The Aviator delivers an upgraded driving experience with a more sophisticated, luxurious cabin than the Ford Explorer with which it shares the same platform. We’re not thrilled with some of the Aviator’s tricky controls and the so-so fuel economy, but in most other ways it is a pleasant and well-rounded three-row luxury midsized SUV.
A 3.0-liter turbocharged V6 with 400 horsepower moves the Aviator down the road with effortless authority, and always has plenty of oomph in reserve for any situation. The 10-speed automatic transmission usually shifts quickly and smoothly, other than an occasional bumpy shift we experienced during low-speed driving. Fuel economy isn’t stellar, at 19 mpg overall, though at least it uses regular fuel instead of premium--not always a given with luxury models.