Ford Authority

Lincoln Aviator Once Again Among Least Reliable Vehicles

Ford has had its fair share of high-profile quality issues in recent years, prompting it to place a renewed focus on making improvements in that regard. Newly-hired executive director of quality, Josh Halliburton, will play a big role in that process, and recently stated that the automaker’s quality woes will begin to subside as early as next year. Regardless, the latest Consumer Reports owner survey found that the Ford Explorer still ranks as one of the top 10 least reliable vehicles on sale, and its platform-mate – the Lincoln Aviator – is also on that same list.

Consumer Reports came up with its list of the top 10 most and least reliable vehicles using data from its owner survey, which contains information on over 300,000 vehicles. The organization takes a look at 17 different common problem areas including everything from powertrains to interior quality, weighs the severity of each problem, and then creates a predicted reliability score ranging from 1 to 100. Otherwise, the only stipulation is that a model must have at least two model years of availability to qualify for the list.

When the scores were tabulated, the Lincoln Aviator finished with a predicted reliability score of just 8 out of 100, with the main trouble spots being its in-car electronics, climate system, steering, suspension, power equipment, body hardware, drive system, paint, trim, noises, and leaks. The Aviator ranked behind every other vehicle in its class, too.

Making matters worse, predicted reliability hasn’t improved one bit for the Lincoln Aviator over the past three model years, with both 2020 and 2021 recording the worst possible overall reliability metric. The consumer organization hasn’t yet collected enough data on the 2022 model to rate it in that regard, but given the way things have gone since the current-gen model debuted for the 2020 model year, it likely won’t bring much of an improvement.

We’ll have more on the Aviator soon, so be sure and subscribe to Ford Authority for more Lincoln news, Lincoln Aviator news, and continuous Ford news coverage.

Brett's lost track of all the Fords he's owned over the years and how much he's spent modifying them, but his current money pits include an S550 Mustang and 13th gen F-150.

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  1. Crabbymilton

    The articles should read: From NBC NEWS, former President George Washington has passed away at the age of 67 at his Mt. Vernon home. He was sick for a short time. Stay tuned to this NBC station for further developments. We now return to our regularly scheduled program.
    In other words this is old news and no surprise anymore.

    1. Walter Thomas

      I totally agree with you. This is OLD news. Ford has and will always be the most unreliable brand.

    2. Mike

      You know what some of these cars come off the same lines …..let’s just chalk this report up AS FAKE NEWS….
      Build FORD Tough…..

  2. Steve

    This is what happens when you “value engineer” any product. Make it look all sexy and shiny to sell, but fall short everywhere else. No surprise. Disappointed but not surprised. This is the way of the modern management system. If it good enough, then put it to market. Take care of any issues afterwards, I should rephrase that, known issues. The fact is that most of the problems are known, it just costs money to fix it before. This is the way management works now, sell it, profit then use that profit to fix any issues. Imagine if Henry Ford thought that way?

  3. Walter Thomas

    This is very unfortunate for both vehicles especially the Aviator. The Aviator in my opinion is one of the most attractive SUVs on the market. To have such an appealing product that is not worth anything is just ridiculous.

    People should start boycotting Ford and Lincoln dealerships to help people avoid purchasing unreliable vehicles. It is totally unfair for these hard working and paying customers. Ford is still under fire for transmission issues with the Focus and Fiesta. They also have many other quality concerns with every other vehicle with the exception of the unappealing and bloated Edge. The Explorer especially the ST exterior is also another attractive SUV. To me it is much more appealing than most of its competitors. Unfortunately it’s interior and quality is a mess.

    At this point, if I were people, I would simply abandon the brand all together. When profit is more important than the customers satisfaction, that is bad busy. Both Kia and Hyundai once were terrible vehicles. Today, they are much more compelling and reliable than Ford and Lincoln could ever dream of being. They should off customers incentives while they FINALLY work on bettering their products.

    1. Crabbymilton

      Well said Walter. I don’t think a boycott is necessary. Enough people are p.o’d with FORD so they know better and FORD/LINCOLN will lose more market share until they decide to acknowledge that they have serious problems and do something about it instead of talking about doing something about it all the time.

  4. SamK

    D6 platform was to also give us Mustang and Continental to name a few from what I recall. (no pun intended) When sedans were given the axe, did Ford not want to invest in updating the platform or was the platform a dud from day 1 of development? All the development dollars wasted on something that has potential. It is sad because Lincoln could have had great LS and Continental replacements here.


    These problems occurred when Falotico was in charge of Lincoln, thank goodness she is longer in charge. I still believe there is a better than a 50% chance that Lincoln will cease to exist like Edsel, Mercury and FoMoCo sedans.

  6. deanna kons

    I purchased a 2022 and we had a lot of noise problems and techs could not figure it out, my husband finally did and it was fixed. Also had clips missing on dash console and fix was not great, had a little warp so not so great!

  7. Tom

    This is the type of issue that is bothering me about my maverick I ordered. On this site issues with paint and the economy exhaust system that shows rust after a month of use have been detailed.
    Will Ford stand behind the Maverick when the clear coat starts flecking off and there is hole in the muffler?
    These are big dollar fixes for the consumer. I shudder when I think what an exhaust system will cost to replace.
    At $180 per hour for plus the exhaust system parts that could turn into a $3000 repair real fast.
    If you read about the Corsair vs the Aviator it begins sound like a plant issue rather than a design problem.
    It’s time for here’s where we’re at and this is where we need to talk with the quality inspectors line operations and the various tiers of management. To it just sounds like people not doing their jobs.

  8. Jack Stewart

    I have 2021 Lincoln Aviator Black Label and I love it! Have had a few problems:
    Computer screen goes blank occasionally, exhaust system is loud, the 10 speed transmission
    shifts too hard.
    But the interior is awesome, air suspension is very comfortable, lane keeping function works very well, but the Damn thing (in white) is just gorgeous…get compliments all the time!

    1. Chris G

      I’m with you 100%. I have an Aviator 2021 and I love it!! Compliments all day!! Had some recalls and Ford sent a $200 debit card for the inconvenience and they always had a loaner car. To me the reliability report is flawed.

  9. Chris D.

    My frustration is from having gone through this before, and Ford’s leadership seemingly forgetting lessons learned.
    The early 2000’s were tough. We had the Explorer/Firestone tire drama combined with the poor launches of the all-new at the time Focus & Escape (numerous recalls). Ford was constantly in the press, and the headlines were predominantly negative. After Nasser’s firing, Bill Ford made it a priority as CEO to focus on quality, particularly new vehicle launches and reducing recalls. I still have an image in my head of the all-new Five Hundred/Montego sitting behind a fence after production being held 30 days to ensure no issues before being shipped. Under him, the team also focused on improving component durability such as transmissions designed to be trouble free a minimum of 150k. Not surprisingly, quality and reliability improved across the lineup during the period. Not having a lot of new products helped. But then the product onslaught of 2011/2012 came and things fundamentally changed. Build quality and engineering took a hit. Leadership made decisions that were shortsighted. They prioritized initial sales at the expense of a trouble-free ownership experience (e.g. MyFord Touch, PowerShift DCT). After steering the company through the rough post Nasser period, it frustrates me that this all happened with Bill Ford as Executive Chairman. And it seems we still haven’t fully recovered. I do believe that Jim Farley will get it right soon enough. I just hope this time we never forgot the lessons learned.

  10. Bill H.

    I have a 22 Aviator Grand Touring, my brother has a 21 Aviator Reserve. No problems with either one, outstanding vehicles. I also have a 20 F350, a 14 Escape, and an 04 Ranger. Consumer Reports has always hated Ford, I wouldn’t believe them if they told me the Ford logo is blue.

  11. ARM

    My 2013 MKZ Hybrid has been a great buy, but Lincoln held delivery back months until they got build quality issues addressed. That’s the commitment to quality that needs to return to Ford/Lincoln. Lincoln has been behind the curve for a long time now and has lost me to Lucid. Lack of a sedan and slow adoption of BEV technology is mind-boggling.

  12. Joseph virzi

    I have a 2020 black label aviator that has rattle in the frame they still can’t find it if the two months I’m ready to give up

    1. Wayne Oswald

      We also have a 2020 Aviator Reserve that has rattles that the dealer hasn’t been able to find. I found at least some of it myself – it is caused by the sound/road noise baffles underneath the car. These fiber shields are secured (not very well) by screws that work loose, causing the rattles. I have been working to refasten these and have managed to fix most of the rattles – still working on finding and fixing a couple of others. This is a disappointing factory quality control and design flaw in such an expensive and otherwise fine vehicle.

      1. Chris G

        This is true about the rattles from the shield below. I actually used a sound meter to find the sound because the noise came after 70 mph.

  13. George

    I and two colleagues must have the best Aviators made. Mine is a 2021 (same color in the photo) with now 25,000. It’s been easily the best vehicle I’ve owned and I’ve had many. Handles great, quiet, powerful, just plain beautiful inside and out. Two colleagues own a 2021 and 2020 and have no issues whatsoever. I couldn’t be happier with the vehicle. Guess we’re just lucky or it’s a good time to bash Ford.

  14. Fred

    My 2019 Nautilus Reserve has been a great vehicle so far. I’d never by a Lincoln/Ford assembled in the Chicago plant. That’s really the heart of the issues with the Aviator/Explorer.

  15. Charles

    After buying a pre-certified owned 17 Lincoln MKX I have had 23 service tickets and will not return to the dealer unless it has to be towed. My MKX sat on the lot for three months only to be told there was no problem. Owned Ford products for 40 years. I’ll never go back.

  16. Ed

    I have been saving for over a year now so I can place a large down payment, and then pay my SUV off within a year or so. The Lincoln Aviator is my first choice & within my budget! I Love the way it looks & it has all the features I’m looking for the Reserve w/ the 201-A package. But I am scared of all the negative history & current negative reviews. My wife owns a 2004 Aviator, & I bought 2005 & both blew the head gaskets at around the same mileage 150-170k miles! I replaced the motor (NOT CHEAP AT ALL) on the 2005 & sold it for a loss! My wife’s is still in the yard! And I was hoping that these newer models would be better? I’m not rich so when I buy a car I take car of it & expect it to last! Possibly past it down as a first car to my soon to be teenager. I don’t think that’s too much to ask especially if your asking $70 to $80 grand for your Aviator. I guess I’ll continue saving IDK? But I really like the features maybe I’ll get and buy an extended warranty??? IDK But I know I don’t want a vehicle that’s gonna give problems!!!


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