That toothy chrome grille looks good on Lincoln's new midsize Aviator sport/utility vehicle. Large, square taillamps and bold fender lines fit the styling of this new Ford Explorer/Mercury Mountaineer-based SUV better than they fit the just-replaced first-generation Navigator. The Aviator joins the Mountaineer and a new Navigator in Lincoln Mercury showrooms late this summer, with the Explorer/Mountaineer's five-speed automatic transmission and short/long-arm four-wheel independent suspension intact.
While Explorer and Mountaineer have a standard 4.0L/210-hp V-6 and an optional SOHC 4.6L V-8 making 240 hp and 280 lb-ft, the Aviator's sole engine is a twin-cam DOHC version of the aluminum-block 4.6 V-8. Target horsepower and torque is in the 290-300 range for each. Rear drive is standard; full-time all-wheel drive and a high-range-only four-wheel drive with stability control system are available.
The interior, which advances Lincoln's new design theme, has a three-section dash that mimics the new Navigator. It features a center section trimmed in brushed aluminum down to the gearshift and console, and it's surrounded by rich wood, leather, and vinyl. New Lincoln interiors are designed to be modern interpretations of classic Continental interiors from the '60s. It's an appealing package, one that undoubtedly has Cadillac designers working hard to adapt Art & Science style to the lame-duck Oldsmobile Bravada.