Ford Motor Company’s premium division, Lincoln, is putting its bleak days behind it and making bold American luxury cars again.
The Aviator ‘preview’ SUV being shown in New York this week continues the trend. It’s a three-row crossover SUV to sit below the Navigator, and the company’s first plug-in hybrid (PHEV).
The vehicle you see is nominally a concept, but expect few changes to appear on the production model due next year.
Built on a RWD platform which will presumably house AWD versions, the Aviator also has that thing so desired in the US and China where Lincoln is most popular: rear seat space.
“The platform also serves to enhance Aviator’s elegant proportions, with a long wheelbase allowing for a spacious second and third row,” the company’s press release waffles.
The part it doesn’t discuss is that it’s expected to be the platform that underpins the next generation of Ford’s massively popular Explorer.
That PHEV drivetrain pairs a twin-turbocharged petrol engine with an electric motor that’ll drive with zero tailpipe emissions for a short commute, and probably a 10AT.
“Offering the capability of its twin-turbocharged engine in combination with a hybrid electric powertrain makes Aviator mightier than many supercars on the road today,” Lincoln reckons. Sure thing, guys.
“The plug-in hybrid experience provides for a responsive, refined ride, with no powertrain-induced noise and vibration when operating on battery charge, yet is capable of using its twin-turbocharged engine if needed, easing range anxiety.”
There are also various driving modes from more plush to more sporty, adjusted via graphics on a 12-inch standard cluster display.
Tech includes a forward camera that scans the road for the onboard computer, which adjusts the suspension to suit the surface you’re approaching.
Safety tech includes forward/reverse automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, blind spot information system with cross-traffic alert, lane keeping system and auto high-beam lighting.
There’s also need for a key fob, given you can lock/unlock/start the through a smartphone app. Should the phone battery go dead, a backup passcode can be entered on the standard exterior keypad (not sure where it is, yet) to gain access, then you can start and drive via the centre touch screen.
The minimalist cabin has 30-way adjustable massaging seats, wireless phone charging, lots of seat sliding/folding options and cabin WiFi hotspot.
Alongside the Continental and Navigator, the Aviator gives Lincoln its most engaging product line-up in most people’s memory. Still no RHD though…