|Manufacturer||Ford Motor Company|
|Assembly||Hazelwood, Missouri, USA|
|Body and chassis|
|Class||Mid-size luxury sport utility vehicle|
|Body style||5-door SUV|
|Layout||Front engine, rear-wheel drive / all-wheel drive|
|Platform||Ford U1 platform|
Ford Sport Trac
|Engine||4.6 L 32-valve, 4-valve-per-cylinder DOHC Modular V-8|
|Transmission||5-speed 5R55E overdrive automatic|
|Wheelbase||113.7 in (2,888 mm)|
|Length||193.3 in (4,910 mm)|
|Width||73.9 in (1,877 mm)|
|Height||71.9 in (1,826 mm)|
|Successor||Lincoln MKX (officially)
Lincoln MKT (full-size, seven-passenger CUV)
Mercury Mountaineer third generation (luxury version of the Ford Explorer)
The Lincoln Aviator is a luxury sport-utility vehicle (SUV) produced by Ford Motor Company for its Lincoln-Mercury division, introduced in the latter part of 2002 as a 2003 model and marketed through model year 2005.
As a rebadged variant to the Mercury Mountaineer and Ford Explorer four-door SUVs, the Aviator was manufactured at St. Louis Assembly in Hazelwood, Missouri along with the Ford Explorer and Mercury Mountaineer.
Comparison to Ford Explorer and Mercury Mountaineer
On the outside, the Aviator shared most of its sheetmetal with its Ford and Mercury counterparts, with the exception of the grille, headlights, and rear tailgate and taillights. The Aviator was also equipped with unique running boards and outside mirrors. The interior of the Aviator was practically identical to the Mountaineer, instead of "LINCOLN" for the Navigator radio cover, the radio cover on the Aviator spelled out "AVIATOR".
Trim Levels and Features
For 2003, the Aviator was available in Luxury and Premium trim levels. All model years were standard with "RWD" or optional "AWD". For 2004, the Premium trim was renamed Ultimate, in line with other Lincoln models. For 2005, a single Luxury trim was available. To differentiate it from the Explorer and Mountaineer, The Aviator was given upscale leather on the seats and a different dashboard reminiscent of the dashboards of the early 1960s Lincoln Continentals and an instrument cluster with electroluminescent gauges and needles. The interior was also fitted with real American Walnut wood trim on doors, dash and top half of the steering wheel, the Aviator was fitted with standard rear bucket seats and a center console (a bench seat was a no-cost option). Top-of-the-line models were fitted with heated/cooled seats, and HID Xenon headlamps. With the exception of the 2005 model year, standard features on the 2003 Premium or 2004 Ultimate were available as standalone options on the Luxury model for 2005. For 2005 you could get the elite package on all 2005 "RWD or "AWD" Aviators that bundled all of the standard features of the 2003 "Premium" or the 2004 "Ultimate". Rear DVD player was optional on all models as well as a DVD based navigation was optional on all 2003 "Premium", 2004 "Ultimate", For 2005 the navigation was only available with the new "elite package" on the 2005 model year. A standard towing package was fitted to all "AWD" Aviators with a heavy duty towing package optional on either "RWD" or "AWD" models.
The Aviator featured dual front and side airbags, side curtain airbags, stability control, and traction control (AdvanceTrac on AWD models)
Kitty Hawk Special Edition
To commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Wright Brothers' 1903 flight at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, the 100th anniversary of Ford Motor Company. Lincoln created a "Kitty Hawk" limited edition of the Aviator; it was the official vehicle of the 2003 EAA Countdown to Kitty Hawk. Along with special Kitty Hawk badging and trim, the limited-edition vehicles were fitted with special wood trim which is mink zebrano, argent painted and chrome grille, and a rear spoiler, chrome exhaust tip, chrome wheels, Xenon (HID) headlamps, black premium leather heated/cooled seats with Kitty Hawk logo embossed on front seat backs, black carpet floor mats with stitched Kitty Hawk logo, available only in black exterior color.
Marketing and Reception
Lincoln played up the similarity to the Navigator full-size SUV with magazine ads that read, "Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. Especially when it's yourself you're imitating." The Aviator seemed to have been met with relatively positive press coverage.
While the Aviator's styling borrowed cues from its big brother, the Navigator, it also looked similar to the very widespread Ford Explorer that it shared a platform with. Also working against the Aviator was that it was priced similar to the larger and relatively popular Ford Expedition, though the Ford SUV was marketed to the middle class, while the Lincoln was marketed to the upper middle class. Car and Driver magazine said in a comparison test, in which the Aviator tied for fifth place, that only the car's high price and lack of certain features and no low range with the "AWD" model held it out of contention for the top spots.
The 4.6 L DOHC Modular V-8 from the Ford Mustang Mach 1 and the Mercury Marauder was the standard engine. It produced 302 hp (225 kW) and 300 ft-lbs of torque, 2 more hp than the 5.4L Triton V8 in the Navigator but torque was 55 ft-lbs less than the big brother Navigator. Power was sent to either the rear wheels or all wheels with a 5-speed 5R55E overdrive automatic.
The Lincoln Aviator was rated to get 13 City/18 Hwy for rear wheel drive models (RWD) and 12 City/17 Hwy for all wheel drive models (AWD). The Lincoln Aviator had a 22.5 gallon tank to support its thirsty 4.6L V8 and with a range of 247–460 miles on a tank depending on mpg of the drivers driving habits. The Lincoln Aviator also requires premium fuel (91+).
The Aviator and was scheduled for cancellation after the 2005 model year and the last Aviator was manufactured on August 19, 2005
Ford intended for the Lincoln Aviator to skip the 2006 model year and reappear as an early 2007 model based on the CD3 platform; a concept vehicle previewing this model appeared at the 2004 Detroit Auto Show. However, as Lincoln revised its branding, all future Lincoln vehicles (aside from the Navigator and Town Car) were branded with an MK nomenclature. The Aviator name was dropped; its successor was the Lincoln MKX, a crossover-utility vehicle based on the Ford Edge. A 5-passenger unibody vehicle powered by a V6 engine, the MKX is a different vehicle type than the body-on-frame, V8-powered Aviator.
|Calendar Year||American sales|
- "Lincoln's derailed gravy train hitches to another car." Car and Driver, December 2002.
- "The Bradsher Bunch", Car and Driver, January 2003.
- "Ford's F-Series Truck Caps 22nd Year in a Row as America's Best-Selling Vehicle With a December Sales Record". Theautochannel.com. 2004-11-17. Retrieved 2009-04-28.
- "Ford Achieves First Car Sales Increase Since 1999". Theautochannel.com. 2004-11-17. Retrieved 2009-04-28.
- "Ford Motor Company 2007 sales". January 3, 2008.
|« previous Lincoln, a luxury division of Ford Motor Company – road car timeline, 1980–present|
|Mid-size||Versailles||Continental (Fox)||Continental (D186)||Continental (D186)||Zephyr/MKZ (CD3)||MKZ (CD4)|
|Full-size||Continental (Panther)||Town Car||Town Car||Town Car|
|Personal luxury car|
|Mark Series||Continental Mark VI||Continental Mark VII||Mark VIII|
|Full-size SUV||Navigator (UN173)||Navigator (U228)||Navigator (U326)|
|Pickup truck||Blackwood||Mark LT||Mark LT (Mexico)|