Turn your car on with your smartphone? Check. Lincoln Motor Company’s first plug-in hybrid? Check! The Aviator, Lincoln’s latest SUV, will go on sale next year with further promises too: three-rows and the capability of a twin-turbocharged engine to ease plug-in range anxiety.
With the millennial family in mind, Lincoln is rolling out the slim, tapered model with a roomy interior to complement its latest head-turning Navigator model. The Aviator’s name and form language is derived from aeronautics longtime influence on automotive design. “In Aviator, the lines of the vehicle are streamlined,” Lincoln Design Director David Woodhouse says. “You have the stature and presence of the grille at the front, then the body and tail taper off—creating a distinct aerofoil analogy.” And the emphasis of graceful lines pulling downward toward the rear is what Woodhouse describes as an in-flight gesture. “If you look at a bird or plane in flight, the wing is always at an angle to the air and falling downward toward the rear,” he says. “You see that in the main bodyline of Aviator. From the headlight to the taillight, there’s a beautiful undercut feature varying in depth that connotes poise and grace.”
The influences don’t end there, however, as the design team, including interior design manager Ryan Niemiec, culled an artistic inspiration board that ranged from a Martha West acrylic of a ballerina to a David Greico bronze, a Kyle Harrington oak installation to Scott Haycock’s anodized aluminum mobile—and of course, a horizontal seascape by photographer Danny Fuller: Aviator’s spacious, airy cabin accentuates horizontal lines, minimizing visual clutter to deliver a soothing sanctuary. Machine-turn aluminum appliqués, brushed in small circles to replicate the shape of early aviation instruments, enhance the theme. The seats supple leather is minimally processed to retain natural texture.
“You’re creating both an experience and a feeling through the form language and the development of the interior,” Niemec says. “It pulls more on your creative side, because while the car has to be functional, it also has to be intuitive.”
The Aviator comes on the heels of the 2018 Lincoln Black Label Navigator. Its signature theme, Yacht Club, is designed to evoke the sensation of the open air, and its interior reveals whitewashed teak appliqués. The model is also available in Majestic Chalet—think of the contrast between mountain slopes and the comfort of an aprés-ski lodge—with deep Silverwood appliqués. Finally, celebrating the art of travel, the Destination theme takes its inspiration from vintage luggage, with an intricate diamond weave on the seats complemented by smooth khaya wood appliqués.