LINCOLN, the Ford Motor Company’s premium brand and Cadillac rival, has revived its Aviator nameplate with a seven-seat large SUV, but right-hand-drive production is not currently planned for markets like Australia, with North America and China the focus.
Ford Australia product communications manager Damion Smy told GoAuto that unlike previous Lincoln models, the Aviator was not partly engineered at the Ford Asia Pacific product development centre in Campbellfield, Victoria, further ruling out any local ties.
Revealed at the Los Angeles motor show, the Ford Explorer-based Aviator is the spiritual successor to the American brand’s MKT and will slide in between the Nautilus and standard-wheelbase Navigator in its model line-up.
Previewed in concept form at the New York motor show in March this year, the Aviator ushers in a potent plug-in hybrid powertrain with an underfloor battery pack, plus new infotainment technologies and advanced safety features.
While the regular Aviator is motivated by a 3.0-litre twin-turbocharged V6 petrol engine that produces 298kW of power and 542Nm of torque, the Grand Touring version ups the ante with a plug-in hybrid set-up that develops 336kW and 813Nm.
Offered with either rear- or all-wheel drive, the Aviator is paired to a 10-speed automatic transmission as standard.
Five driving modes – Normal, Conserve, Excite, Slippery and Deep Conditions – allow the driver to alter vehicle settings on the move, while the Grand Touring features two extra profiles – Pure EV and Preserve EV – that determine how its electric charge is used.
The Aviator’s suspension is equipped with air springs and adaptive dampers, while a front-view camera scans the road ahead for potholes and uneven surfaces and then adjusts the ride accordingly.
The driver can use a compatible smartphone to open or close the Aviator and switch its engine on or off. Up to four devices are supported in addition to the traditional key fob.
If a linked smartphone’s battery were to go flat, the Aviator can be opened via an external keypad, while a separate backup code can be entered using the touchscreen infotainment system to switch the engine on.
Driver-assist systems include autonomous emergency braking with pedestrian detection, lane-keep and steering assist, blind-spot monitoring, cross-traffic alert, high-beam assist, adaptive cruise control with stop and go functionality, traffic sign recognition, park assist and a reversing camera.
Inside, a 28-speaker Revel Ultima 3D sound system, 30-way power-adjustable front seats with massage functionality, a manually sliding and reclining second row, a head-up display and a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster feature.
According to the Lincoln Motor Company president Joy Falotico, the Aviator marks the start of the American premium brand’s evolution.
“Aviator represents the very best of our brand DNA and signals the direction for Lincoln vehicles going forward,” she said.
“It offers elegance, effortless performance and unparalleled comfort – a true representation of Lincoln’s vision for the future.”
The first and only other generation of Aviator was released in 2003 and remained on sale until 2005. It was also a large SUV based on the Ford Explorer, albeit with the option of six or seven seats.