The Land Rover Range Rover is a luxury icon. Back in the 20th Century, it redefined Land Rover as a premium automotive brand, and redefined the SUV as a chic mode of transportation for the rich and famous. It projects an image of not just wealth, but sophistication and exclusivity. The archetypical Range Rover buyer has insightful thoughts about the wine list at any fancy restaurant, and probably would go fox hunting if it were still socially acceptable.
While “lesser” Range Rover models like the Evoque and Velar can be had for semi-reasonable prices, the iconic flagship Land Rover Range Rover is anything but cheap. The bare-bones standard-wheelbase Range Rover starts at $90,900; if you feel like getting fancy, you can option the top-tier SVAutobiography Dynamic trim north of $200,000. Even the “basic” floormats are $549.
But you can get the feelings of superiority and luxury you love in the Range Rover for much less…if you’re willing to buy domestic. Consider the new 2020 Lincoln Aviator.
Let’s begin with the appearance. Reviewers have praised the Aviator for its sleek, elegant exterior. It has a classic silhouette — classic, that is, because it vaguely reminds us of the Range Rover. It’s the same story on the inside, where the Aviator is all luxuriant leather and wood trim. Maybe it reads a little more “American luxury yacht” than “English gentlemen’s club,” but the effect is equally indulgent.
Lincoln plays up the exclusivity factor when it comes to the Aviator. There’s the “Black Label” buying and membership program, in which you don’t pick out colors for the interior, you choose a design theme. Lincoln does not give the Aviator run-of-the-mill door chimes or other notification noises that those poor sods buying Fords have to live with; the Aviator’s alert notes were curated by the Detroit Symphony Orchestra.
There’s also performance to consider. The Aviator’s base engine is a twin-turbo 3.0-liter V6 putting out 400 horsepower and 415 lb-ft of torque. To reach that sort of output in the Range Rover, you have to upgrade to the supercharged 5.0-liter V8. The Range Rover offers a hybrid model now? Cool. The Aviator has one too, and it puts out 494 hp and 630 lb-ft. If you’re counting, that’s 128 lb-ft more than the supercharged Range Rover SVAutobiography that costs about $100,000 more.
There’s also the small matter of build quality. Lincoln consistently gets recognized among the most reliable car brands. Land Rover vehicles, on the other hand, are almost as legendary for their maintenance costs as their luxury and off-roading prowess. So not only will you save money at purchase time, you’ll likely keep saving money over the years of ownership.
Range Rover’s branding is admittedly formidable. However, the Lincoln will give you that same timeless style and pampered feel for a little more than half the Range Rover’s price. No, buying an Aviator will not instantly turn you into Matthew McConaughey. But Range Rover ownership won’t exactly make you James Bond dashing off to Skyfall, either.
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