Piloting The Lincoln Aviator, My Review
Over the past 25-30 years of test driving, I have driven vehicles from every manufacturer that markets them in the United States and Europe. It’s no small feat to be considered as the best, most enjoyable vehicle on an overall basis with that many opportunities to ride, test and drive.
I discussed my time spent with the 2022 Lincoln Navigator a few weeks ago and jumped at the chance to test a Lincoln sibling, the Aviator a few weeks after being so impressed with the Lincoln flagship. Although the year is not yet over, I couldn’t imagine any other vehicle surpassing the Navigator as the best overall vehicle I have ever driven– and that involves every one from a Rolls Royce boasting a price tag of over $400,000 to the smallest, cheapest one, the Mitsubishi Mirage.
The Navigator is not a cheap vehicle, with the base MSRP coming in at $92,770 and my test model as equipped totaling $104,685, but I found it providing the best value for the price of any vehicle I had driven in years. My wife Kristin had a three row SUV from another manufacturer a few weeks after I had the Navigator. Her test vehicle weighed in at $50,000 more than the Navigator and neither of us found it up to the prowess of the Navigator in any way I can think of.
Navigator vs. Aviator, Which One Is My Favorite?
Knowing that the Aviator, would be priced less than the Navigator, I thought it might provide an alternative to the Navigator and have a lot of the attributes of the Navigator, but just in a smaller package. The MSRP of a base Aviator is indeed considerably under that of the Navigator, at $59,885. The model I was supplied to test boasted another $16,850 of options on it brining the tot to just under $77,000. The question then becomes, would I rather save the $27,000 and go with the Aviator.
I would definitely save some money on fuel with the Aviator coming in at an EPA rated 24 mpg on the highway, somewhat of an improvement from the much larger Navigator. Both vehicles were equipped with V6 engines, but the Aviator was a 3.0 liter while the Navigator was a larger 3.5 liter.
In terms of onboard equipment, the Aviator lacked nothing in terms of being able to satisfy my needs as a driver and rider. There is more than enough room for our family of four, including rear air, which McKenzie and Hunter have often remarked is a definite must have for any vehicle in the Texas heat. The rear doors can also easily be set to be opened when they wish to leave the vehicle disabling that pesky child lock system. Other features meeting the entire family’s expectations and needs were all included, making the saving of $27,000 very attractive indeed.
The one aspect of the Aviator that I considered a drawback was the “piano key shifting system,” which I don’t appreciate in any vehicle. I will admit it saves center console space, which I assume is the reason so many have gone to similar push-button systems, but I still prefer the traditional gearshift.
Even with the Fed increasing interest rates, Lincoln still has some attractive financing available on either the Aviator or the Navigator for qualified buyers. Those rates will be in effect until January and run from 2.9% for three years, 36 months up to 6.9% for six years (72 months). For those who have managed to keep their credit in excellent condition, this provides some very good alternatives for buyers. For instance, a new Aviator with about $10000 toward vehicle (about 5K down payment and 5k toward tax, title and license) would run about $2100 monthly for a 36 month loan and a bit over $1,200 monthly the six year loan.