“Lincoln Aviator” is a name that hasn’t been in production since 2005. The original Lincoln Aviator was a short-lived SUV based on the third-generation Ford Explorer. It was a body-on-frame luxury SUV that only lasted three model years. Luxury SUVs are all the rage now, but the Aviator just didn’t sell well enough to justify keeping it around. Now the Aviator name is coming back to the Lincoln family as the brand gradually phases out its “MK” nomenclature and makes a return to model names that are words rather than letters.
A new Aviator will replace the aging MKT as Lincoln’s second-biggest SUV slotted below the Navigator and it’s expected to share its parent company's new modular Ford C6 platform with the next-gen Explorer. Lincoln confirmed the long-rumored return of the Aviator in this teaser on social media. The teaser doesn’t tell us much of anything at all, but we can see that the new SUV will share some styling cues from its big brother, the Navigator.
In a press release, Lincoln says the new Aviator is “the first of two all-new utilities that Lincoln will bring to market in the next two years as it grows its utility portfolio and commits to electrification across its lineup globally.” Could this thing have a hybrid option right out of the gate? We know Ford is committed to electrification and is serious about making it happen soon, so maybe we’re about to see that in action with the debut of the Aviator.
And what about the second all-new utility that Ford alluded to? Our best guess is a replacement for the MKC, Lincoln’s smallest crossover that shares a platform with the Ford Escape. With the MKX being replaced by the Nautilus, the little MKC is about to become the oldest SUV in Lincoln’s lineup and it’s only been around since the 2015 model year.
The new Aviator will likely be a 2019 model possibly still coming to dealers at some point in 2018. The new SUV will debut at the New York Auto Show on Wednesday, March 28.