2020 Lincoln Aviator vs. 2019 Volkswagen Atlas

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

Both the Aviator and Atlas 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 Atlas’ 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’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 Atlas doesn’t offer a driver alert monitor.

Both the Aviator and the Atlas 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, crash mitigating brakes, post-collision automatic braking systems, daytime running lights, blind spot warning systems, rearview cameras, rear cross-path warning, available all wheel drive and around view monitors.

Warranty

There are over 30 percent more Lincoln dealers than there are Volkswagen dealers, which makes it easier should you ever need service under the Aviator’s warranty.

Reliability

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 Atlas doesn’t offer a lost coolant limp home mode, so a coolant leak could strand you or seriously damage the truck’s engine.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Lincoln vehicles are better in initial quality than Volkswagen vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Lincoln fifth in initial quality, above the industry average. With 29 more problems per 100 vehicles, Volkswagen is ranked 25th, below the industry average.

Engine

The Aviator’s standard 3.0 turbo V6 produces 165 more horsepower (400 vs. 235) and 157 lbs.-ft. more torque (415 vs. 258) than the Atlas’ standard 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. The Aviator’s 3.0 turbo V6 produces 124 more horsepower (400 vs. 276) and 149 lbs.-ft. more torque (415 vs. 266) than the Atlas’ optional 3.6 DOHC V6. The Aviator’s optional 3.0 turbo V6 hybrid produces 218 more horsepower (494 vs. 276) and 364 lbs.-ft. more torque (630 vs. 266) than the Atlas’ optional 3.6 DOHC V6.

Fuel Economy and Range

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

MPG

Aviator

RWD

3.0 turbo V6

18 city/26 hwy

AWD

3.0 turbo V6

17 city/24 hwy

Atlas

RWD

3.6 DOHC V6

17 city/24 hwy

AWD

3.6 DOHC V6

17 city/23 hwy

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

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

The Aviator has a standard cap-less fueling system. The fuel filler is automatically opened when the fuel nozzle is inserted and automatically closed when it’s removed. This eliminates the need to unscrew and replace the cap and it reduces fuel evaporation, which causes pollution. The Atlas doesn’t offer a cap-less fueling system.

Transmission

A 10-speed automatic is standard on the Lincoln Aviator, for better acceleration and lower engine speed on the highway. Only an eight-speed automatic is available for the Atlas.

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the Aviator has larger tires than the Atlas (255/55R19 vs. 245/60R18).

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 Atlas’ standard 60 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Aviator has standard 19-inch wheels. Smaller 18-inch wheels are standard on the Atlas. The Aviator’s optional 22-inch wheels are larger than the 21-inch wheels optional on the Atlas SEL Premium.

Suspension and Handling

The Aviator has standard front and rear gas-charged shocks for better control over choppy roads. The Atlas’ suspension doesn’t offer gas-charged shocks.

The Aviator has standard front and rear stabilizer bars, which help keep the Aviator flat and controlled during cornering. The Atlas’ suspension doesn’t offer a rear stabilizer bar.

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 Atlas’ 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 Atlas doesn’t offer a load leveling suspension.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Aviator’s wheelbase is 1.8 inches longer than on the Atlas (119.1 inches vs. 117.3 inches).

Chassis

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 Atlas 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 Atlas doesn’t offer active noise cancellation.

Passenger Space

The Aviator has .2 inches more front headroom, 1.5 inches more front legroom, .3 inches more front hip room, 2.5 inches more rear legroom, .3 inches more rear hip room and .5 inches more rear shoulder room than the Atlas.

Cargo Capacity

Pressing a switch automatically lowers the Aviator’s second and third row seats, to make changing between passengers and cargo easier. The Atlas doesn’t offer automatic folding seats.

Servicing Ease

The engine in the Aviator is mounted longitudinally (North-South), instead of sideways, as in the Atlas. 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 Volkswagen. J.D. Power ranks Lincoln 7th in service department satisfaction (above the industry average). With a 34% lower rating, Volkswagen is ranked 18th.

Ergonomics

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. The Atlas doesn’t offer an easy entry system.

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 Atlas doesn’t offer a heads-up display.

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 Atlas can’t use the remote to operate the windows.

In case you lock your keys in your vehicle, or don’t have them with you, you can let yourself in using the Aviator’s exterior PIN entry system. The Atlas doesn’t offer an exterior PIN entry system, and its Car-Net can’t unlock the doors if the vehicle doesn’t have cell phone reception or the driver can’t contact the service.

In case you lock your keys in your vehicle, or don’t have them with you, you can let yourself in using the Aviator’s exterior PIN entry system. The Atlas doesn’t offer an exterior PIN entry system, and its Car-Net can’t unlock the doors if the vehicle doesn’t have cell phone reception or the driver can’t contact the service.

To improve rear visibility by keeping the rear window clear, the Aviator has a standard rear fixed intermittent wiper with a full on position. The rear wiper standard on the Atlas only has an intermittent setting, so in a hard rain visibility isn’t as good.

The Atlas’ optional cornering lamps activate a lamp on the front corner when the turn signal is activated. The Aviator’s optional adaptive cornering lights turn the actual headlight unit up to several degrees, depending on steering wheel angle and vehicle speed. This lights a significant distance into corners at any speed.

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 Atlas offers 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 Atlas 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 Atlas SE/SEL/SEL Premium.

To quickly and conveniently keep personal devices charged without cables tangling and wearing out, the Lincoln Aviator (except Base) offers an optional wireless phone charging system (Qi) in the center console. The Atlas doesn’t offer wireless personal charging.

© 1991-2018 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved.

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