INNER VOICES:
HOW DOES A 6000-POUND SUV AMBLE 16,000 FEET UP THE ANDES?

Quite nicely, thank you, due to several key innovations. First is the engine. Our LR3 TDV6 is powered a 2.7-liter high-pressure common-rail turbodiesel V-6 engine making 188 horsepower and 325 pound-feet of torque. Despite the incredible elevations, our diesel LR3 never fails to get us where we need to go. Near the 16,000-foot summit, throttle response suffers noticeably, but all it takes is a simple mental recalibration to take care of the delay. And at lower elevations, all that torque is more than enough to tackle the serious rock-crawling situations Land Rover has set up for us.

The ease with which we skedaddle through tight crevasses and over steep inclines covered in loose rock is also due in part to Terrain Response, Land Rover's patented traction-control system. We simply turn the chunky rotary dial on the center console to one of five settings recommend by our instructors-general driving, slippery (aka grass/grave/snow), mud and ruts, sand, and rock crawl. Terrain Response does the rest and with little drama.

Terrain Response controls ride height, engine torque response, Hill Descent Control, Electronic Traction Control, as well as transmission and differential settings. Given all of this technology, it's no wonder we spend more time simply enjoying the amazing scenery ahead of us and less time worrying how we'll actually get there.

For 2008, U.S.-market Land Rover LR3s receive some minor interior upgrades. Plans to bring the TDV6 here have yet to be finalized, but we're hearing it could arrive as soon as 2010.