2020 Lincoln Aviator Reserve AWD: Angelic Beauty, Strange Demeanor  

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Experienced by Kimatni D. Rawlins

Damn, the Aviator looks good, Range Rover good. In fact, my neighbor asked me how I liked the RR Sport a few days after taking delivery. I said, “no, this is the Lincoln Aviator,” as she smiled in amusement. Posing in a Silver Radiance Metallic hue, the elongated silhouette is merely beautiful. The SUV features exquisite 22” ninja bladed rims wrapped in 275/40R22 Goodyear Eagle Touring rubber, a chrome mesh grille, contrasting black mirror caps and window framing, and tinted glass, which allowed my passengers to travel in elite mode. But also like Rovers, the Aviator suffers from overthought functionality and software overload that dictates its strange habits.

The week the vehicle landed, I was prepping for essentialism before the quarantine hit here in Maryland. You could find me and the American SUV everywhere from gardening nurseries to home retail stores. Shoppers stared in excitement and continually gave me the thumbs up. Approaching the rear with essentials was also a site to see since the Aviator is outfitted with quad oval pipes finished in chrome, a tailgate spoiler, and chrome roof rails. My only external gripe is the adaptive suspension that drops the vehicle too low when parked, making my luxury SUV look like a lowrider. Then, when the utility is ignited, the air suspension rises in a jerky and loud manner. Not cool for this class.

Inside, the three-row cabin is solemn and welcoming. Passengers assigned to the second-row captain chairs seemed to enjoy the ride the most. The third-row is powered when there is a need to lay them flat for storage. The Sandstone padded leather chairs are ultra-comfortable, and the conglomeration of refined materials, veneers, and metal from the Lincoln perspective are radiating. Also enjoyable during a week of pleasant spring weather was the panoramic vista roof.

Within this evolutionary construct, some amenities were just and appreciated, while others felt contrived and exaggerated. The speaker grilles from the 28-speaker Revel Ultima 3D are otherworldly and the resulting sound is impressive. The stand-alone touch screen and Sync 3 were helpful at times and not so beneficial at other times. So I used my iPhone in those instances. The push-button door release frustrated my passengers over and over, and the individual tabs for gear selection, located on the dash, is also confusing as I kept hitting the windshield wiper inadvertently. Why?  Because Mercedes-Benz’s seat controls are located on the doors, which metaphorically made me think the gear stalk was on the steering wheel as well, like a Benz. Luxury companies, can we keep the standard gear shifter positioned on the center console? Also, push-button doors and gearing are reserved for exotic cars. Thank you!

Another oddity was the battery failing on me after just two days in possession. The Adaptive pixel LED lights were deactivated overnight, so I’m not sure what caused the drain. When I called the Lincoln concierge, they said everything shuts off automatically and so didn’t have a solution. Beforehand, I had to google how to get inside the Aviator since the doors wouldn’t open without power. There is a hidden key slot near the mirror which did the trick. Next, I jumped the Aviator, and it came back to life. Thankfully this took place when I was home and not out and about. My google search also led to an array of articles and forums detailing owner vexation with their newly-purchased 2020 Aviators. Ouch!

Behind the wheel, the 3-liter twin-turbo V6 offers excellent power and smooth shifting from the 10-speed automatic transmission. The vehicle is heavy, but the horsepower to weight ratio was on par with expectations from this category. With Lincoln Drive Modes, I was able to customize the riding style. Settings include Slippery (slick, ice or loose surfaces), Deep Condition (deep snow, sand or mud), Normal (effortless and balanced), and Conserve (efficient driving). I also took time on the road to let the Lincoln navigate using the remarkably accurate Adaptive Cruise Control with traffic jam assist. And of course, Lincoln instilled the SUV with the typically advanced safety features such as Lane Keeping, 360 Degree Camera, Evasive Steering Assist, Pre-Collision Assist, etc. etc.

My Aviator Reserve AWD was also blessed with the $3,000 Dynamic Handling Package, the $3,390 Convenience Package, and the $10,125 Equipment Group 202A which bundled the Luxury Package, the 22” alloy, the Illumination Package, the vista roof, the Elements Package Plus, and the Tow Package. In all, this combination totaled $76,310, with $58,700 representing the MSRP tag. Yes, the Aviator is the nexus for luxury, technology, design, and innovation, but does so in a pricey and eccentric format.

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