Ever see a
Lincoln Aviator pull a Coyote up a mountain?
Aviator, Lincolns luxury version of the Ford Explorer had me spoiled. Air
conditioned seats oh my! And just when I started wearing shorts on my chicken
legs. Yeah you can tell I've been in the big city too long, imagine me with
shorts and sandals. And then there is the GPS touch screen that maps the roads
ahead of me. This is too cool to see the intersections that are coming up and
gas stations and finding a movie theater complete with play by play driving
directions. The Aviator has 4 valves per cylinder in it's all aluminum 4.6L V-8
302 horsepower engine verses the Explorer's 2 valves 239 horsepower engine. Just like big brothers 5.4L 4 valve in the
Navistar compared to the Expedition's 2 valve 5.4L. But that's not all you get
for the thousands the Lincolns cost over the Explorer. The laminated front door
windows keep out wind noise as just another feature of the extra quite comfort
if you want it quite. The stereo system complete with a six disc CD behind the
GPS screen, has touch screen controls to move the speakers to the seats you want
the sound to come from. The front seats are perforated for heat or AC with
5 settings and the Aviator seats seven like a mini-van with the 2nd and 3rd
folding out of the way. The Premium model I had came with a rear DVD, power
pedals, express down and up drivers window, dual temp control, plus more buttons
in the steering wheel for the stereo, mute, temp and navigation. I'm not sure I
could list all the features including suspended needles in the gauges in the
dash that turns black when you shut it off. The GPS screen will turn black at
night to cut out glare.
Lincoln covers their engines
much like Audi and Mercedes so you have to open a door to check the oil.
new vehicle arrives my girls have to show it to all the neighbors and with the
rear DVD and three rows of seats, the Aviator was a mobile theater for a while.
Even the middle row of seats recline. Then you have me upfront with my air
conditioned seats and touch screen Lincoln Navigation (GPS) map which is more
fun than video games and who needs $8 popcorn and a crowed theater parking lot.
I've always liked the way Lincoln puts their seat controls on the doors instead
on the side of the seat where you can barely reach them. You know you're in a
Luxury vehicle with American Burl Walnut on the top of the steering wheel and
throughout the dash, with the extra storage compartments in the armrests and
pockets that fold out of the doors.
many times can kids watch the same movie. My girls entertain the neighbors
with the Aviator's DVD player while I work. The Aviator holds seven, to make
it as practical as a minivan but fun to drive.
of the Aviator is excellent with 4-wheel independent suspension, and large 4
wheel disc ABS brakes stopping this 5000# luxury SUV very smoothly an in a
surprisingly controlled manner. And then there is the AdvanceTrac traction
and stability enhancement system (Interactive Vehicle Dynamics) , now this is
hard to explain, it's some of that YAW stuff, no not yah the cattle but the YAW
the center axis of the weight of a vehicle is where it pivots side to side with
dominant dynamics at highway speeds. In plainer English, the computer uses the
ABS brakes to use right or left brakes, front or rear or a combination of all
the wheels to stabilize the vehicle if you lose traction or go into a skid like
a co-pilot helping you get your SUV under control during those emergency
situation we try to avoid. All that plus side curtain air bags and tire pressure
monitoring that tells you if a tire is under or over inflated adds to this SUV's
safety category commitment.
I did get
up to 18 mpg on the highway and 9.3 mpg pulling the travel trailer in the
mountains with the All-Wheel-Drive in auto mode. Nice warranty on the Aviator,
it's 48 month or 60,000 miles bumper to bumper with service free for the first
36 months or 36,000 miles.
All hoods should have a do-hicky
lever like this. You don't have to look for the hood latch, it pops out for
you complete with an arrow incase you forgot which way the hood opens.
Coyote Sportster travel trailer I pulled to Estes Pak is within the maximum
trailer capacity (7100#) of the Aviator AWD at sea level with
the optional class III tow package. With the 5-speed auto and 3.73 rear axle
ratio, the Aviator can be used as a comfortable towing machine. It had no
problem pulling the 26' Coyote Sportster's empty weight of 4085#'s. This would
be a nice combination for searching the wilderness on your vacation. Go deep
into back roads of the mountains, pull over to camp and lower the Coyote's rear
ramp and release your ATV to explorer the mountains and then when you are really
lost, check out the GPS on the Lincoln and find civilization again. The Aviator
has great HID headlights for seeing the deer that like to hang out on the side
of mountain roads at night. The rear view mirrors will dim with approaching
vehicles from the rear and automatically lower when you backup so you can see
which lawn chair you are about to back over.
You know how much I like
Weight Distributing Hitches so guess what?
Aviator 4-wheel independent suspension improves the ride but pulling a trailer
may give you more sway from a trailer leveraged on your receiver hitch. Since
it's not my $51,835 invested in the MSRP of the Aviator, I used Equal-i-zer's
weight distributing hitch to control the trailer movement. The Coyote Sporter
travel trailer from Economy RV pulled superbly up and down Colo. Highway 34 to
Estes Park with no "Elvis the Pelvis hip action."
From the rear the Lincoln
Aviator looks much like big brother the Navigator.
Sportster Travel Trailer Plus
drought and runaway fires were last year. This year the lakes are full and it's
time to get back to that great Colorado camping. Which is one of the best ways
to keep the family together on weekends before the kids grow up and fall out of
the nest. But then when that happens there is more room for more toys, (ATV,
motorcycle, jet ski) in the back of a trailer like the Coyote Sportster that is
the next evolution past the tent trailer that has a rear ramp for securely
hauling your toys, then that floor space converts to beds or table and couches.
The front of the Coyote folds out into another bed. Then you have the 18' awning
for your "rest" times from the trail. The model I pulled was the 22CSP with just
the right options of an outside shower for you and your fish and an outside
stove all under the canopy so you can enjoy the outdoors and stay out of the
The toy (stress therapy)
loading ramp, and optional wall and screen wall. The screen wall makes a
nice porch out of the camper. Inside there is 10'
of room to tie your toys down in the model I pulled. More options and more
models to fit what you have in mind for your camping experience.
up the Coyote just south of Greeley for a straight shot up CO Highway 34 through
Loveland and uphill to Estes Park. Jerry Ostermiller gave me the tour of the
Coyote, and showed how it all worked from the canopy that can turn into a
carport to the drop down rear ramp door screen that lets you take the party
inside and have your own screened porch to listen to the night sounds of nature.
That's a lot of camping machine which lists for around $18,000, less than many
slide in campers. The model I
pulled had the straight axles giving me plenty of clearance for missing the
rocks and logs I towed around driving on some of the off-roads on the way to
Estes Park and the Rocky Mountain National Park.
Jerry Ostermiller shows me how
to set up the Sportster for camping.
Looks like the next
evolutionary step up from tent trailers
service folks at Economy RV hooked me up to a Prodigy brake controller so I
could enjoy the scenery coming down the mountain without testing the
Aviator's YAW! The travel trailer pulled easy and braked well. For first timers
you would want to buy an aftermarket wider mirror than what comes on most SUV's.
I could see out the right mirror well but I would "wag the tail" to see what's
behind me on the drivers side. I took the curvy road to Estes in my usual
fashion with no problems leaning into curves in controlled easy cruising. In the city
of Estes Park In August there are thousands of tourists any day of the week.
Pulling a trailer through all the traffic and up and down to the many side shops
was all possible and I even backed into a couple of parking spots of course to
find my favorite caramel apples at the Chocolate Factory.
The 18' canopy was easy to set
up and the legs can be staked down straight for an instant car port or
cranked down on one end to let the rain run by.
Everything folds out of the
way to load and tie down your toys, (ATV, motorcycle) the couches turn into
a giant bed or two small ones.
You've got to cook outside to
be truly camping out.
The main bed will span from
wall to wall, my grand kids would like that. Note one of the tie downs on
the floor for your ATV.
Outside shower is handy for
you and your fish. It's wisely located where it can be used to cleanup the
I come here to watch water
run, this being the Big Thomson River and of course the caramel apples. This
one from the Chocolate Factory covered in walnuts. Work work work but I do
take a break from a long day of fresh mountain air, white water and air
conditioned seats to stop and eat my vitamin filled nutritious caramel
Parked here in front of Estes
Ark a popular place to find stuffed animals
Estes Park, next door to the
Rocky Mountain National Park, has plenty of horses to ride. My girls and I
have trotted up and down the mountain getting very close to the Elk that hang
out close to and in town.
I couldn't leave Estes Park
without seeing the Stanley Hotel. Nice museum there with the Stanley
Steamer, (car not carpet cleaner). Steven King wrote the Shining here and
filmed the second movie here. My wife & I celebrated an anniversary here.
A special thanks to Don, Gary and Rich Schwartz of Economy
RV (45 years young in business) for the Coyote Sportster and Jerry Ostermiller
in sales there
© Copyright 2003 H. Kent Sundling and
MrTruck.net/com All rights reserved including digital rights.