2020 Lincoln Aviator Grand Touring First Drive: Plug-In Hybrid Power Takes on World
The Lincoln Navigator establishes that spending over $ 80,000 on a luxury SUV from an American automaker is acceptable. If it equates to the best of Europe and Japan in terms of driving performance, ride comfort, indoor and outdoor loot, the price should be equal, right? In the case of the slightly smaller 2020 Lincoln Aviator Grand Touring, does the same ring true?
Our $ 84,845 Aviator Grand Touring Reserve (as tested) seems to tick all the boxes: a plug-in hybrid powertrain that delivers substantial power when called for and saves putter gas around town, all packaged in design language. revitalized Lincoln interior that offers room for six.
How does the Aviator Grand Touring drive?
The Aviator’s 3.0-liter twin-turbo V6, combined with the hybrid system’s 13.6 kWh battery and 75 kW engine, produces 494 horsepower and 630 lb-ft of torque. As such, the power supply is strong and secure. This 5,700 pound beast delivers an estimated time from 0 to 60 in the 5.5 second range.
That’s impressive, considering the Grand Touring weighs almost 800 pounds more than a non-hybrid all-wheel-drive Aviator. When you hit the throttle in hybrid mode, you instantly feel the full power of the combined units, although you also feel the powertrain tense to the weight of the vehicle it is trying to motivate. Despite nearly 500 horsepower, the Aviator’s hybrid powertrain doesn’t feel like a Super SUV; it’s more like an electric thrust from an overweight vehicle.
By switching to battery-only mode, the Aviator Grand Touring can send you about 21 miles before the gasoline engine takes over. And unlike the “EV modes” of some other hybrids, which trigger the gasoline engine at anything above the race pace or if you’re asked for full power, the Aviator’s battery-only mode can take you up. 80 mph with full battery power. Once discharged, the battery can be recharged by regeneration as you continue your gas powered journey.
The 10-speed automatic transmission’s shifts were relatively smooth, whether sliding or jostling, and it felt more linear than, say, the elastic feel of the Lexus RX 450h’s CVT (although, to be fair, Lexus did a good job refining the CVT). That said, coming out of a rolling “California” stop, the Aviator Grand Touring acted like it didn’t know if it wanted to do it under engine power or battery engine power or both – surges and jerks repeatedly. As is the rhythm of parking lots and slow traffic jams, this dynamic has the potential to be a recurring irritability.
The Aviator Grand Touring’s adaptive “air-glide” suspension systems do a pretty good job of absorbing rashes, but it’s used to having fun on ripples. A few runs in the notoriously upside-down Portuguese curvature of Palos Verdes produced a snapping neck swing in Normal and Excite modes.
This leads to a discussion about the location of the Aviator’s seat, which feels like it’s “on” the car rather than huddled in it. This effect amplifies – at least to that six foot tall male – the hobby sensation in your inner ear. Even though the air suspension combines with the battery’s lowering of the vehicle’s center of gravity to keep things quite dynamically flat, as a tall driver I had vestibular feedback distinct from the tipping.
The steering feel is a bit loose in the middle, but with such a heavy vehicle, it’s probably better than something with lively responsiveness. The feedback and modulation of the brakes was typical of hybrids with regenerative braking – a bit vague and spongy. Whichever automaker gets a consistently decent hybrid braking feel, they will receive a blue ribbon.
How to tow? When equipped with the optional Class IV towing package, the Lincoln Aviator Grand Touring offers a maximum trailer capacity of 5,600 pounds. It’s a tandem axle trailer hauling a Boston Whaler 210 Montauk or a couple of Jet Skis with no problem.
How luxurious is the interior of the Aviator Grand Touring?
Inside, the interior of the Aviator Grand Touring is sleek but not opulent. Based on the Aviator Reserve version – itself a level below the opulent Black Label trim – it’s not as high-end as that of its sibling Lincoln Navigator or Aviator Black Label (what is that? ‘is?), although it does a decent approximation. More importantly, the interior of the Aviator certainly looks more like that of a Navigator than that of the Ford Explorer ST, which shares the same platform. Along with the mid-century modern styling and sleek trim, another noticeable difference is the piano-keyed shifter, which is a popular design touch but takes some getting used to after decades of rods. Traditional PRNDL.
The optional 30-way “perfect position” seats with massage function definitely reduce fatigue on long journeys. You’ll want to experiment with the maneuverability of the seat to find the perfect setting for you. As the seats of American luxury vehicles disappear, these seats are comfortable, but can they match Volvo’s world-class ass-huggers? Not quite, but close. These heated and ventilated seats are available in either the Deluxe Package ($ 3,300) or the Larger Equipment Group 302A ($ 14,950). This latter package is mainly what drove the base price of our Aviator Grand Touring up to $ 69,895.
Backing up one row, the second row captain’s chairs have plenty of legroom, but seem a bit meager for the space their footprint takes up in the cabin. This also seems to have an impact on the third row, which only has room for children – odd because the Ford Explorer platform-sharing third row is relatively comfortable and spacious.
Audiophiles will be delighted with the Revel Ultima premium stereo system, featuring 28 speakers and QuantumLogic 3D Surround technology. And while it’s powerful and clear, the Revel’s sound does seem a bit ‘bright’ no matter what type of music you’re listening to or how you set it up.
How does the Aviator Grand Touring hybrid system work?
Let’s move on to technology: there’s the problem of actually “plugging in” the Aviator plug-in hybrid. I tried three public electric vehicle charging stations in Los Angeles, and none of them had the SAE J1772 level 2 common outlet that would match the Lincoln’s. Our Director of Testing, Kim Reynolds, explains that most new charging stations come with only Level 3 Combined Charging System (CCS) high-speed chargers that are EV-compatible, which the Aviator Grand Touring (as most plug-in hybrids) do not accept. So if you are on the road and looking to recharge for whatever reason, you will need to find a charging system in SAE level 2 format. I recommend that you launch Google Maps on your phone and type in “charging stations. EV ”. This would have told me which stations were and were not compatible with the Aviator plug-in, as well as the availability of the J1772 charging stations. Yes, we still live in a world without an industry standard for vehicle charging.
Plus, the 20ft home charging cord provided by Lincoln is frustrating if you’re like me and a lot of other Americans and park in your driveway rather than in your garage. Using an extension cord is a bad idea due to overheating issues; you will need to purchase a longer J1772 portable level 1 charger or invest in installing a faster dedicated level 2 home charging station. According to the EPA, the Aviator Grand Touring can recharge its battery from empty to full in about 3.5 hours on a 220V Level 2 charger. If you are able to plug into a standard 110V outlet using the portable charger supplied by Lincoln, a full charge will take approximately 12 hours, making nighttime charging a feasible option for most commuters.
The battle with technology continued in other places. As I slowly backed up into my driveway, the automatic emergency brake brought the car to a halt as it mistook a shadow for a solid object. Also, the button on the hatch cover that supposedly automatically closes the hatch and sets the alarm refused to work.
I am also having issues with poor user interfaces. For example, the voice command button is located at 10 o’clock on the steering wheel – exactly where your left thumb will grip and depress each time you initiate a turn. So unless you change the (proper) positioning of your hand, every turning maneuver is interrupted by an automated audio prompt. In our review of the Aviator’s SUV of the Year, the MotorTrend the judges were divided on this feature, so some of you might like the convenience of not taking your hand off the wheel – but I despise it.
It wouldn’t be so bad if the voice commands actually worked, but the Lincoln system is based on Ford’s Sync, which still struggles to provide a correct answer to many questions or commands. Plugging in your iPhone or Android to enjoy Apple CarPlay or Android Auto is undoubtedly the best solution.
Would you like to take this Aviator plug-in on a BMW X5 xDrive45e, Lexus RX 450h or Volvo XC90 T8?
The Lincoln Aviator GT features a Range Rover Sport-esque silhouette, crisp interior design, and glowing dynamic performance. But there are calibration issues with the hybrid powertrain, brakes, and telematics that lead us to suggest you shop around to assess whether this Lincoln is on par with its European and Japanese rivals to be sure.
|2020 Lincoln Aviator AWD (Grand Touring PHEV)|
|STARTING PRICE||$ 69,895|
|DISPOSITION||Front-engine 4-door SUV, all-wheel drive, 6-7 passengers|
|ENGINE||3.0L / 400hp / 415 lb-ft 24-valve DOHC twin-turbo V6 plus 100 hp / 221 lb-ft electric motor, 494 hp / 630 lb-ft combined|
|TRANSMISSION||10 speed automatic|
|WEIGHT ON BOARD||5,700 lbs (under construction)|
|L x W x H||199.3 x 79.6 x 69.6 inches|
|0 to 60 mph||5.4 s (MT est)|
|EPA FUEL ECON||22/25/23 mpg (gasoline); 54/58/56 mpg-e (gasoline + elec)|
|ENERGY CONSUMPTION, CITY / ROAD||62/58 kW-h / 100 miles (gas + elec)|
|CO2 EMISSIONS, COMB||0.35 lb / mile (gasoline + elec)|
Lincoln Aviator Grand Touring First Test After 2020: Plug-In Hybrid Power Takes Over the World appeared first on MotorTrend.