2020 Lincoln Aviator vs. 2019 Ford Flex

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

© 1999 - 2019 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2019/11/21

For enhanced safety, the front and middle seat shoulder belts of the Lincoln Aviator have pretensioners to tighten the seatbelts and eliminate dangerous slack in the event of a collision and force limiters to limit the pressure the belts will exert on the passengers. The Ford Flex doesn’t offer pretensioners for the middle seat belts.

Both the Aviator and Flex have child safety locks to prevent children from opening the rear doors. The Aviator has power child safety locks, allowing the driver to activate and deactivate them from the driver's seat and to know when they're engaged. The Flex’s child locks have to be individually engaged at each rear door with a manual switch. The driver can’t know the status of the locks without opening the doors and checking them.

The Aviator has standard Automatic Emergency Braking, which use forward mounted sensors to warn the driver of a possible collision ahead. If the driver doesn’t react and the system determines a collision is imminent, it automatically applies the brakes at full-force in order to reduce the force of the crash or avoid it altogether. The Flex offers an available collision warning system without the automated brake feature that would prevent or reduce the collision if the driver fails to react.

The Aviator has standard Post Collision Braking, which automatically apply the brakes in the event of a crash to help prevent secondary collisions and prevent further injuries. The Flex doesn’t offer a post collision braking system: in the event of a collision that triggers the airbags, more collisions are possible without the protection of airbags that may have already deployed.

Over 200 people are killed each year when backed over by motor vehicles. The Aviator (except Base) offers an optional Reverse Brake Assist that use rear sensors to monitor and automatically apply the brakes to prevent a rear collision. The Flex doesn’t offer backup collision prevention brakes.

When descending a steep, off-road slope, the Aviator’s optional Hill Descent Control allows you to creep down safely. The Flex doesn’t offer Hill Descent Control.

The Lincoln Aviator has Daytime Running Lights to help keep it more visible under all conditions. Canadian government studies show that driving with lights during the day reduces accidents by 11% by making vehicles more conspicuous. The Flex doesn’t offer Daytime Running Lights.

The Aviator’s lane departure warning system alerts a temporarily inattentive driver when the vehicle begins to leave its lane and gently nudges the vehicle back towards its lane. The Flex doesn’t offer a lane departure warning system.

The Aviator Reserve/Grand Touring/Black Label has a standard 360-Degree Camera to allow the driver to see objects all around the vehicle on a screen. The Flex only offers a rear monitor and rear parking sensors that beep. That doesn’t help with obstacles to the front or sides.

The Aviator’s driver alert monitor detects an inattentive driver then sounds a warning and suggests a break. According to the NHTSA, drivers who fall asleep cause about 100,000 crashes and 1500 deaths a year. The Flex doesn’t offer a driver alert monitor.

Both the Aviator and the Flex have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, height adjustable front shoulder belts, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, rearview cameras and available all wheel drive.

Warranty

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The Aviator comes with a full 4-year/50,000-mile basic warranty, which covers the entire truck and includes 24-hour roadside assistance. The Flex’s 3-year/36,000-mile basic warranty expires 1 year and 14,000 miles sooner.

Lincoln’s powertrain warranty covers the Aviator 1 year and 10,000 miles longer than Ford covers the Flex. Any repair needed on the engine, transmission, axles, joints or driveshafts is fully covered for 6 years or 70,000 miles. Coverage on the Flex ends after only 5 years or 60,000 miles.

Reliability

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The Lincoln Aviator’s engines use a cast iron block for durability, while the Flex’s engines use an aluminum block. Aluminum engine blocks are much more prone to warp and crack at high temperatures than cast iron.

The Aviator has a standard “limp home system” to keep drivers from being stranded if most or all of the engine’s coolant is lost. The engine will run on only half of its cylinders at a time, reduce its power and light a warning lamp on the dashboard so the driver can get to a service station for repairs. The Flex doesn’t offer a lost coolant limp home mode, so a coolant leak could strand you or seriously damage the truck’s engine.

Engine

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The Aviator’s standard 3.0 turbo V6 produces 113 more horsepower (400 vs. 287) and 161 lbs.-ft. more torque (415 vs. 254) than the Flex’s standard 3.5 DOHC V6. The Aviator’s 3.0 turbo V6 produces 35 more horsepower (400 vs. 365) and 65 lbs.-ft. more torque (415 vs. 350) than the Flex Limited’s optional 3.5 turbo V6. The Aviator’s optional 3.0 turbo V6 hybrid produces 129 more horsepower (494 vs. 365) and 280 lbs.-ft. more torque (630 vs. 350) than the Flex Limited’s optional 3.5 turbo V6.

Fuel Economy and Range

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On the EPA test cycle the Aviator gets better fuel mileage than the Flex:

MPG

Aviator

RWD

3.0 turbo V6

18 city/26 hwy

AWD

3.0 turbo V6

17 city/24 hwy

Flex

FWD

3.5 DOHC V6

16 city/23 hwy

AWD

3.5 DOHC V6

16 city/22 hwy

3.5 turbo V6

15 city/21 hwy

Regenerative brakes improve the Aviator Hybrid’s fuel efficiency by converting inertia back into energy instead of wasting it. The Flex doesn’t offer a regenerative braking system.

In heavy traffic or at stoplights the Aviator’s engine automatically turns off when the vehicle is stopped, saving fuel and reducing pollution. The engine is automatically restarted when the driver gets ready to move again. (Start/Stop isn’t accounted in present EPA fuel mileage tests.) The Flex doesn’t offer an automatic engine start/stop system.

The Aviator’s standard fuel tank has 1.6 gallons more fuel capacity than the Flex (20.2 vs. 18.6 gallons).

Transmission

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A 10-speed automatic is standard on the Lincoln Aviator, for better acceleration and lower engine speed on the highway. Only a six-speed automatic is available for the Flex.

Tires and Wheels

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For better traction, the Aviator has larger tires than the Flex (255/55R19 vs. 235/60R18).

The Aviator’s standard tires provide better handling because they have a lower 55 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the Flex SEL’s standard 60 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Aviator has standard 19-inch wheels. Smaller 17-inch wheels are standard on the Flex SE. The Aviator’s optional 22-inch wheels are larger than the 20-inch wheels optional on the Flex.

Suspension and Handling

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The Aviator offers an available driver-adjustable suspension system. It allows the driver to choose between an extra-supple ride, reducing fatigue on long trips, or a sport setting, which allows maximum control for tricky roads or off-road. The Flex’s suspension doesn’t offer adjustable shock absorbers.

The Aviator has a standard automatic front and rear load leveling suspension to keep ride height level with a heavy load or when towing. The Aviator’s height leveling suspension allows the driver to raise ride height for better off-road clearance and then lower it again for easier entering and exiting and better on-road handling. The Flex doesn’t offer a load leveling suspension.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Aviator’s wheelbase is 1.2 inches longer than on the Flex (119.1 inches vs. 117.9 inches).

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the Aviator is 1.5 inches wider in the front and 1.5 inches wider in the rear than on the Flex.

For better maneuverability, the Aviator’s turning circle is 1.5 feet tighter than the Flex’s (39.2 feet vs. 40.7 feet).

Chassis

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The front grille of the Aviator uses electronically controlled shutters to close off airflow and reduce drag when less engine cooling is needed. This helps improve highway fuel economy. The Flex doesn’t offer active grille shutters.

The Aviator Grand Touring/Black Label uses computer-generated active noise cancellation to help remove annoying noise and vibration from the passenger compartment, especially at low frequencies. The Flex doesn’t offer active noise cancellation.

Passenger Space

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The Aviator has .4 inches more front legroom, 3 inches more front hip room, 3.1 inches more front shoulder room, 3.3 inches more rear hip room, 3.2 inches more rear shoulder room and 3.2 inches more third row shoulder room than the Flex.

Cargo Capacity

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To make loading groceries and cargo easier when your hands are full, the Aviator’s liftgate can be opened and closed just by kicking your foot under the back bumper, leaving your hands completely free. The Flex doesn’t offer a hands-free gesture to open its liftgate, forcing you to put cargo down if your hands are full.

Servicing Ease

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The engine in the Aviator is mounted longitudinally (North-South), instead of sideways, as in the Flex. This makes it easier to service and maintain, because there are no rear spark plugs and the accessory belts are in front.

J.D. Power and Associates surveys of service recipients show that Lincoln service is better than Ford. J.D. Power ranks Lincoln 7th in service department satisfaction (above the industry average). With a 54% lower rating, Ford is ranked 24th.

Ergonomics

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The Aviator’s standard easy entry system raises the steering wheel and glides the driver’s seat back, making it easier for the driver to get in and out. An easy entry system costs extra on the Flex, and is not available on all models.

The Aviator (except Base) offers an available heads-up display that projects speed and other key instrumentation readouts in front of the driver’s line of sight, allowing drivers to view information without diverting their eyes from the road. The Flex doesn’t offer a heads-up display.

The Aviator’s power parking brake sets with one touch and releases with one touch or automatically. The Flex’s parking brake has to released manually.

The Aviator’s front and rear power windows all open or close fully with one touch of the switches, making it more convenient at drive-up windows and toll booths, or when talking with someone outside the car. The Flex’s rear power window switches have to be held the entire time to open or close them fully.

If the windows are left open on the Aviator the driver can close them all from a distance using the remote. On a hot day the driver can also lower the windows the same way. The driver of the Flex can only operate the windows from inside the vehicle, with the ignition on.

The Aviator’s rain-sensitive wipers adjust their speed and turn on and off automatically based on the amount of rainfall on the windshield. This allows the driver to concentrate on driving without constantly adjusting the wipers. The Flex SE/SEL’s standard intermittent wipers change speed with vehicle speed, but can’t turn on and off or change speed based on changing rainfall.

While driving with high beams on, sensitive light sensors standard on the Aviator detect other vehicles which could be blinded and automatically switch to low beams. The Flex doesn’t offer automatic dimming high beams.

To help drivers see further while navigating curves, the Aviator offers optional adaptive headlights to illuminate around corners automatically by reading vehicle speed and steering wheel angle. The Flex doesn’t offer cornering lights.

The Aviator has standard automatic dimming rear and side view mirrors which automatically darken quickly when headlights shine on them, keeping following vehicles from blinding or distracting the driver. The Flex has an automatic rear view mirror, but its side mirrors don’t dim.

Optional air conditioned the front and second row seats keep the Aviator’s passengers comfortable and take the sting out of hot leather in summer. The Flex doesn’t offer air-conditioned seats for the second row.

The Aviator has a standard dual zone air conditioning allows the driver and front passenger to choose two completely different temperatures so people with different temperature preferences won’t have to compromise. This makes both the driver and front passenger as comfortable as possible. Dual zone air conditioning is only available on the Flex SEL/Limited.

The Aviator (except Base)’s optional Active Park Assist Plus can parallel park or back into a parking spot by itself, starting, stopping and changing direction automatically. The Flex Limited’s automatic parking system requires operating the brakes and transmission to safely park.

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