"The Grand Touring has the most sophisticated and powerful powertrain ever built by Lincoln," said John Davis, chief engineer for the Lincoln Motor Company. We distinguish ourselves from the Audi Q7 and Range Rover Sport by the way we harness all of this power. "

The Aviator offers five riding modes: Normal, Conserve, Excite, Slippery and Deep Conditions. The Grand Touring version will have two more, Pure EV and Preserve EV, which will allow you to choose a quiet and efficient ride or save more of your electrical energy for later.

The Aviator has a brand new Air Glide suspension designed to provide a smoother, more comfortable ride. The height is adjustable according to preset parameters and the vehicle lowers when you are about to enter it. In addition, this adaptive suspension is connected to a camera that detects potholes and other road imperfections in advance, and adjusts accordingly.

The Lincoln Aviator uses the same platform as the Ford Explorer, but there the similarities end because the Aviator is distinguished by its roof line well inclined at the rear, its body and its hood with S curves, as well as its adaptive LED pixel headlights. These elements don't clash with the basic concept, which is not a bad thing.

Like the rest of the Lincoln family, the Aviator has a chrome grille that is sophisticated and refined enough to compete with the world's Audi, Cadillac, Lexus and Mercedes-Benz. The Lincoln logo is present, but the grid pattern has been reversed compared to that of the Nautilus, which creates a chic and distinctive look. The Grand Touring version has a different grille with blue accents and a specific logo.

Inside, the high-end materials, with a pleasant touch, make you forget the link with Ford, the parent company. The 30-way adjustable seats allow occupants to find the ideal position. The additional lumbar support and optional massage function make these seats even better than those of the new Navigator. Second row passengers are also spoiled with reclining seats and their own 5.8-inch touchscreen to control temperature and ventilation. A button in the headrest controls the advancement of the second row of seats to allow passengers in the third row to easily get in and out.

The Aviator is well equipped in terms of technology. We find in particular a wireless charging device, electrical sockets in each row of seats, a system for Wi-Fi 4G connection, a display system with customizable windshield which is among the largest and brightest of the industry that can work with polarized sunglasses, an optional Revel Ultima 3D audio system with 28 speakers, voice control on the steering wheel and a device that allows you to use your phone as a key, with start-up function.

In terms of security technologies, there is in particular a traffic jam assistance system which can automatically adjust the speed according to driving directions and an active parking assistance system which allows parking in parallel or perpendicular without touching the steering wheel or the pedals.

To make the Aviator even more distinctive, Lincoln asked the Detroit Symphony Orchestra to create and record six new symphonic chimes for more than 25 functions (they worked with the recordings of over 125 original possibilities). Whether it is to establish a particular atmosphere or create a peaceful environment, these alert chimes call on a mixture of percussion, violin and viola to welcome you or warn you that a belt is not fastened or that you forgot the open fuel door. You can adjust the chimes according to three levels: non-critical signaling, light warning and important alert.

With its successful look, its comfortable interior and its melodious chimes, the all-new 2020 Lincoln Aviator is well positioned compared to its competitors. It will be available in summer 2019; the Grand Touring version will follow a few months later. Pricing has yet to be released.

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