|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 / four-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 was a luxury mid-size sport utility vehicle (SUV) produced by the Ford Motor Company's Lincoln luxury division. It was introduced in for the 2002 model year, and production ended in 2005. The Aviator was built exclusively at Ford's St. Louis Assembly plant in Hazelwood, Missouri. Its direct competitor, which is also based on a light truck platform, was the Lexus GX. Other rivals include mid-size and full-size crossover vehicles such as the Cadillac SRX.
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. Indeed, 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 held it out of contention for the top spots.
Despite the initial praise, the Aviator was a poor seller for Lincoln—with many hypothesizing that its all-too-familiar looks were to blame—and was quickly discontinued in August 2005. Originally, the Aviator was supposed to be on hiatus for the 2006 model year and reappear based on the CD3 platform the next year. However, Ford scrapped the Aviator name, opting to instead name its official successor the MKX. The MKX was unveiled at the 2006 North American International Auto Show and went on sale in December 2006 as a 2007 model. The Aviator came with a standard V-8 engine while the MKX is equipped with Ford's Duratec V-6 engine. The Aviator also had a larger seating capacity as well as a larger towing capacity thus making the MKX not a true successor to the Aviator.
The Aviator was sold alongside the Mercury Mountaineer, another clone of the Ford Explorer. When the Aviator was discontinued, Ford offered luxury standard and optional equipment on the third generation Mountaineer to offer the luxury SUV buyers a choice between the capable Mercury and the Lincoln MKX.
The last Lincoln Aviator rolled off the assembly line on August 19, 2005
|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)|