A pair of intriguing new features in the 2020 Lincoln Aviator luxury SUV promise to take some of the stress out of long drives.
The Aviator is the first vehicle with:
— Cruise control that adjusts your speed to a set amount above or below the limit, when the posted speed changes.
— Revel’s new 28-speaker Ultima 3D audio system.
I’m looking forward to experiencing both in a road trip with the Aviator.
Lincoln calls the new speed control “intelligent cruise control.” It goes a step beyond adaptive cruise control, in which the driver sets speed and the following distance to the next vehicle.
Adaptive cruise control, or ACC, then applies throttle or brakes to maintain speed and distance. If the car ahead of you comes to a stop, it brings you to a stop behind it and accelerates back to the set speed when the lead vehicle starts moving again.
Lincoln’s intelligent cruise adds the ability to read speed limit signs and lets the driver set a speed above or below the posted limit.
An example: On a highway trip, you set intelligent cruise for three miles over the limit because traffic is moving fast and you don’t want to be a laggard. In a 70-mile-per-hour zone, you drive at 73 miles per hour. When you enter a construction zone with a posted 55-mile-per-hour limit, the car slows to 58, unless the vehicle ahead is moving slower. As the posted limit rises, your car accelerates with it. Lincoln calls the amount you program above or below the limit “tolerance.” It can be set from the Aviator’s touch screen.
Combined with the Aviator’s automatic lane centering, which subtly adjusts the steering wheel to keep you in the middle of your lane, intelligent cruise control should take a lot of the work out of long road trips, keeping the driver refreshed. It promises to help drivers who use ACC cruise around town, too.
I used intelligent cruise control for about 20 miles and found it to work pretty much as advertised. A longer test will tell me if it delivers on its promise to take away some of the drudgery of driving.
Revel’s new Ultima 3D audio had 28 speakers. It’s standard on the Aviator Black Label, which starts at $68,800. It combines new speaker placement with advanced digital sound processing for audio that impressed me in a brief test.
The key feature, and the reason it’s called 3D, are speakers mounted in the Aviator’s headliner, the fabric lining the SUV’s ceiling. Those speakers, just eight of the system’s 28 total, make a surprising difference. Working with the latest surround-sound processing, they mimic the all-encompassing experience of a room with excellent acoustics.
Revel — the brand is part of Harman’s corporate stable — also debuts its new Quantum Logic 3D Surround processor in the system. In the Aviator, you can select:
— Stereo, in which the music seems to come from the right and left corners of the dashboard;
— Audience, which creates the impression of sound coming from instruments and voices across the width of the dash, as if on stage;
— Onstage, in which the music comes from all around you. The speakers in the headliner are most apparent in this setting.
The proof of the system’s effectiveness was hearing new elements in pieces of music I know well — at low volume. The best modern systems sever the connection between volume and sound quality, delivering precise performances without cranking it to 11.