North Georgia Ford Compares 2003 Ford Explorer VS 2003 Lincoln Aviator Near Ellijay, GA

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2003 Ford Explorer

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2003 Lincoln Aviator

Safety Comparison

Both the Explorer and the Aviator have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, height adjustable front shoulder belts, plastic fuel tanks, four wheel antilock brakes, available head airbags, all wheel drive and electronic stability systems to prevent skidding.

Warranty Comparison

There are almost 3 times as many Ford dealers as there are Lincoln dealers, which makes it much easier to get service under the Explorer’s warranty.

Reliability Comparison

The engines in the Explorer have a single overhead cam for simplicity. The engine in the Aviator has dual overhead cams, which add to the number of moving parts and the complexity of the cylinder heads.

J.D. Power and Associates’ surveys of new car owners provide the statistics that show that Ford vehicles are better in initial quality than Lincoln vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Ford 17th in initial quality. With 3 more problems per 100 vehicles, Lincoln is ranked 20th.

Fuel Economy and Range Comparison

The Ford Explorer gets better fuel mileage than the Aviator:




Std Engine/Auto

15 city/21 hwy



15 city/19 hwy

13 city/19 hwy


Std Engine/Auto

15 city/21 hwy



14 city/19 hwy

13 city/18 hwy

To lower fuel costs and make buying fuel easier, the Ford Explorer uses 87 octane gasoline. The Aviator requires premium for maximum efficiency, which can cost 25 to 50 cents more per gallon.

Brakes and Stopping Comparison

The Explorer stops shorter than the Aviator:



70 to 0 MPH

184 feet

193 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

120 feet

124 feet

Motor Trend

Suspension and Handling Comparison

For better maneuverability the Explorer’s turning circle is 2.6 feet tighter than the Aviator’s (36.8 vs. 39.4 feet).

For greater off-road capability the Explorer 4dr w/245 tires has a greater minimum ground clearance than the Aviator (9.2 vs. 8.9 inches), allowing the Explorer to travel over rougher terrain without being stopped or damaged.

Chassis Comparison

The Ford Explorer may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 500 pounds less than the Lincoln Aviator.

The Explorer is 11.8 inches narrower than the Aviator, making the Explorer easier to handle and maneuver in traffic.

As tested by Car and Driver while under full throttle, the interior of the Explorer XLT 4dr 4x4 is quieter than the Aviator 4x4 (72 vs. 73 dB).

Passenger Space Comparison

The Explorer has 1.7 inches more front hip room, .8 inches more front shoulder room, .5 inches more rear headroom, .5 inches more rear hip room, 1.3 inches more rear shoulder room, .1 inches more third row headroom and 5.1 inches more third row shoulder room than the Aviator.

Cargo Capacity Comparison

The Explorer’s cargo area provides more volume than the Aviator.



Third Seat Folded

44.5 cubic feet

39.9 cubic feet

Third Seat Removed

46.6 cubic feet


Max Cargo Volume

88 cubic feet

77.1 cubic feet

Ergonomics Comparison

The Explorer’s instruments include an oil pressure gauge and a temperature gauge – which could save your engine! Often ‘idiot lights’ don’t warn you until damage has been done. The Aviator has neither an oil pressure gauge nor a temperature gauge.

The Explorer’s standard power window controls are mounted on the armrest for easy access. The Aviator’s available power window controls are spread out on the center console where they can’t be seen without the driver completely removing his eyes from the road.

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