Review and Test Drive: 2020 Lincoln Aviator Reserve

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Open the door, climb inside, and the Aviator picks up from the Lincoln Embrace with chimes composed by the Detroit Symphony Orchestra.  Press the start/stop button, and be sure to turn on the Active Motion massage feature on the 30-way adjustable seats before getting underway.

But first, let’s take a moment to look at the thoughtfully designed interior.

Lincoln presents an extremely clean and uncomplicated user interface to the vehicle here: a 12.3” digital instrument cluster, a 10.1” central display atop the center stack, and a choice of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.  This compares favorably with those luxury SUVs that feature rotary controllers or two or more touchscreens, and was quite easy to master. The only weak points were the voice-control button located near the 10 p.m. position on the steering wheel, which could be too easily mistakenly pressed when holding the steering wheel at 10 and 2, and the use of a push-button gear selector. Electronics has enabled engineers to use much smaller gear selectors since the selector no longer needs to be mechanically connected to the transmission unit itself.  While Jaguar, Land Rover, and Ford have excellent rotary knob gear selectors, Lincoln has chosen to go with push buttons that are reminiscent of the Packard Touchbutton Ultramatic.  This may be more of an issue for those of us (i.e. automotive journalists) who drive a vast array of vehicles in the period of time where the typical auto buyer drives one or two, but I can still shift a car with a column-mounted gear selector into park or reverse or drive without looking at the gear selector while that is not the case here.

Lincoln continues to have one of the best implementations of Apple CarPlay (no, not all are created equal). The system isn’t at all finicky as to when you connect the iPhone (this is an issue with some vehicles, we’ve observed) and it didn’t even hiccup once during its ten days with us.

The Lincoln Aviator’s 400-hp twin-turbo V-6 is among the most powerful standard engines in the mid-size luxury SUV segment. The refined 3.0-liter V-6 worked well with a smooth-shifting 10-speed automatic transmission to deliver both comfortable boulevard cruising and powerful acceleration.

The Aviator’s Air Glide Suspension with Dynamic Lower Entry, bundled with adaptive steering and a road-scanning system in the $3,000 Dynamic Handling Package, uses a forward-facing camera that reads the road ahead in order to the suspension to absorb the worst road conditions one can find.

Click here to continue to Page 4Driver-Assistance Tech and Fuel Economy

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