Internal combustion engine thermal management system functionality can be enhanced through the introduction of smart thermostat valves and variable speed electric pumps and fans. The traditional automotive cooling system components include a wax based thermostat valve and crankshaft driven water pump. However, servo-motor driven valves, pumps, and fans can better regulate the engine's coolant fluid flow to realize fuel economy gains and tailpipe emission reductions. To study these cooling system actuators, with accompanying nonlinear control strategy, a scale experimental system has been fabricated which features a smart valve, electric coolant pump, radiator with electric fan, and immersion heater. In this paper, mathematical models will be presented to describe the system's behavior. A nonlinear controller will then be designed for transient temperature tracking. Representative experimental results are presented and discussed to demonstrate the smart valve's operation in maintaining the temperature within a neighborhood of the target value for various scenarios including highway mode, full power with load disturbance, and quick heat.