Behind the Wheel

2020 Lincoln Aviator Grand Touring Black Label Review: Not quite alright, alright, alright

The Lincoln Aviator is regal looking but not great to drive or ride in.

Photo courtesy of Lincoln Motor Co.

The 2020 Lincoln Aviator debut to almost unanimous accolades. It was heralded as good looking, a fantastic step in the right direction for the resurgence of the brand, and possessing a touch of the future with its promised hybrid powertrain. Then, it was driven and the competition stepped up its game.

The Aviator sits in Lincoln's lineup between the smaller Nautilus, itself larger than the Corsair, and below the full-size Navigator. It's technically a midsize SUV with three rows of seating - two of which are usable for adults. The Lincoln Aviator Black Label Grand Touring is the pinnacle of the lineup. It's a new SUV for the 2020 model year and part of the lineup featured in commercials starring Matthew McConaughey.

2020 Lincoln Aviator & Aviator Hybrid The Aviator is a three-row midsize SUV. Photo courtesy of Lincoln Motor Company

Under its hood is a twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter V6 that provides 400 horsepower and 415 pound-feet of torque. The hybrid powertrain is completed by a 10-speed automatic transmission. The power is delivered smoothly and efficiently but lacks any robustness a driver may be wanting from a 400-horsepower vehicle. The problem isn't simply off the line, but also down the line.

The car doesn't particularly spark joy to drive. It has all the technology one would expect to make the drive pleasurable, but it's not anything that differentiates it from the rest of the crop.

The interior of the Aviator is a replica of the Navigator's. Though elegantly designed, it lacks the execution to make it arise to the next level of luxury that the tester's over $80,000 price tag would make you want. The good news is that the price tag reflects the fact that nearly all options boxes come checked on the model.

Lincoln's 30-way adjustable front seats are in the model and offer massage capability and lumbar support in addition to a sizable amount of cushion movement. Despite all the adjustability, it's not easy to get comfortable. The same problem persists in the Genesis G90, which has nearly the same level of adjustability. Maybe less is more in this respect?

2020 Lincoln Aviator & Aviator Hybrid The Aviator employs much of the same styling as the Lincoln Navigator. Photo courtesy of Lincoln Motor Company

The car's long list of standard and available features makes riding in the Aviator a pleasurable experience. Getting a top-tier model adds a panoramic sunroof, quad-zone climate control, wireless device charging, a 28-speaker Revel Ultima 3D audio system, HD Radio, navigation, six USB ports, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, a Wi-Fi hot spot, a 10.1-inch infotainment touch screen, and satellite radio.

The Lincoln Co-Pilot360 safety offerings are especially well executed and it's earned some of the highest marks possible from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

There are several parts of the Aviator that win it points, but those are mostly the same as in the Navigator. It is well-appointed, has unique infotainment text that makes the system look more refined, abundant cargo space, and phone-as-key functionality. But, it's not as upscale as its German and Japanese rivals and not as invigorating to drive.

2020 Lincoln Aviator & Aviator Hybrid Lincoln has given the Aviator a good amount of cargo space. Photo courtesy of Lincoln Motor Company

Simply put, the Aviator doesn't live up to its price tag. When compared to the redesigned Acura MDX, the Aviator costs $20,000 more and is not nearly as nice to ride in or drive. The Kia Telluride and Hyundai Palisade, though not in the luxury category, offer a similar level of styling for far less as well. The Mercedes-Benz GLE is available in a number of trim levels that cost less than the Aviator but delivers more power coming from its mild-hybrid powertrain in some grades. Those seeking a hybrid powertrain and well-appointed interior for less money than a Benz should shop the Toyota Highland Hybrid.

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This 1971 Lamborghini Miura SV sold for a high sum.

Photo courtesy of Automobili Lamborghini

This month, two 1970s-era Lamborghinis crossed the block, each achieving a record selling price. But, not all that glitters is gold. Both models have what RM-Sotheby's terms "a troubled history".

The 1971 Lamborghini Miura SV is chassis #4980. It has been certified as one of the 150 models produced. It was set apart from other Miuras by its different cam timing and altered 4x3-barrel Weber carburetors. Its 3.9-liter V-12 engine that was tuned to achieve 380 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque. When it was new, it rode on Pirelli Cinturato tires.

The year before the Miura SV debuted, Lamborghini development driver Bob Wallace modified a Miura to comfort to FIA's Appendix J racing regulations. Among the mods was the replacement of the the steel chassis and body panels with aluminum alloy versions. It as given the name "Miura Jota". The '71 Miura up for auction was altered to mimic this model during its life, but has recently been restored it its original trim.

1971 Lamborghini Miura SV

Photo courtesy of RM-Sotheby's

Following its restoration the Miura SV received its certification from Lamborghini Polo Storico.

A 1977 Lamborghini Countach LP 400 with chassis #1120262 underpinning has a similarly troubled history. It was at one time owned by Rod Stewart, but that's not the trouble. It was a victim of multiple transformations (including the roof removal), before being restored to its original specifications.

The Miura SV fetched €2.4 million, the second highest value ever for a Miura SV, second only to one sold by Gooding & Co. in London last September. The Countach LP 400 went for €775,000.

"This is a pleasing but not surprising result, since it confirms a clear trend," says Paolo Gabrielli, Head of Aftersales at Automobili Lamborghini, which oversees the Polo Storico. Historical Lamborghinis are of increasing interest to the world's leading collectors, who are looking for the utmost respect for originality in their cars. The Polo Storico restoration program, alongside supporting top independent specialists through the provision of advice, documents and original spare parts, makes it possible to obtain restorations of the highest level and quality, which are appreciated by collectors and, consequently, by the market."

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The Jeep Wrangler Dual-Door Group offers factory-backed half-door comfort, style, and safety.
Photo courtesy of Stellantis

Jeep Wrangler owners who want an open-air experience but don't want the complete doors-off look have a new from-the-factory option. Jeep Performance Parts and Mopar have worked together to create new half-doors for the iconic SUV.

The new Jeep Wrangler Dual-Door Group features two factory engineered, tested, and backed half-door options that offer owners the option to have production-level styling, security, and occupancy protection in addition to improved visibility.

Available for both two- and four-door Jeep Wrangler models through the Mopar Custom Shop, as part of an original new-vehicle purchase in the U.S. and Canada, the new Jeep Wrangler Dual-Door Group includes both full and half doors. Full-steel production doors are installed on the vehicle while matching body-color half doors are packaged within the vehicle.

    Jeep Wrangler Dual-Door Group

    Photo courtesy of Stellantis

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    With production-level materials and build quality, new half doors are designed to work when equipped with any of the following features: power mirrors, blind-spot detection, passive and non-passive entry handles, and power locks. A quick and easy swap from full doors to half doors can be accomplished within minutes using the existing hinge locations and the exact same wiring connections.

    The newly developed upper-window assemblies are designed to have a weather-tight sealant feature zippered plastic windows. Two materials are offered for the assemblies: base-model vinyl that matches the production soft-top roof or premium acrylic that matches the premium soft-top roof.

    Each upper-door frame section uses an easy, tool-free, dual-guide post feature for easy installation and removal.

    The Dual-Door Group is now available on two- and four-door Jeep Wrangler Sport, Rubicon; Sahara, Rubicon 392, and 4xe models. Factory-option pricing for the U.S.s tarts at $2,350 for the two-door's Dual-Door Group with base-model upper-window assembles while the four-door costs $3,995. Checking the box for the more premium version of the upper-window assemblies moves the price tag up to $2,550 for the two-door and $4,395 for the four-door.

    Warranty coverage for each Dual-Door Group option is included as part of the new-vehicle warranty of three years/36,000 miles.

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