2002 Lincoln Blackwood

Dec. 12, 2002
A review of the 2002 Lincoln Blackwood SUV.

Having expanded beyond luxury sedans and SUVs, Lincoln now enters the pickup-truck scene with the Blackwood. But don't expect any cowboys to be snapping up this rear-wheel-drive beauty any time soon. It may be a pickup, but its heart and soul are firmly anchored in the lap of luxury.

A 5.4-liter, dual-overhead-cam V8 provides 300 hp at 5,000 rpm and 355 lb-ft of torque at 2,750 rpm, giving the 5,700-lb truck adequate get-up-and-go. I had no problem passing semi trucks chugging their way across the curvy Pennsylvania Turnpike. The powerplant links to a four-speed automatic transmission with overdrive and a locking torque converter. A 3.73 final-drive ratio and built-in hitch contribute to the 8,700-lb tow rating.

The Blackwood rides on an independent SLA front suspension with coil springs, acceleration-sensitive shock absorbers, and a stabilizer bar. In back, a five-link, load-leveling leaf and air-spring hybrid setup smooths the ride with its acceleration-sensitive shocks and stabilizer bar. The single leaf spring's parabolic cross section helps it handle the weight of an unloaded vehicle on the rear axle. As passengers and cargo are added, the extra weight is supported by the air spring. Air pressure in the spring varies to maintain ride height. To help keep the Blackwood on the road, a traction-assist system cuts engine output by retarding spark and reducing fuel flow until traction is regained.

During low-speed situations, such as parking, variable-assist power steering kicks in. Parking the Blackwood in congested parking lots is fairly effortless, comparable to maneuvering a midsize sedan. The variable assist almost disappears at higher speeds, leaving drivers with a crisp steering feel.For safety, front passengers are protected by second-generation front and seat-mounted side air bags, as well as seat belts with pretensioners and energy-management retractors. All shoulder belts are height adjustable.

Three-channel, four-wheel ABS with electronic brake-force distribution (EBD) improves braking by continuously monitoring wheel slip and distributing brake forces front to rear based on traction. This lets rear wheels supply more braking as loads on the rear axle increase, such as when the cargo area is loaded or during towing.

The tonneau cover opens to a 6-ft, 8-in height using the key fob, a switch on the interior overhead console, or through a code on the driver's door keypad.

Now let's talk luxury. The concept version of the Blackwood carried heavily striated African Wenge wood along the outside of the bed. To carry this over into production, a three-dimensional composite surface and a photolaminate process mimic the wood bands, which are set off by brushed aluminum tape stripes. The 4-ft, 8-in. cargo trunk sports stainless-steel trim and LED accent lighting inside, and is protected by a hard, power tonneau cover. A dual-door tailgate provides easy access to the cargo area.

The Blackwood's interior features oak trim, and perforated, black leather seats which can be cooled or heated. Standard equipment includes an Alpine audio system and cassette player, a six-disc CD changer that sits in the center console, huge power moonroof, power doors, locks, and heated side mirrors, a rear sensor that monitors distances to objects when backing up, traction control, and power-adjustable pedals. The only option the Blackwood offers is a navigation system for $1,995.

Mileage is abysmal. Lincoln states the Blackwood gets 17-mpg highway, 12 mpg for city driving. My figures confirm this and it seems the Blackwood is a gas-sucking monster that requires premium fuel to feed its voracious 25-gallon tank. Compounding this wallet-draining feature is a $51,785 base price. Add on the navigation system and destination charges, and it jumps to $54,495, which would cause most ordinary cowboys to shake in their boots. But, as my boss says, if you have to ask, you probably can't afford it.

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