The 2020 Lincoln Aviator Black Label: luxurious AND fun to drive!

A layman’s review

Tammye Nash | Managing Editor

I am not a “car expert.” I can’t tell you all the technical details about any car or truck or tank or whatever. I can’t compare the specs of different makes and models. But I DO love to drive, and I CAN tell what I like and don’t like about vehicles I have had the opportunity to drive.

Recently, the folks at Randall Reed Planet Lincoln Dallas Love Field (the largest car dealership in the world) offered me the chance to drive one of their vehicles for a weekend and write what I call “a layman’s review” of it. That’s what this is — my review of the 2020 Lincoln Aviator.

William Stalik, the general sales manager at Planet Lincoln, set up this extended test drive for me. I was tickled at the opportunity, but when he pointed out the vehicle I would be driving, I admit I felt a bit of trepidation. The Lincoln Aviator is a BIG vehicle — three-row seating and just one step down from the biggest Lincoln SUV, the Navigator — and that kind of intimidating for someone who usually drives a sub-compact sedan.

Besides being a little intimidated at the thought of having to steer that much metal around DFW’s busy streets, I was a teensy bit disappointed that I would be driving this land yacht, rather than something smaller, sportier and more responsive. Trust me though, neither the intimidation nor the disappointment lasted past the first five minutes of driving.

I was worried that the Aviator would “drive big,” that it would feel heavy and wouldn’t respond to the steering wheel or the accelerator. But that wasn’t the case at all. Car & Driver tells me that the 2020 Aviator has a 400-hp twin-turbo V6 with a 10-speed automatic transmission that will get you 0-60 in about 5 seconds. I didn’t measure any of that. But I can tell you this: If you decide you need to get around that car in front of you that’s not going quite fast enough, just push that gas pedal down and the Aviator is gonna give you the power and the speed you need to do just that.

The steering is delicate and responsive — but not too delicate. You don’t have to worry that a sneeze at the wrong time is gonna send you careening willy-nilly across the interstate. But at the same time, if you need to dodge that truck that just suddenly stopped in front of you on the highway, or that kid that darted out in front of you down the block from your house, the Aviator will respond.

Another thing that I at first worried would detract from the experience was the heads-up display. I never allow anyone to put anything on the dashboard of whatever vehicle I am driving; the reflection in the windshield irritates the hell out of me and interferes with my view of the road. I was worried that the heads-up display would do the same thing. Again, I was wrong. In fact, the heads-up display actually made me feel safer and more confident as I drove. And of course if you decide you don’t like it, you can turn off the heads up display.

As I said, I am no car expert, and I have never reviewed a vehicle before. So there are a lot of things I didn’t even think to test out as I was test-driving. The Aviator has so many features, it would have taken the whole weekend just to figure it all out! So I didn’t try, although I do wish I had taken the time to test out the adaptive cruise control, which adjusts your speed to keep you a safe distance from other vehicles on the road. I did love the lane-keeping assistance, the traffic sign recognition and the forward collision warning and blind-spot monitoring.

Just about every newer vehicle these days has a rearview camera to help you keep an eye out for hazards behind you. But the Aviator also gives you a 360-degree view that helps you make sure you are parking perfectly. And while most newer cars have jazzy “infotainment” systems, I don’t have that in my car, and the system in the Aviator offered great sound with an easy-to-navigate menu via the GIANT screen on the dashboard.

There is so much more to say about the luxury and the technology of the Lincoln Aviator (and, honestly Planet Lincoln itself, which is almost as much an experience as are the vehicles). But I am going to end by talking about the seats. See, for someone like me, who deals with constant back and joint pain, the seats are the most special thing about the Aviator. It isn’t just the plush leather that lets you sink in and settle in for the ride. These seats let you adjust them nine ways to Sunday, right down to individual adjustments under each of your legs, so that you can drive any distance comfortably, no matter how far.

Oh, and both front seats are heated and cooled, and they both have BUILT-IN MASSAGES! I mean, what else do you need to know? I know I didn’t want to give those keys back at the end of the weekend!

The technical stuff: I drove a 2020 Lincoln Aviator Black Label, base price of $77,697 and $80,695 with all the options I got. Car & Driver says the basic Aviator starts at $52,195, and prices go up from there for the Reserve, the Grand Touring, the Black Label and the Grand Touring Black Label. The model I drove gets about 20 mpg combined city/highway and gets an overall vehicle score of 5 stars on the Government 5-Star Safety Ratings. I didn’t download it, but Lincoln owners get the Lincoln Ways

App that lets you remotely start, lock and unlock your car, locate your vehicle and check your approximate fuel range, and receive vehicle health alerts.