Lincoln Aviator

Luxury brand from Ford faces stiff competition

Roseville, Calif.- There were probably more than a few eyes raised when the brain trust at Lincoln decided to reintroduce the Aviator three years ago following a 15-year absence.

However, the doubters are most likely keeping their opinions to themselves due to average sales of 22,000 over the recent three-year stretch.

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One of the offshoots of this midsize luxury SUV is the 2023 Lincoln Aviator plug-in hybrid. Not everyone loves it, but it does give folks considering an Aviator one more reason to pull the trigger on a purchase of an SUV that’s available in six- or seven-seat configurations.

Based on the Ford Explorer, the Aviator is part of company’s luxury brand. It can be a tough sell when matched against a segment that’s been historically dominated by German offerings. The stiff competition was one reason why the original Aviator only lasted from 2002 to 2005.

Still, there’s lots of reasons to like the all-new Lincoln Aviator. Overall, it’s a high-end SUV with a strong interior makeup that’s loaded with technology and delivers excellent ride quality. The plug-in hybrid (PHEV) isn’t for everyone, given its modest electric-only range (21 miles) and the added cost.

Opulent interior

interior of Lincoln Aviator

If there’s one primary characteristic of luxury vehicles it’s there opulent interior. And the Aviator PHEV doesn’t disappoint in that area. It utilizes many high-quality materials and is far more sophisticated than non-luxury SUVs.

The Aviator can seat as many as seven passengers, unless one opts for the two captain’s chairs in the second row that has a choice of two different center consoles located between the seats, including one that is equipped with a convenient pass-through to the third row. Speaking of the third row, it’s only suitable for small children.

The third row is not a good fit for an adult, yet the first two rows are super comfortable. The seats feel plush with plenty of support, and the head and leg room are terrific. The Aviator also has good cargo space. Behind the third row is 18.3 cubic feet of storage space that expands to 41.8 cubes with the third row folded and 77.7 with both rear rows down.

Tech goodies

Among the standard interior features are 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster, a 10.1-inch touchscreen, satellite radio, Wi-Fi hotspot, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto capability, satellite radio, 10-speaker audio system, Bluetooth, and four USB ports. Also standard is synthetic leather upholstery, power-adjustable and heated front seats.

The Aviator plug-in hybrid engine is a twin-turbo hybrid, a 3.0-liter, V6 that combines for a monstrous 494 horsepower and 630 pound-feet of torque, and is paired with a 10-speed automatic transmission. All-wheel drive is standard for this big SUV that weighs 5,673 pounds, can tow up to 5,000 pounds, but is still quick, evidenced by going 0-60 mph in roughly 5.0 seconds. Fuel economy is not great at 17-24 mpg.

AT A GLANCE -2023 LINCOLN AVIATOR PLUG-IN HYBRID

  • Performance: twin-turbo hybrid, 3.0-liter, V6, 494 horsepower
  • Mileage estimate: 17-24 mpg
  • Price estimate: $70,300 to $90,300
  • Warranty: 4 years/50,000 miles; drivetrain: 6 years/70,000 miles; roadside assistance: unlimited years/unlimited; corrosion: 5 years/unlimited

Smooth & effortless

One of the Aviator PHEV’s primary strengths is delivering a smooth, effortless ride that’s quiet. It doesn’t do nearly as well in the handing department, operating like many sizable, heavy SUVs that are not that agile. Note that the Aviator can venture into mild off-road territory, yet sticking to the pavement is suggested.

Among the standard driver safety features are forward-collision warning with automated emergency braking, pedestrian detection, blind-spot monitoring, lane-keeping assistance, front and rear parking sensors, rain-sensing windshield wipers and automatic high beams.

If searching for a well-fortified SUV that exudes comfort, has outstanding performance, and possesses electric capability, the 2023 Lincoln Aviator plug-in hybrid is certainly worth a look.

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