When it comes to mid-sized luxury SUVs, Range Rovers, Land Cruisers and Mercedes models with a G in their name immediately spring to mind. Today’s Nice Price or No Dice Aviator is one option most people have probably forgotten. Let’s see if its price means it should be better remembered.
It was unsurprising to see yesterday’s 1992 Mazda Miata score an 87 percent No Dice loss at its $19,999 asking price. Nice as it was — and it was pretty darn nice — those models just haven’t gotten that dear even in today’s crazy car market.
Do you happen to know what else is crazy these days? It’s just how fancy luxury SUVs can get. Heck, even Rolls Royce is playing the AWD wagon game and that company is the pinnacle of extended pinkie drinking and monocle-wearing. The problem is, almost all of the luxury SUVs on the market can cost an arm and a leg and the naming rights for your firstborn heir to buy, and/or maintain.
What if, however, you could get nearly that experience for a mere fraction of the cost? Would that be something that might pique your interest? We might be able to make that happen with this 2004 Lincoln Aviator Ultimate.
Ok, first off though, I need to blow your mind with the knowledge that this Aviator was a model that actually existed. I know, I’d pretty much relegated its remembrance to the darkest folds of my subconscious where it resided along with a recipe for fondue and the instructions for how to do macrame.
Based on the second-generation Explorer, but with almost every item on that truck’s options list moved into the “standard” column, the Aviator came about during a period of time when Ford really didn’t know what to do with Lincoln. The mini-Navigator styling of the Aviator fared it well, but the model never proved anywhere near as popular, with production ending after a mere three years on the market.
That means there’s not a ton of these out on the road. Most of those you find for sale these days look like they have been owned by people who have treated them like Explorers and not like Lincolns. This one, in Dark Blue Pearl over a parchment leather interior looks to be in extremely nice shape for its age and the fact that it’s an Aviator.
The bodywork presents with no obvious flaws and is complemented by a good bit of brightwork — including an overachieving grille — and optional chrome-plated alloy wheels. On the inside, you get a six-passenger cabin with captain’s chairs in the first and second rows. A three-across bench was a no-cost option on the Aviator, but this one didn’t go there.
Fancy leather seating surfaces and silver trim gussy up the place, as does an electroluminescent gauge cluster. Amazingly, the leather looks to be in pretty decent shape. It’s not the buttery-soft Connolly leather you’d find on an expensive car, but the cheap stuff you find on more mundane cars that tends not to get better with age. In this Aviator, the whole cabin actually looks perfectly livable.
One place that the Aviator got a leg up on the Explorer was under the hood. There you’ll find Ford’s 4.6 liter Modular V8. In the Lincoln’s case, however, that’s the DOHC version, good for 302 horsepower and 300 lb-ft of torque. Behind that sits the standard 5R55 five-speed automatic.
Two-wheel drive was standard on the Aviator, but this one has the AWD option. This is a street AWD and not a serious off-road AWD as it lacks a low range. Still, what sort of fancy-pants people would want to take a truck like this into the boonies? There are chiggers and ticks out there!
The ad notes a clean title and claims the truck to have been “VERY WELL SERVICED, VERY WELL MAINTAINED” over the course of its life. According to the ad, mileage is a modest 116,227. If you are looking for a first-gen Aviator, this is what you should be seeking.
The question, of course, is whether anyone should actually be looking at these Aviators at all. One reason you might is because of this one’s $4,995 price tag. That seems to make this an awful lot of truck for the money. You’ll have to weigh in on whether that is the case. Or if, at that price, this Aviator is a truck that’s just plain awful.
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