Debate continues over whether or not Lincoln and Cadillac belong in the truck business. The former has been around since 1917, the latter was founded 100 years ago. And if you don't count the Escalade and Navigator SUVs or the odd custom-bodied special here and there, each has managed to last this long without building trucks. Why now?

Simple: Times change, as do people's wants, tastes, and needs. At the moment, the market wants trucks and sport/utilities to the tune of one out of every two new vehicles sold. And, like it or not, Lincoln and Cadillac are in business to move metal and earn a profit. So while 1955 Continental Mark II and 1959 Eldorado convertible collectors may feel the very notion of rigs like the Blackwood and Escalade EXT is blasphemy, they're here. With the aforementioned profit notions clearly in view. If people want, like, and buy them, they'll be proven as good product ideas. If they tank, well then, the collectors were right all along.

For the sake of this exercise, we're not here to further debate brand heritage or talk philosophy: We're here to drive, test, evaluate, and pick a winner. Both lux trucks are new for 2002 and clearly stem from developments of Ford's and GM's full-size pickups. But there are distinct differences in their platforms and how they handle cargo--or don't. And that defines what each is ultimately about.