Cadillac tops the cargo area off with three independently removable tonneau cover panels that lock into the bed, and each other. They're made of an aluminum-sandwich and composite material not unlike that used for the flooring of passenger aircraft and are weight rated at 250 lb each. The rear tailgate is lockable. Cadillac calls this integrated cargo-management package the Utility Enhancement System. Cutesy marketing-inspired name aside, it's absolutely slick, and it all works together well.

Both the EXT and Blackwood come with but one powertrain, but they each represent the top offering in Ford's and GM's light-duty truck line. Lincoln's 5.4L/300-hp DOHC InTech can be thought of as part Triton truck engine, part SVT Cobra V-8. Its 355 lb-ft of torque arrives at a useful 2750 rpm, and the Blackwood's sole transmission choice is a four-speed automatic. This combination is ultra-smooth, quiet on the cruise, and hustles the 5700-lb 'Wood 0-60 in a wholly reasonable 8.4 sec.

Cadillac sticks with a more traditional take on the Great American V-8, and its 6.0L Vortec is certainly one of them. It cranks out 345 hp, also backed by a four-speed automatic. The EXT's 380 lb-ft torque peak is greater than that of the Blackwood, but is delivered at a much higher 4000 rpm. It all combines to grunt the Caddy's 5750-plus lb to 60 nearly four-tenths of a second quicker at 8.0 sec flat, which is impressive considering the additional powertrain losses created by our EXT tester's all-wheel-drive system.

The Lincoln powertrain feels slightly smoother, yet the Cadillac's transmission hunts less and finds the right gear more. But both powertrains are excellent. The EXT's full-time AWD is transparent in operation; there are no low range, transfer case, or any such trucklike notions, and it will certainly be welcome by those who live in wet climes.