For 2005, the Lincoln Aviator receives a new chrome grille surround, four new exterior colours and a new Camel interior colour. AdvanceTrac with Roll Stability Control and a Class III trailer towing package become standard equipment. Standard wheels are now 17-inch, seven-spoke machined aluminum, while new 17-inch chrome-clad or full chrome wheels are optional.
Based on the Ford Explorer, the Aviator comes in a single, well-equipped trim line. Power is from a 4.6-litre V8 mated to a five-speed automatic transmission, and all Aviators receive full-time all-wheel-drive. Intended as a mid-size complement to the full-size Navigator, its cabin is all but a scaled-down clone of the larger truck, and its face is almost a twin. It comes out of the box with second-row bucket seats, but an optional bench seat turns it into a seven-passenger vehicle.
Standard equipment includes dual-zone climate control with auxiliary rear controls, six-CD stereo, HomeLink universal garage door opener, power locks, leather interior, heated and cooled front bucket seats with six-way power on both, third-row vinyl fold-flat two-passenger bench seat, power-adjustable pedals, driver’s side memory function, leather and wood trim with audio, climate and speed controls, power windows, power liftgate, heated power mirrors with integrated turn signals and puddle lights, rear park assist, keyless entry with driver’s door entry keypad, roof rack, tire pressure monitoring system and speed-sensitive variable intermittent wipers.
Available options include a power sunroof, DVD-based navigation system, fuel tank and transfer case skid plates, and rear-seat DVD entertainment system. An “Ultimate Package” bundles the navigation and rear-seat entertainment system with the sunroof and 17-inch chromed aluminum wheels.
Although it’s a more manageable and less expensive copy of the successful Navigator, the Aviator never really took off; it faces some very keen competition from such rivals as the Cadillac SRX and Lexus GX470, and in the U.S. market from the Mercury Mountaineer, also based on the Explorer. It’s expected to be replaced in 2007 by a more car-like crossover vehicle based on the Mazda6. Although it has an upscale interior, a more powerful engine and a unique spring and damper set-up for a luxury ride, the Aviator seems to prove that the buying public does have a limit on what it will pay for a Ford Explorer. If you want one, don’t wait until they’re gone.
The Aviator is built in St. Louis, Missouri.
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