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Spied ‘Ford Explorer’ Might Actually Be The Forthcoming Lincoln Aviator

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On Monday, we shared a link to spy photographs of what we thought might have been the next-generation Ford Explorer, due out for the 2019 (or possibly 2020) model year.

Upon further inspection, however, we’ve come to the conclusion that we can’t be at all certain in our identification of the camouflage-clad prototype vehicle. In fact, if you look at the photograph that contains the rear hatch of the vehicle (by clicking here), you can clearly see what looks like a taillight panel that spans the entire width of the hatch. Save for the Ford Edge, there isn’t a Ford-brand model around with that feature, while every Lincoln under the sun boasts a hatch-width taillight shape.

For that reason, we have to consider the possibility that the spied vehicle isn’t the 2019 Ford Explorer at all, but rather the forthcoming Lincoln Aviator.

The Lincoln Aviator, which was discontinued after a brief three-year stint in the early 2000s, is our pick for the defunct nameplate most likely to be resurrected. In an interview with Edmunds back in late-2015, Matt VanDyke – then Director of Marketing, Sales & Service at Lincoln – openly remarked that the brand was looking at reviving the “Aviator” name. We’ve been keeping an ear to the ground ever since.

Of course, there’s still the possibility that the spied SUV was, in fact, the 2019 Ford Explorer, and that the model is simply to gain a full-width taillight design like on modern-day Lincolns. Time will tell.

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Written by Aaron Brzozowski

Aaron Brzozowski is a writer and motoring enthusiast from Detroit with an affinity for '80s German steel. He is not active on the Twitter these days, but you may send him a courier pigeon.

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  1. I also noticed the new grille was very reminiscent of the one that debuted on the continental, mkz and navigator concept and big Lincoln logo in the front that made me wonder if it was actually a Lincoln

    • Id love to see that 450 horsepower ecoboost v6 in a Explorer based Aviator SUV. Id also like extebsive use of aluminum panels and extra Black Label packages considering that this will be Lincoln’s Volume seller soon

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