The Blackwood's dual overhead cam, 300hp/355ft-lbs. 5.4-liter engine provides plenty of power for the truck and the ability to pull an 8,700 lbs. trailer load with its 3.73 rear axle ratio and built-in Class III/IV towing hitch. Perfect for taking your boat down to the marina. An 4R100 4-speed automatic transmission, also found in Ford F-350 SuperDuty heavy duty pickups, rounds out the powertrain.
Acceleration and speed were more than acceptable for a truck of the Blackwood's size. It definitely hits 70 faster than a SuperCrew but didn't feel as quick as the EXT.
During our time with the Blackwood we averaged about 13.3 miles-per-gallon fuel economy over widely ranging roads, highways and hills.
The EXT is powered by GM's excellent Vortec 6000 V8 but with some additional tuning and engineering to pump out 345hp/380ft-lbs. of torque. Like the Blackwood's engine, the EXT has aluminum heads but combines this with a larger throttle body bore, revised camshaft and exhaust modifications. Strangely, out of the box the EXT tows less than the Blackwood, rated at only 8,000 lbs. The EXT uses GM's top-rated Hydramatic 4L60-E heavy-duty, 4-speed automatic transmission.
We really liked the EXT's powerplant. It's acceleration, torque and engine power are right in the sweet spot of luxury trucks.
Given all that we have described about the Blackwood and EXT inside, outside and under the hood, both trucks pretty much wind up in a draw until you get out on the road where the Cadillac really begins to show off its merits over the Lincoln. We drove both trucks back to back over highways and some of the twistiest country roads in California.
We began with the EXT for the driving portion. The first few miles were warm up heading east through Carmel Valley but soon the map we were following indicated we should make a detour onto Cachaqua Road.
Now, Cachaqua Road isn't your ordinary type of ho-hum California suburban street. It starts with an immediately steep climb and twisties every couple of hundred feet with trees and hillsides blocking visibility. Lest we forget, parts of the road were under construction and 18-wheeler semis full of gravel suddenly came out of nowhere filling their girth across the entire breadth of Cachaqua's hairpin turns. Oh yeah, its also only one-and-a-half-lanes wide. Mr. Toad eat your heart out because you ain't got nuthin' on this route.
The EXT is a big truck and it's probably a good thing we drove it first on the drive route because all of its handling and suspension abilities were called into play during the drive on Cachaqua. Throughout the S-turns of Cachaqua the EXT felt surefooted and followed the driver's line every time a change of direction was dictated.
In probably the understatement of the day another journalist in the truck with us noted that with the Cadillac, "timing is everything" as we came around the corner of one particularly tight turn to see the incoming grille of one of those gravel trucks coming straight at us. The EXT gracefully handled the immediate application of brakes without any complaints.
There is a lot to be said about the AWD system in the EXT. Even on the tightest turns you might hear some 'scrubbing' coming from the tires but at no point did we ever feel that traction was ever lost or significantly diminished. And the StabiliTrak light never came on to indicate the system was working overtime to compensate for driver misjudgment.
The rest of the drive was a cakewalk after the first portion. We drove the EXT through farm country and on freeways where the Cadillac demonstrated its excellent on-road manners and civility. Exactly what you want in a luxury vehicle with the presence and capabilities to handle whatever unexpected surprises might lurk around the next turn.
The Blackwood followed the same drive route as the EXT the next morning, actually trailing another wave of journalists in the Cadillacs.
We didn't expect the Blackwood to perform as well as the EXT because its suspension is just not as sophisticated but we were pleasantly surprised more than a few times. The truck handled most of the curves along Cachaqua almost as well as the Cadillac but we didn't dare take them quite as aggressively as with the EXT. Still, it was possible to catch up with some much smaller and nimbler automotive traffic.
Overall the Blackwood drove like a Lincoln with its clean and precise steering but it doesn't carry the same 'riding-on-rails' DNA of the EXT. Highways and smooth suburban roads are where the Lincoln struts its stuff best.
So, it boils down to this. Both the Lincoln Blackwood and Cadillac EXT are excellent trucks with the Cadillac edging out the Blackwood and probably widening that gap next year with an all new interior.
We really like the Blackwood's distinctive looks and attention to detail around the bed but the Cadillac's engine and handling capabilities won us over on the road which is where it matters most.
|Page:      |