The refreshed Lincoln lineup is now starting to catch up finally with the premium European luxury SUVs after being outshined by most of their rivals. If the Navigator is too large and in your face for you, the Ford Explorer based 2021 Lincoln Aviator sits right above the MKC and offers a similar level of premium appeal in a smaller footprint. Premium and striking interior and exterior design are just what attracts many prospective customers in the first place.
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Pricing and Features
Engine and Performance
Expert Review, Pricing Analysis and Buying Guide
The 2021 Aviator is powered by a powerful twin-turbo V6 producing a staggering 400 hp as standard. The latest technology and premium creature comforts make for a comfortable ride while the driver aids and smaller footprint make it easy to drive and park for the driver. With the MSRP starting at $52,665 for the base trim, it manages to undercut the prices of most of its rivals which include the Audi Q7, BMW X5, Cadillac XT6, and the Volvo XC90.
6.0/10 Engine and Performance
6.0/10 Fuel Economy
8.8/10 Final Verdict
2021 Lincoln Aviator Features
Ford has made sure that every buyer gets a feel of the premium appeal of this Lincoln and hence offers an extensive list of features right from the base Standard trim. The Reserve trim adds a lot more convenience features to it while the Black Label trims, although cost just too much, provides the perfect premium experience in the most American way possible. It is also only available with the AWD drivetrain as standard.
Blind Spot And Lane Departure Warnings
Front, Side, And Rear View Camera
Dusk Sensing LED Headlamps
Front Fog/Driving Lights
Adaptive Cruise Control
10-speaker audio system
14-speaker Revel audio system
28-speaker Revel audio system
Power Rear Seat Easy Entry
20-inch Painted Alloy Wheels
Automatic Parking Assist
Three Zone Climate Control
Four Zone Climate Control
Heated Steering Wheel
10-Way Power Heated Front Seats
12-Way Power Heated Front Seats
30-Way Power Heated/Ventilated & Massaging Front Seats
Premium Leather Upholstery
Reclining Rear Seats
Heated/Ventilated Rear Seats
19-inch Painted Alloy Wheels
22-inch Painted Alloy Wheels
Which trim should you buy?
Although the best and the most premium features are available only with top Black Label trim, it is not worth the super high price tag. In fact, it is best preferred to opt for the base Standard trim with an AWD drivetrain and spec the Aviator with the optional features as per your needs and choices.
2021 Lincoln Aviator Engine and Performance
Lincoln offers the Aviator as standard with a 3.0-liter twin-turbocharged V6 engine under its hood which is mated to a 10-speed automatic transmission that powers the rear wheels as standard. The engine is rated to produce a whopping 400 hp and 415 lb-ft of torque and can also be had with an optional AWD setup.
The engine is very refined which together with smooth and quick-shifting transmission manages to offer a pliant cruiser that can lunge forward with insane acceleration if need be. The 0-60 mph sprint takes 6 seconds while some independent testers have claimed a sub-5.5 second time as well. The 6,700 lbs maximum towing capacity is also one of the best in the segment by a huge margin.
Lincoln Aviator Standard
Audi Q7 Premium 45 TFSI
Cadillac XT6 Premium Luxury
Volvo XC90 T6 Momentum
3.0L, Twin-Turbo V6
2.0L, Turbocharged Inline-4
3.6L, Naturally Aspirated V6
2.0L, Turbo/Supercharged Inline-4
400 hp @ 5,500 rpm
248 hp @ 5,000 rpm
310 hp @ 6,600 rpm
316 hp @ 5,700 rpm
415 lb-ft @ 2,750 rpm
273 lb-ft @ 1,600 rpm
271 lb-ft @ 5,000 rpm
295 lb-ft @ 2,200 rpm
0-60 mph (sec)
Quarter Mile (sec)
Top Speed (mph)
Towing Capacity (lbs)
The Aviator isn’t just the most affordable SUV in here but also has a class-leading accelerating performance. The Cadillac XT6 costs a bit more and is about half a second slower than the Lincoln. The Audi Q7 is the slowest off the line while the Volvo XC90 is right on the tail of the Cadillac. Both the Q7 and XT6 have very low towing capacities and while the XC90 does fare, there is no competition to the tugging prowess of the Lincoln Aviator.
How does the 2021 Lincoln Aviator SUV handle?
The Lincoln engineers seem to have accepted the fact that sporty handling is not their piece of cake and instead of failing at that, they have managed to provide one of the plushest and comfortable rides that one can buy at this price point. Not that the Aviator is a bad handler at all, it is very predictable and feels planted even in the corners and yet doesn’t compromise on comfort.
The cabin quality is pretty solid too as it keeps even the V6 engines roar out. The steering doesn’t provide any feedback whatsoever but is pretty quick and direct in response. Opt for the adaptive suspension and the ride becomes even cozier and manages to keep the ride cushiony even with the optional large 22-inch wheels, and that’s some compliment that Lincoln engineers deserve.
2021 Lincoln Aviator Braking Performance
Brakes are probably the weakest aspect of this SUV as the pedal feels soft and difficult to modulate and the large and wallow nature of the Aviator does not ensure much stability as well. In terms of braking performance, the 2021 Aviator needs 119 feet of braking distance to come to halt for a 60-0 mph panic braking scenario in spite of featuring large 13.6-inch front and 13.8-inc rear disc brakes at all corners.
Audi Q7 45 TFSI
Volvo XC90 T6
Brake Rotors - Front (in)
Brake Rotors - Rear (in)
Curb Weight (lbs)
60-0 mph (ft)
The heavyweight and high stance is a probable reason for such mediocre braking performance which is also the case with the Audi Q7. Both the Cadillac XT6 and the Volvo XC90 are much lighter and in spite of having smaller brake rotors perform exceptionally well and manages to halt the vehicle at a stopping distance of just 113 feet in a panic braking situation from 60 mph.
2021 Lincoln Aviator Fuel Economy
The large, brawny, and premium SUVs which are focused more on being the ultimate luxury cruiser do not usually do that well in terms of frugality but the 2021 Aviator does not disappoint much in this regard. The 21 mpg of combined city and highway driving fuel efficiency which is reduced by about 1 mpg by opting for the AWD, is on par with the industry standards. The large 20.2-gallon fuel tank aids in offering over 400 miles of range on a single tank of gas.
Audi Q7 45 TFSI
Volvo XC90 T6
Fuel Tank Capacity (gal)
Range (City / Highway / Combined) (miles)
364 / 525 / 424
428 / 518 / 473
361 / 494 / 399
357 / 526 / 414
The Lincoln Aviator, Cadillac XT6, and the Audi Q7, all have identical overall fuel economy figures but the Audi Q7 returns a bit lower highway efficiency as compared to the other two. That being said, the much larger gas tank on offer translates to a longer driving range. The Volvo’s unique supercharged and turbocharged engine delivers a marginally better highway and overall fuel economy but employs a smaller gas tank which compromises the driving range.
2021 Lincoln Aviator Interior
The cabin of the Lincoln Aviator looks very premium and the designers have seemed to opt for the modern and minimalistic appeal which most of us would definitely grow a liking to. It although feels very European but isn’t quite up to the Audi, BMW, and Mercedes standard. Everything is within the reach of the driver and the lighter upholstery color lightens up the cabin making it feel roomy and airy.
The Lincoln feels more spacious than many of its rivals and offers plenty of space for all its occupants in all its three rows of seats. All the rows get abundant headroom and legroom on offer while sliding the middle row just a bit forward could ensure smooth sailing for third-row occupants as well. There are also many pockets and cubby holes around the cabin to comfortably haul a large family on a road trip.
Audi Q7 45 TFSI
Volvo XC90 T6
Front Row (Head / Shoulder / Leg) (in)
41.5 / 61.5 / 43.0
39.9 / 59.5 / 41.7
39.8 / 58.3 / 41.2
38.9 / 57.7 / 40.9
Second Row (Head / Shoulder / Leg) (in)
39.7 / 61.3 / 40.1
38.8 / 58.5 / 38.8
39.1 / 57.4 / 39.1
38.5 / 56.5 / 37.0
Third Row (Head / Shoulder / Leg) (in)
36.9 / 54.0 / 29.2
35.9 / 49.4 / 29.2
37.2 / 53.5 / 29.5
36.3 / 46.9 / 31.9
Trunk Capacity (cu-ft)
There is no doubt that the 2021 Lincoln Aviator has the most spacious cabin and cargo space in this comparison. The 18.3 cu-ft of luggage space can be extended to 77 cu-ft, which is also one of the best in this comparison. The Cadillac feels spacious for the passengers in all its rows but compromises on the luggage capacity. The Volvo on the other hand has the most amount of legroom in the third row but compromises space on the other two rows for that.
22-Way Power Adjustable Savannah Leather Heated/Ventilated Seats Front Seats
Fixed 50-50 Split-Bench Lincoln Soft Touch Leatherette 3rd Row Seat w/Power Fold Into Floor
Power Tilt/Telescoping Steering Column w/Heated Leather Steering Wheel
Voice Activated Dual Zone Front And Rear Automatic Air Conditioning w/Separate Rear Seat Controls
Memory Settings for Door Mirrors, Steering Wheel, Head Restraints, Audio and HVAC
What’s there to keep you entertained?
The 2021 Aviator employs a 10.1-inch touchscreen at the center of the dashboard with SYNC technology, similar to its Ford counterpart. The system interface is very intuitive and has now been used at least once by most Americans at some point in their life with its widespread use across all brands and models. There are plenty of functions and technologies on offer, but most of the premium ones are available only on the Black Label trim which needs shelling out of huge sums of money.
10.1-inch SYNC 3 Communication & Entertainment Infotainment System
28-speaker Revel Ultima 3D Audio System w/QuantumLogic Surround technology
SYNC AppLink, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto compatibility
Voice-activated Navigation System
SiriusXM Traffic and Travel Link w/a 6-year prepaid subscription
HD Radio and SiriusXM Satellite Radio w/3-month prepaid subscription
There is no doubt that Lincoln designs seem to have improved over the years and the current generation 2021 Aviator is one of their nicest designs. The headlights although seem very generic and the grille design might look a bit awkward to some, overall the front fascia looks very premium. At the sides, the almost straight window line with chrome embellishments and large yet stylish wheels attract a lot of attention.
The rear end is just beautiful to look at. The slim LED light bar that runs across the width of the car feels modern while the chrome rear bumper applique and quad exhaust tips add drama and aggression to the rear end. The Aviator misses out on LED fog lights as all other lights have LED lights as standard, but the wheels which range from 19-inch to 22-inch all look great.
Audi Q7 45 TFSI
Volvo XC90 T6
Curb Weight (lbs)
Ground Clearance (in)
There is not much difference in terms of length for most of these cars, except for the XC90 which is a few inches shorter. The 2021 Aviator is the widest and also has the longest wheelbase to offer which aids in opening up more space inside its cabin. The XT6 is the lightest of them all but also rides lower to the ground while the Q7 has a slightly higher stance. The Volvo XC90 on the other hand has the best ground clearance on offer.
Automatic Projector Beam LED Auto-Leveling Directionally Adaptive Auto High-Beam Daytime Running Lights Preference Setting Headlamps
Power Liftgate and Lip Spoiler
Rain Detecting Variable Intermittent Wipers w/Heated Jets And Wiper Park
Chrome Power Heated Side Mirrors w/Driver Auto Dimming, Power Folding, and Turn Signal Indicator
Dark Chrome Grille, Chrome Side Windows Trim, and Bodyside Insert
Express Open/Close Sliding And Tilting Glass Panoramic Vista Roof Sunroof w/Power Sunshade
Safety has hardly ever been a concern for a Ford car and the 5-star overall rating from the NHTSA and a “Top Safety Pick” accolade from the IIHS for the 2021 Lincoln Aviator is a prime example of it. Being a premium offering, Lincoln offers plenty of safety features and technologies to offer a hassle-free driving experience. Many of the available features are standard across the lineup and a highlight of the most prominent ones is listed below.
AdvanceTrac Electronic Stability Control (ESC) And Roll Stability Control (RSC)
Automatic Emergency Braking
Blind Spot Information System (BLIS)
Lane Departure Warning and Lane Keeping Assist
Active Park Assist Plus Automated Parking Sensors
360-Degree Camera w/Front & Rear Camera Washer
Tire Specific Low Tire Pressure Warning
2021 Lincoln Aviator Competition
2021 Lincoln Aviator vs Audi Q7
Going up against the German Giants would never be easy, but the 2021 Aviator does manage to perform really well against the Audi Q7. The Lincoln offers superior acceleration and towing performance while the fuel economy is also on par with the Q7. The cabin is more spacious and is loaded with all the latest gizmos that one might need. That being said, most of these features are available only on the top-end trim which takes the affordability factor out of consideration. There is no comparison to the German build and materials quality and the technology offered in the Q7 is far superior to the Aviator, and hence should be the preferred choice.
2021 Lincoln Aviator vs Cadillac XT6
With both the brands running for supremacy as the ultimate American luxury carmaker, both these SUVs are great offerings from their respective manufacturers. Both offer great performance and efficiency and also boast a premium cabin. That being said, at a more affordable price tag, the Lincoln Aviator has superior acceleration and towing capabilities is far more spacious for both passengers and their luggage, and also offers a great amount of safety and technology which is easier to use. Therefore, the 2021 Aviator is the clear winner in this comparison against the Cadillac XT6.
2021 Lincoln Aviator vs Volvo XC90
While the Volvo XC90 employs dual compression technology which aids it in providing a better fuel economy, the twin-turbo setup under the hood of the Aviator offers stronger acceleration and superior towing prowess. The Lincoln also offers a more spacious cabin with more space for luggage but the Volvo offers a more sophisticated and premium quality cabin which is what demands the higher price tag. Since the build and materials quality of the Aviator isn’t bad in any which way, we would prefer it over the Volvo.
2021 Lincoln Aviator Final Verdict
The Lincoln Aviator has become a very compelling offering in the three-row luxury SUV segment and showcases to the world the American levels of luxury very proudly. While the cabin materials quality could have been a bit better to match up with the Germans along with more sophisticated technology, the overall feel and experience are pretty luxe. If you are on the lookout for a premium luxury SUV and do not want to have the hassles of owning an expensive German car, the 2021 Lincoln Aviator could just be the right choice for you.