2021 Lincoln Aviator Grand Touring
2021 Lincoln Aviator Grand Touring in Ocean Drive Blue (a $695 option)

2021 Lincoln Aviator Grand Touring2015 Audi Q5

Class: Premium Midsize Crossover SUV

Miles driven: 145

Fuel used: 3.0 gallons

CG Report Card
Room and ComfortB+
Power and PerformanceB+
Fit and FinishA-
Fuel EconomyB
Report-card grades are derived from a consensus of test-driver evaluations. All grades are versus other vehicles in the same class. Value grade is for specific trim level evaluated, and may not reflect Consumer Guide's impressions of the entire model lineup.
Big & Tall Comfort
Big GuyA
Tall GuyA
Big & Tall comfort ratings are for front seats only. "Big" rating based on male tester weighing approximately 350 pounds, "Tall" rating based on 6'6"-tall male tester.
Engine Specs494-hp 3.0-liter
Engine Typetwin-turbo V6/plug-in hybrid
Transmission 10-speed automatic
Drive WheelsAWD

Real-world fuel economy: 48.5 mpg on gas/electric, 21.8 mpg on gas engine only

Driving mix: 65% city, 30% highway

EPA-estimated fuel economy: 56 MPGe/23 mpg (in combined city/highway driving)

Fuel type: Premium gas recommended

Base price: $68,900 (not including $1095 destination charge)

Options on test vehicle: Equipment Group 302A ($14,250; includes Lincoln Co-Pilot360 Plus Package, Luxury Package, Class IV Trailer Tow Package, Dynamic Handling Package), Ocean Drive Blue paint ($695)

Price as tested: $84,325


Quick Hits

The great: Satisfying acceleration with potentially excellent fuel economy; pure-electric operation for short trips; lavishly finished interior

The good: Lots of advanced comfort and convenience features; distinctive luxury personality; cushy ride

The not so good: Steep pricing; soft brake-pedal feel; plug-in-hybrid powertrain doesn’t feel particularly refined for a luxury-brand vehicle

More Aviator price and availability information


John Biel

There are premium-midsize SUVS with 3-row seating, and there are premium-midsize SUVs with plug-in-hybrid powerplants, but for model-year 2021 you could throw a fairly small net over the vehicles that are all of those things at once. That subset consists of the Volvo XC90 Recharge and the Lincoln Aviator Grand Touring.

2021 Lincoln Aviator Grand Touring
Outside of the ultra-lux Black Label models, the Grand Touring plug-in hybrid is the priciest Lincoln Aviator.

The Recharge is part of a family that impressed Consumer Guide enough to name the XC90 the “Best Buy” in the 2021 premium-midsize class for its spacious and luxuriously trimmed cabin, decent fuel economy from its 4-cylinder engines, and abundance of innovative and unconventional features. The Aviator is the newer design, having bowed for 2020 in tandem with a new-generation Ford Explorer from which it was derived. (Though greatly refreshed for ’20, the current XC90 dates from 2016.) Still, Recharges hold an advantage of eight cubic feet of maximum cargo space over the 77.7 available to Grand Touring owners, they get better gas-engine fuel mileage based on CG testing, and they’re cheaper with starting prices—including delivery—that run from $64,445 to $71,245. However, the Lincoln boasts a commanding lead in power and somewhat better all-electric driving range and towing capacity.

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2021 Lincoln Aviator Grand Touring
The Aviator Grand Touring’s cabin is dazzling in both design and materials, particularly in optioned-up form. Ambient interior lighting includes the front and rear cupholders and cubby bin behind the center console (set to green here).

A twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter V6 is the difference maker in the Aviator Grand Touring. When working in tandem with its electric motor, it produces a peak 494 horsepower and 630 lb-ft of torque—a good 94 ponies and 215 lb-ft more than the XC90 Recharge’s turbocharged and supercharged 2.0-liter four and motor make. With its hybrid battery fully charged, the Lincoln gets a projected 21 miles of all-electric operation, a 3-mile advantage over the Volvo, and the Detroiter’s 5600-pound towing capacity is 600 pounds more than its Swedish rival can pull.

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2021 Lincoln Aviator Grand Touring
An unconventional push-button gear selector is situated above the climate-control panel, near the center of the dashboard; we found the D (Drive) button to be a bit of a reach from the driver’s seat. The Sync 3 infotainment system has a clean, straightforward layout and the 10-inch touchscreen responds quickly to inputs.

In CG’s time with the Aviator Grand Touring, we charged the battery a couple times but let all gas use roll into a single end-of-test fill. When this reviewer had his turn in the vehicle, the initial indicated 20 miles of EV range finally zeroed out after 21.5 miles of electric driving—credit brake regeneration in the often stop-and-go evening-commute traffic for giving something back—and 23.5 miles overall, the gas engine having kicked in now and then as power needs dictated. From periods of outright EV operation and normal hybrid functioning, 55 percent of CG editors’ collective driving was electric powered. When it came time to visit the gas station after 145 test miles, it took just three gallons to fill the tank. That worked out to 21.8 mpg for miles covered by the gas engine (the XC90 hybrid was a good 8 mpg better in our 2020 test), but for all miles driven it felt like getting 48.5 mpg.

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2021 Lincoln Aviator Grand Touring
Our test vehicle wore attractive Sandstone-colored leather upholstery and was outfitted with Lincoln’s Perfect Position 30-way power-adjustable front seats. They offer an almost dizzying array of adjustments, but some of our editors wished for a bit more padding. Second-row seat space is generous.

Once the battery is depleted, it is projected to take about 3.5 hours to attain a full charge from a 240-volt source. To do so with a 110-volt feed would require almost 12 hours. The Grand Touring comes with a charging cord that can be used with either voltage, but it has a large, oddly shaped head that may not be compatible with every style of household electric outlet—it certainly wouldn’t go into a recessed covered plug on the exterior of this tester’s home.

As the numbers suggest, there’s plenty of power in the Aviator Grand Touring but of course that’s with the gas and electric sources working together. In purely electric operation, acceleration is more muted in the vehicle with a base curb weight of 5673 pounds. But bring the full powerteam (including a 10-speed automatic transmission) to bear and the Grand Touring is brisker in town and an easy cruiser on the highway. Rotate the console-mounted drive-mode selector from “Normal” to sportier “Excite” and a quicker throttle and delayed upshifts put an obvious spring in the big fellow’s step. Note that while all Aviators have five drive modes that modify suspension settings, steering, shift points, and ride height, the hybrid adds two more: “Pure EV” for all-electric driving and “Preserve EV” to selectively save stored energy for situations in which it might be most effective.

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2021 Lincoln Aviator Grand Touring
The second-row seats slide forward to ease access to the third-row seats, which are best suited for petite passengers.

Ride and handling register on the cushy side most of the time. An adaptive suspension is standard but the test truck added the optional Dynamic Handling Package with “Road Preview” that uses a camera to read the road surface ahead and alert the suspension so that it can adjust to what’s coming, and “Air Glide” air suspension that softens the ride and makes it possible for the Aviator to raise or lower itself for easier entry/exit or to address specific driving conditions. Excite makes ride a little firmer and sharpens handling and steering but doesn’t fully stanch the inherent sponginess. Aviator hybrids come with all-wheel drive. In terms of braking, the Grand Touring displays a bit of the soft, long-travel pedal feel that afflicts many hybrids, and when it finally comes to a stop, that’s accompanied by a pitching motion.

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2021 Lincoln Aviator Grand Touring
The Aviator offers competitive cargo room. There’s 18.3 cubic feet of cargo space behind the third-row seats, which grows to 41.8 cu. ft. with the third-row seats folded and 77.7 cu. ft. with both the second and third rows folded.

The Grand Touring that CG tested started at $69,995 with delivery but topped out at $84,325 with its optional equipment group and Ocean Drive Blue paint. However, that still puts it behind the Black Label Grand Touring with a base price of $89,430. Seventy large buys 21-inch alloy wheels, bright quad tips for the dual-exhaust system, smoke-chrome grille, panoramic sunroof, hands-free liftgate, 12-inch digital instrument cluster, 10-inch stand-up touchscreen for the Sync 3 infotainment system, and 4-zone climate control. Leather-upholstered seating is for six with middle-row captain’s chairs and a storage console, but a bench with an additional seating position is available. The Lincoln Co-Pilot360 suite of safety features bundles forward-collision warning with automatic emergency braking, lane-keep assist, and blind-spot and rear cross-traffic alerts.

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2021 Lincoln Aviator Grand Touring
The Grand Touring’s  twin-turbo 3.0-liter V6 pairs with an electric motor to put out an impressive 494 horsepower and 630 pound-feet of torque. Our tester was outfitted with 21-inch machined aluminum wheels with painted pockets.

Our test Grand Touring had the same levels—and quirks—of room, comfort, and functionality that were in the gas-engine Aviator Reserve we drove in 2020, and we’ll direct you to that review for details. In terms of refinement and general economy, this Lincoln might not be a better buy than the XC90 Recharge. However, it does some things differently that might make all the difference to shoppers.

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2021 Lincoln Aviator Grand Touring
The Lincoln Aviator offers a distinctive luxury look and feel inside and out, and the Grand Touring offers the rare combination of a plug-in-hybrid powertrain and three rows of seating.

Check out the Consumer Guide Car Stuff Podcast

2021 Lincoln Aviator Grand Touring Gallery

(Click below for enlarged images)

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