It’s all fine and good to offer vehicles with ungodly amounts of horsepower that can scoot to 60 mph in a nanosecond. But given the amount of traffic congestion in cities and towns large and small, where and when can you use it? It’s like buying a chainsaw to slice an avocado.
Instead, you want to be comfortable and catered to while crawling through traffic. After all, excessive horsepower is useless at 20 mph. This is where Lincoln is smarter than, say, Cadillac. Lincoln embraces its American heritage, resisting becoming an imitative German automaker, choosing instead to forge its own unique identity.
Overview: A Week With The 2022 Lincoln Aviator
The Lincoln Aviator shares its vehicle architecture with the Ford Explorer, but differs in its overall demeanor. Offered in Standard, Reserve, Grand Touring, Black Label and Black Label Grand Touring trim, a twin-turbocharged V-6 provides the power. In addition, Grand Touring models have an electric motor that helps deliver a muscular 494 horsepower while providing better fuel economy than the base model.
For the new model year, changes are minimal, with the Aviator now being offered with a new $1,500 Premium Appearance Package with 20-inch machined aluminum wheels and a power Panoramic Vista Roof. Reserve models can be fitted with a Jet Appearance Package that includes 22-inch wheels and black exterior trim, rather than chrome.
Looking at the 2022 Lincoln Aviator, it’s hard not see the Navigator, albeit one that shrunk in the dryer. But it wears a modern style that recalls the finest mid-century mod Lincolns, with crisp horizontal lines offsetting a sporty sloping roof and capped by Lincoln’s distinctively modern grille.
It’s handsomely urbane, presenting an elegant grace. The test model wore murdered-out wheels, which did little to add to its attractiveness, but is a nod to current vehicle fads.
The unabashed extravagance of the Aviator’s interior is much like the larger and pricier Navigator, imparting the same feeling of opulence. The horizontal instrument panel recalls the legendary 1961-68 Lincoln Continental, and sports a simple row of automatic transmission buttons that resemble piano keys. Tucked out of the way, their location frees up space on the center console.
The Aviator’s cabin offers three rows of seats, with the choice of Captain’s chairs or a second-row bench seat. Legroom is generous in the first two rows; the third row is suitable only for children. Instead of legroom, Lincoln uses the square footage for cargo capacity, more than 18 cubic feet in fact. Given that third-row seats are used as often as that exercise bike in your bedroom, it seems a fair tradeoff. The second row comes with its own climate controls and USB ports.
One feature worth considering for those in northern climes is the Elements Package Plus, optional on the Reserve and Grand Touring, and standard on the Black Label includes first-and second-row heated/ventilated seats, heated steering wheel, heated/ventilated second-row seats, and heated wiper blades.
All Aviators have a 3.0-liter twin-turbocharged V-6 that generates 400 horsepower and 415 pound-feet of torque, except on the Grand Touring plug-in hybrid. It also gets a 94-hp electric motor and a 13.6-kWh battery. When added to the V-6, power increases to 494 horsepower and 630 pound-feet of torque. It’s all routed to the rear wheels, although all-wheel drive is optional on most models and standard on the hybrid. The Aviator is equipped with driving modes to suit your mood and driving conditions, and hybrid models add one that recharges and saves battery power for use at a later time.
Safety and Technology
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration rates the Lincoln Aviator five stars in all categories except for rollover, where it only rates four stars. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety rates it a Top Safety Pick.
Driver assistance safety systems include Pre-Collision Assist with automatic emergency braking, pedestrian detection, forward collision warning, dynamic brake support, lane-keeping system with lane-keeping alert, lane-keeping assist, driver alert system, a rearview camera and blind spot monitor.
It’s optional systems include adaptive cruise control with traffic jam assist, lane centering, speed sign recognition, and stop-and-go; 360-degree camera with front washer; front sensing system; evasive steer assist; reverse brake assist; and active park assist plus.
Standard tech includes Lincoln Connect with a 4G embedded modem with WiFi hot spot, navigation system, and a 10-speaker audio system with subwoofer. A Revel Audio System with 14-Speakers and HD Radio, MP3 Player and Satellite/AM/FM radio is optional.
What makes the Aviator worthwhile is its demeanor. This is a classic American luxury cruiser, large, in charge and oozing with comfort and power. You feel the engine’s power, but you don’t hear it.
Making it even better is the available Air Glide Suspension. It swaps conventional springs for air bladders, bestowing the Aviator with an effortless grace. It’s enhanced by the Adaptive Suspension with Road Preview, which uses a front-mounted camera to pre-emptively read the road ahead and adjust the suspension to maintain optimal ride and handling characteristics that never comes at the expense of civility.
Its rear-wheel drive driving ease is innate, and missing from its front-wheel-drive competitors. Thankfully, the Aviator drives smaller than it actually is, keeping body lean in check and banishing excess body motions over crumbling arteries while still delivering the posh ride you’d expect. It’s a true grand touring machine, one of the best Lincolns made in recent memory. No, it doesn’t try to be sporty, nor should it. If that’s what you want, look elsewhere.
2022 Lincoln Aviator specifications
|L: 199.1 inches/W: 79.6 inches/H: 69.6 inches/Wheelbase: 119.1 inches
|3.0-liter twin-turbocharged DOHC V-6 engine, 10-speed automatic transmission
and all-wheel drive
|17 mpg city/24 mpg highway/20 mpg combined
|400 horsepower and 415 pound-feet of torque
|$52,660; As tested: Not available.
The eloquence and elegance of the Lincoln Aviator is hard to overstate, but might be hard to understand in an industry where childish design gimmicks and overly firm driving dynamics are considered optimal. But most consumers couldn’t care less about how fast a vehicle is around the Nürburgring. They care about comfort, convenience, technology, safety, good looks and enough power to do battle with a daily commute or the family vacation. This the Aviator does in grand American style.
2022 Lincoln Aviator — Frequently Asked Questions
What car is comparable to the Lincoln Aviator?
Luxury midsize SUV rivals include the Audi Q7, BMW X5, Cadillac XT6, Genesis GV 80, Mercedes-Benz GLE and Volvo XC90.
What vehicle did the Lincoln Aviator replace?
The three-row Lincoln MKT.
What is the Ford equivalent to the Lincoln Aviator?
The 2022 Ford Explorer.