Prices for the Aviator ranged from US$39,940 for the base RWD model to US$42,890 for the AWD model. It was available only with a 4.6L DOHC V8, 302hp (225kW) gasoline engine.
Lincoln played up the similarity to the Navigator with magazine ads that read, "Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. Especially when it's yourself you're imitating." The Aviator seemed to have been met with relatively positive press coverage.
While the Aviator's styling borrowed cues from its big brother, the Navigator, it didn't look much different from the very widespread Ford Explorer that it was based on. Also working against the Aviator was that it was priced similar to the larger and relatively popular Ford Expedition. (The Navigator, based on and priced above the Expedition, was priced similarly to the Ford Excursion, but the Excursion was rare so the comparison did work not against the Navigator, whereas the Aviator was frequently compared to the Expedition and Explorer.) Indeed, Car and Driver magazine said in a comparison test, in which the Aviator tied for fifth place, that only the car's high price and lack of certain features held it out of contention for the top spots.