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Drivers who want sophistication and style but still need room for more than five find themselves looking at the three-row luxury SUV market. Within this segment of the market, there are two distinct groups. The first one earns its luxury tag through its performance, while the second prioritizes comfort instead.
The 2021 Lincoln Aviator falls firmly in the second group. Although it does offer a hybrid powertrain and upgrades like an air-adaptive suspension, the focus is primarily on things that enhance the experience inside of the cabin. That said, it does offer a satisfying amount of horsepower.
This SUV debuted a new generation just last year and has nearly every interior feature you can imagine at least available. Moving into 2021, only minor changes have been made to this midsize SUV. The Black Label trim level gains soft-closing doors, for example, and Ocean Drive Blue and Asher Grey join the list of available paint options.
Five trim levels exist of the Aviator, all of which are quite luxurious. Since they all have impressive standard equipment lists, it can difficult to decide how high on the trim ladder you should go. The information laid out in the following guide should help to simplify the decision-making process.
Compare the 2021 Lincoln Aviator Standard vs Aviator Reserve Trim Level. What is the difference?
Powering the Standard is a turbocharged 3.0L V6 that pumps out 400-horsepower along with 415 lb-ft of torque. To ensure the Aviator can move smoothly, a ten-speed automatic transmission is paired with this engine. The Standard is one of two models that come equipped with rear-wheel drive but it can also upgrade to all-wheel drive if you would prefer.
This standard powertrain provides fuel economy numbers that are considered average for this vehicle class. Rear-wheel-drive models will have the Aviator getting 18mpg city and 26mpg highway. As for all-wheel-drive models, they go down to 17mpg city and 24mpg highway.
Underneath the Standard are 18-inch aluminum wheels. There is stylish chrome on the grille along with full LED headlights. Also found here are Lincoln Signature daytime running lights. Moving to the back, quad chrome exhaust tips and a dual exhaust system help to leave behind a lasting impression.
On top of looking sleek, the exterior of the Aviator Standard is practical. It has a power liftgate, roof rack, and acoustic-laminated glass for the front row of seats. The side mirrors are power-adjustable, power-folding, heated, and even include turn signal integration.
When equipped with the second-row bench seat, the Aviator can seat up to seven people. Captain's chairs are not an option for this entry-level model. Cargo space is impressive, especially when compared to luxury rivals. You will find 18.3 cubic feet behind the third row, 41.8 cubic feet behind the second row, and 77.7 cubic feet behind the first row.
The luxury theme continues inside the cabin. Tri-zone automatic climate control comes standard, along with a leather-wrapped steering wheel with mounted audio and cruise controls. The front seats are power-adjustable as well as heated and a heated steering wheel is an optional feature.
As far as the upholstery, the Standard gives you Lincoln's soft-touch seats, which is essentially an upscale cloth. The second-row features a power tip-and-slide release feature for easy access to the back. Speaking of the very back, that third-row of seats has a 50/50 power-folding feature.
The infotainment system is displayed on a 10.3-inch touchscreen. Highly desirable features such as a Wi-Fi hotspot, Android Auto, and Apple CarPlay all come standard. You also get an eye-catching digital instrument cluster, which significantly adds to the high-tech and upscale feel of the Aviator Standard.
It is no surprise that advanced safety features are standard across the board for this three-row SUV in 2021. All models have a pre-collision assist that comes with pedestrian detection, dynamic brake support, and automatic emergency braking. The standard rearview camera has a built-in washer so that it is always clear and useful. A lane-keeping system and post-collision braking are standard as well.
The Reserve trim is the second option on the list. It has the same engine and same standard drivetrain as the entry-level model. Setting the Reserve apart from the Standard are the wheels, which are 20-inch aluminum. There are two different styles of 22-inch wheels available for this model as well.
LED fog lamps are standard here. This is the first model to offer adaptive LED pixel headlights for the Aviator. As for the tailgate, this trim adds on the hands-free function that so many drivers appreciate.
The seating is reduced to six for the Reserve as the result of second-row captain's chairs. If you would prefer, a second-row bench can be had as well. This model gets genuine leather upholstery.
While the Standard has tri-zone climate control, the Reserve upgrades to quad-zone. It also adds ambient interior lighting to the cabin. An advanced air filtering system is included, and if you decide you need some fresh air, this model adds a panoramic sunroof.
The Standard model had a decently impressive sound system with 10-speakers. This is not enough for the Reserve model, however, which upgrades to a 14-speaker system from Revel. Integrated navigation, which was merely optional on the entry-level trim, now becomes standard.
That essentially sums up the differences in standard features. However, the Reserve has an extensive number of both packages and stand-alone options that it can add to the Aviator. Perhaps the most significant one is the Lincoln CoPilot 360 Plus package, which adds on things such as evasive steering assist, an automated parking system, and adaptive cruise control.
Compare the 2021 Lincoln Aviator Reserve vs Aviator Black Label Trim. What is the difference?
The Black Label is the first trim level that comes automatically with all-wheel drive. Sleek 22-inch wheels with black-painted pockets are the only option for this model. Also unique is the exclusive Black Label grille. The previously optional adaptive LED pixel headlights are standard for this midlevel trim and the windshield wipers become heated.
Also found on the Black Label trim is the Lincoln Lit Star. Located in the grille, this illuminated accent helps you to see and be seen because it stays lit while the vehicle is on. It can also light up when you approach, helping you make your way to the vehicle after dark.
Inside, many features that were available for the Reserve trim level are now standard. This means you get heated and ventilated front-row seats, heated and ventilated second-row outboard seats, and even a heated steering wheel. The driver and front passenger go up to 30-way power-adjustment, making it easy to find the perfect positioning for a long drive. Active noise cancellation also is included here, along with fancy soft-close doors.
Technology upgrades are definitely worth noting as well, with a 28-speaker sound system becoming standard. This model also gets a wireless charging pad and the ability to use a compatible smartphone as a key. All of the high-tech safety features found in the CoPilot 360 Plus package are now included standard.
The Black Label name also comes with special membership privileges. This means the Aviator comes with a premium maintenance plan that will cover up to four service visits, provided they happen within the first four years or 50,000 miles. Drivers can also use these services to schedule pickup and delivery for their Aviator when it needs to go in for maintenance.
Compare the 2021 Lincoln Aviator Black Label vs Aviator Grand Touring - What is the Difference?
Going with the Grand Touring model will mean forgoing all of those premium membership services. That said, it is the first trim to go with the hybrid powertrain. The same V6 engine is utilized, but there is also a battery-powered electric motor along with regenerative braking. This powertrain can produce 494-horsepower and an awe-inspiring 630 lb-ft of torque.
Fuel efficiency gets a lot more appealing when it comes to this powertrain. It is estimated to have an electric-only range of 21 miles. You can expect to see 56MPGe from this setup.
When it comes to features, this model builds on the Reserve rather than the Black Label. The wheel size is 21-inches and they feature dark alloy accents. In the front, the Grand Touring has a unique "dark smoke" grille design.
The standard Grand Touring loses things like the heated and ventilated seats. They can be added back, however, using the Grand Touring I Package. This also adds back the CoPilot 360 safety features.
Also available is the Grand Touring II package. With this, the Aviator gains an adaptive air-ride suspension. It also adds the 30-way power-adjustable seats and premium 28-speaker audio system that are found on the Black Label model.
Compare the 2021 Lincoln Aviator Grand Touring vs Aviator Grand Touring Black Label. What is the difference?
The Grand Touring Black Label model is exactly what you think it is. It has the powertrain found underneath the hood of the Grand Touring along with all of the perks and features that come with being a Lincoln Black Label SUV.
This model is the only one to come standard with the adaptive air-ride suspension. It can actually lower the vehicle for when you need to hop in or climb out. While the Black Label sits on 22-inch wheels, the Grand Touring Black Lable sticks with the 21-inch option.
Inside, this trim looks the same as the standard Black Label. This is the only trim that is not able to swap out the second-row captain's chairs, however, which is something for larger families to keep in mind. Due to the fact that it comes with every feature available for the 2021 Aviator, there are no available packages for the Grand Touring Black Label.
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Which Trim to Choose?
The Lincoln Aviator is pricey, especially if you want those Black Label perks. Drivers will need to decide if they will ever actually use those services before committing to one of these models. As impressive as they are, the Black Label Aviators feel like they primarily come with bells and whistles.
If you are interested in a hybrid, stick with the standard version of the Grand Touring. It will get you that amazing fuel economy along with heart-pounding power, plus plenty of luxury and convenience features. On top of that, it comes standard will all-wheel drive.
On the other hand, if you are not necessarily after a hybrid, the Reserve trim level becomes the clear choice. As nice as the Standard is, it falls just short of earning that luxury label. The Reserve trim, with its leather upholstery and ambient lighting, does a better job of earning its price tag. As a bonus, it offers a long list of available upgrades, allowing for more personalization of the Aviator.
If you can live without a hybrid powertrain and exclusive membership perks, the 2021 Lincoln Aviator Reserve is the right choice.
• Compare the 2020 Lincoln Aviator Trim Levels