2002 Lincoln Blackwood

First Drive: 2002 Lincoln Blackwood
Lincoln Blackwood Proves a Nimble Luxurious Package

By: Ron Moorhead Last Edited: 06-04-01 22:00
PickupTruck.com, Ron C. Moorhead © 2001

We were hard pressed to put a label on the new Lincoln Blackwood. While it appears to be part sport utility, part pickup truck and part luxury sedan. Yet none of these labels seem to fit. This is a vehicle that extends across all of the above vehicle classifications, yet it cannot be placed in any one category. It is, by its very form, in a class by itself.

From the A pillar forward, it has the same form as the Lincoln Navigator. However, from there rearward it is all Blackwood. The interior is as plush and luxurious as any Town Car can be, but it has its own personality.

Behind the C pillar there is what appears to be a pickup truck bed, but do not be so quick to judge as you would be wrong. It may look the part, but like the interior this cargo space is far too luxurious for you to even contemplate putting real truck-like cargo here.

A hard "clam shell" tonneau cover that is electrically operated from either the key fob or switches located on the dash tops the "bed". According to Blackwood chief program engineer, Henry Brice the hard cover makes the cargo compartment nearly waterproof. "It won't leak water unless you were to stick the high pressure wand from an automatic car wash into the seals", says Brice.

The Blackwood's engine pumps out 300 horses.

Lift the tonneau and open the double, Dutch-style rear doors, which replace the typical tailgate, and you can quickly see why this compartment must be kept tightly sealed. Lined with stylish carpet and stainless-steel trim, the cargo bay, or as Lincoln calls it "Cargo Trunk", isn't meant for a load of rock, but more for a resting place for golf bags. The dark recesses of the cargo trunk are lit with a combination of LED light strips and a standard floodlight. We did notice that the non-removable tonneau limits easy access to the front of the cargo trunk.

Taking bits from Navigator, F-Series Super Crew and F-Series Heavy-duty, the Blackwood is a large vehicle. It has a wheelbase that is nearly 20 inches longer than Navigator and is just over 15-inches longer overall than Lincoln's large sport utility. But even with these gargantuan measurements the Blackwood felt more at ease than Navigator at being tossed through twisting back roads outside Santa Barbara, California.

The Blackwood's front suspension is 4% stiffer than Navigator, and is equipped with acceleration sensitive damping shock absorbers. A near 50/50 weight balance and the rack-and-pinion steering from the Crown Victoria police package makes this 5,700-pound Lincoln surprisingly nimble. Also helping to make this behemoth handle mountain pass roads is the massive tires and wheels. Giving the Blackwood a hefty footprint are 275/55R18 tires mounted on wide machine aluminum wheels.

Jim Rogers, Lincoln Mercury General Marketing Manager tells us, "Lincoln vehicles feature a defining quality of American luxury as does the Blackwood." Slide behind the wheel of the Blackwood and you are immediately surrounded in American luxury. Rich leather and wood trim abound, and combine with features that are a must for a vehicle of this caliber.

The Blackwood's interior screams luxury.

Power adjustable front bucket seats allow both driver and passenger to find the optimum comfortable setting. We were glad to see the addition of Ford's adjustable foot pedals, giving one more factor in comfort and safety.

Both front seats are fit with internal climate control providing heat during the winter and cooling for those hot summer days. This is just one area in which the Blackwood designers incorporate extended luxury into the vehicle.

It may be difficult to understand why balance and control is so important for a large vehicle like the Blackwood. But, with a large mass to control it is even more important for a fine tuned balance.

A powerful 300 horsepower, 5.4-liter, V-8 engine provides plenty of go for the Blackwood. And, while it may not win any drag races, the Blackwood offers the ability to tow up to 8,700 pounds of cargo. Equipped with rear air suspension that automatically levels with each load, the vehicle will retain its level attitude no matter how much load it carries.

The question we ask; is a large luxurious truck/sport ute/sedan desirable to enough buyers to make the Blackwood a success? It appears so; Lincoln notes that over one third of the 10,000 units that will be available this year are already sold. There seems to be plenty of people who think the Blackwood fits their transportation needs.

Specifications

Engine:
5.4-Liter DOHC InTech™ V-8
Power:
300 hp @ 5,000 rpm
Torque:
355 lb.-ft. @ 2,750 rpm
Performance:
Top speed 105 mph (governed)
Head:
Cast aluminum with tumble port design, die-cast aluminum cam covers
Block:
Deep-skirted cast iron with cross-bolted main bearings
Intake manifold:
3-piece tuned cast aluminum with variable runner control
Exhaust manifold:
Aluminum Alloy
Recommended fuel:
Premium unleaded (91 octane)
Fuel economy:
Highway - 17 mpg
City - 12 mpg
Fuel tank size 25.0 Gallons
Range 400 miles
Transmission:
Model 4R100 4-speed automatic, with overdrive lockout, standard oil cooler
Tires & Wheels:
P275/55R-18 BSW A/S Bright machined aluminum,18 in. x 8 in. (457 mm x 203 mm)
Suspension:
Front suspension
Independent short- and long-arm, coil springs with acceleration-sensitive damping, micro-cellular urethane jounce bumpers
Rear suspension
Leaf/air spring with automatic ride-height adjustment, micro-cellular urethane jounce bumpers, acceleration sensitive dampers staggered fore and aft
Brakes:
Four-wheel power disc brakes with three-channel ABS
Safety and Security:
Air bags
Dual driver and passenger front and side air bags
Safety belts
Lap and shoulder belts for all seating positions; front seats have load-limiting retractors and pyrotechnic pretensioners, driver BeltMinder™ system
Child safety
Childproof rear door locks and rear child seat tethers
Fuel
Inertia activated shutoff switch for fuel pump
Tonneau cover
Two auto-reversing obstacle detection systems and emergency release handle inside trunk
Security
SecuriLock™ passive anti-theft system, remote keyless entry with approach lamps, built-in perimeter alarm
Towing:
Maximum towing capacity 8,700 pounds, utilizing built-in Class III/IV receiver hitch*
Maximum hitch weight
870 pounds
* Class III weight carrying hitch receiver accommodates trailers to 5,000 pounds. Class IV applications for trailers to 8,700 pounds require aftermarket weight distributing equipment.
Payload capacity:
1,200 pounds / 544.3 kilos

"German cars have a distinctive character, so do British and Japanese cars. American Luxury and Lincoln are about having products that are equal to the best in the world in engineering and quality terms, but totally unique - and unabashedly American - in the way they drive, in they way the look and feel."

- Mark Hutchins, President, Lincoln Mercury


The Blackwood's tonneau cover can be opened remotely.