Lincoln has unveiled its latest three-row SUV, the 2019 Lincoln Aviator, and has revealed that it will come with a plug-in hybrid drivetrain.
Lincoln says the Aviator is the start of its transformation as a brand, with the company declaring it will be building more SUVs, in line with parent company Ford’s quest to become a dominant force in worldwide crossover and SUV sales.
Lincoln says the Aviator is “a glimpse into the brand’s future” and this car you see here is a teaser, previewing the direction the company is heading.
The standard Aviator will get a twin-turbocharged V6 petrol – we’re still awaiting confirmation of its capacity – but a PHEV variant can be had as an option.
The teaser video Lincoln released earlier gave the game away with its light-up logo, signalling electrification, and now the company has confirmed that all PHEV models will be all-wheel-drive. The petrol version will be available in both rear-wheel-drive and all-wheel-drive.
Power outputs are still unknown, but we’re betting that the 3.5-litre V6 ends up under the bonnet, meaning around 370hp, with hybrid versions upping that to over 400hp. Either way, it should be quick enough for the traffic lights grand prix.
The styling still retains the familiar Lincoln SUV lines, but with far sleeker headlights and narrow taillamps.
“In Aviator, the lines of the vehicle are streamlined,” says Lincoln Design Director David Woodhouse. “You have the stature and presence of the grille at the front, then the body and tail taper off – creating a distinct aerofoil analogy.”
It’s also a bigger machine than before, with more space inside. However, it must be remembered that this is still a pre-production vehicle, though we don’t expect too much to change on the production version.
While the main news is what’s powering it, there’s also a lot to talk about inside.
Up front, it’s luxury as you’d expect from Lincoln. The seats are 30-way adjustable – yes, we said 30 – and have heating and massage capability.
If you can’t get out of your driveway in the mornings, we don’t blame you; we’d be sitting there enjoying the backrub as well.
Before you even get in, you can turn the car on using your smartphone. Using the same app (called Lincoln Way), you can lock and unlock the vehicle, open the boot, and check on the status of the car.
Lincoln says that this phone-as-key tech will become the new norm and as such, owners won’t need a key fob to start their car.
“But what if your phone goes dead?” we hear you ask. And it’s a reasonable question. We’re told that there’s an exterior keypad on the vehicle, which allows you in, and then you can use the touchscreen to start the car and drive.
And if your phone is stolen? The phone-as-key function can be deleted until you get your next phone. See? They have an answer for everything…
There’s also cool tech like Lincoln’s Suspension Preview, which “reads” the road using a forward-facing camera and adjusts the damping to suit. Sure, Mercedes-Benz did it first, but we’re now seeing this tech rolled out across other brands.
Inside, you’ll also find wireless device charging, plenty of power outlets and USB charging ports, plus in-car Wi-Fi is standard. Instrumentation is taken care of by a 12.3-inch TFT screen ahead of the driver, like plenty of other SUVs around.
There will also be plenty of active safety with the Aviator receiving Ford’s new Co-Pilot360 suite of driving aids. Automatic emergency braking, lane-keeping assist and and plenty of other tech will keep drivers shiny side up.
There’s also auto high beam, blind spot alert, cross traffic alert, reversing camera and reverse brake assist which will automatically brake if the system detects you getting too close to an object.
“The Lincoln Navigator continues to turn heads and bring new clients to the brand,” says Joy Falotico, president, Lincoln Motor Company. “We believe Aviator’s elegant design, state-of-the-art technology and refined plug-in hybrid option will draw even more clients to the Lincoln showroom, including families who are looking for three-row capability.”
While this is still a preview of what’s to come, the real deal should be shown in production form later this year, with more detail to come. Look out for a 2019 launch.