2019 Lincoln Aviator and Cadillac XT4 Teased: The Future of American Luxury?
Premium Brands Emphasize Crossovers for New York Auto Show
Lincoln and Cadillac both teased their debuts for the 2018 New York International Auto Show recently, proving the brands are recommitting to one of the hottest vehicle segments around: luxury crossovers.
Cadillac released a teaser video and some images of the company’s new 2019 XT4 compact SUV, which is expected to make an appearance in New York. The XT4 will likely be based on the D2XX architecture that underpins the Chevrolet Equinox and GMC Terrain, but unlike those family SUVs, the Cadillac will make some practicality sacrifices to style. For example, even the shadowy teaser video betrays the XT4’s steeply raked backlight, bookended by vertical taillamps that take their inspiration from the fullsize Escalade. That little touch, combined with the XT4’s unique front signature LED lighting, will make it abundantly clear to passersby that this machine is a Cadillac.
We don’t know much about what will appear under the skin, but expect a standard leather interior, the latest iteration of Cadillac’s CUE infotainment system, and a 2.0L turbocharged I-4 engine producing at least as much as it does in the Equinox: 252 hp and 260 lb-ft. The XT4 will likely offer interior space on par with the BMW X3, Mercedes-Benz GLC, Lexus NX, and Lincoln MKC, but it should offer a decent value quotient with a starting price in the mid-$30,000 range.
Lincoln’s big news for New York is the return of the Aviator badge to the company’s utility vehicle lineup. The old Aviator, sold for the 2003-2005 model years, was a midsize sport-ute with a 4.6L V-8 engine. Based on the contemporary Ford Explorer, it offered mini-Navigator styling and luxury, as well as gas-guzzling thirst.
Like its predecessor, the new Aviator will also be based on (now-unibody) Explorer bones—reportedly the next-generation CD6 platform that’ll appear under the 2020 Ford Explorer. The modular platform will accommodate front-, rear-, and all-wheel-drive configurations, though the Explorer and Aviator will be all-wheel-drive machines with a rear-wheel bias. Expect standard seating for seven in both the Lincoln and Ford.
The Aviator will likely boast upmarket versions of the Explorer’s engines, just as the Lincoln MKC does with its Ford Escape sibling. Expect the Aviator to come standard with a 3.0L twin-turbocharged V-6, a mill that makes 400 hp and 400 lb-ft in the 2018 Lincoln Continental sedan. Lincoln’s teaser press release for the 2019 Aviator also includes some copy about the company’s commitment to electrified vehicles, so expect a hybrid version as well, possibly with plug-in capability.
As traditional luxury buyers flock from sedans to high-riding crossovers, Lincoln and Cadillac are wise to bolster their SUV credentials. By offering an entry-level luxury crossover, Cadillac will be able to introduce a new generation of shoppers to their brand, folks who might eventually move from their compact XT4s into Escalades and XT5s as their families (and incomes) grow.
And with the three-row Aviator, Lincoln is providing customers a family SUV option that doesn’t require jumping up to the fullsize, body-on-frame Navigator. And if the Aviator can match the smaller Nautilus and recently facelifted MKC for style, it’ll likely be a very pretty thing as well.
We’ll know more next week, so stay tuned for more 2018 New York International Auto Show coverage right here.
Sources: Cadillac, Lincoln