On the road, the Aviator Grand Touring's plug-in hybrid power plant, all-wheel drive, and 10-speed automatic transmission work well. The model combines a 400-horsepower twin-turbo V-6 engine with an electric motor that's rated to run all-electric for up to 21 miles. Combined, the systems offer 494 horsepower, which provided plenty of power for jackrabbit-quick starts during my test drives. Braking was also excellent. My test model ran for 14 miles in all-electric mode on a full charge, offering a generous 83.5 mpg in electric-only mode — very impressive for such a large vehicle. After the plug-in batteries charge down, the Aviator Grand Touring flips seamlessly into hybrid gas/electric operation while you continue driving. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency rates the Aviator Grand Touring AWD at 23 mpg combined city/highway in gasoline-only mode, or 56 mpg in a mix of hybrid/all-electric operation. I got combined 33 mpg overall during a weeklong test drive — very good for a large vehicle, but probably worth the extra tens of thousands of dollars only if you're a real environmentalist.
As for performance, my test Aviator offered a smooth, quiet ride in both city and highway driving. A "Drive Mode" system lets you choose from six different ride settings — Normal, Excite (sporty), Conserve, Preserve EV, Slippery, and "Deep Conditions" (mud or deep snow). I didn't notice much difference between them. The Aviator also offers a classic SUV "high-up" road view, along with excellent front, side, and rear sightlines. The vehicle is a tad challenging to back up or park given its large size, but the excellent sightlines help a lot.