Sums up Loh: "I can imagine Maharajahs used to riding atop big Indian elephants being jealous of this rig."

THE REAL THING
This was an easy call. If you're taking the tribe off-road, and maybe even if you're just doing the mall thing, the Land Rover LR4 tackles every mission parameter with ease. Room? Biggest here: more than 90 cubic feet with the rear seats down-and a third row that's genuinely comfortable for adults. Towing? Top rating: 7716 pounds. Off-road prowess? Easily best, with up to 9.4 inches of ground clearance (with the air springs raised) and the latest edition of Land Rover's Terrain Response system-which makes optimizing throttle response, transmission, and chassis performance for any condition as easy as twirling a dial. Says Loh: "I am a conqueror of all I see in this vehicle. Damn, the view is nice: Through these big windows and windshield the Sierras, Eureka Dunes, even the dusty-green Joshua Trees that litter Death Valley look as though shot in Cameron's IMAX 3D." When the tough stuff comes, this is the one drivers fight to pilot.

And yet the LR4 remains thoroughly refined on-road, too. "Brilliant steering that's both light and fluid, yet offers plenty of feel and feedback-wouldn't mind this in a sports car," says Kiino. "Love the multi-configurable seating arrangement and genuinely flat load floor," adds Loh. "I can stretch out on it no problem; could easily camp at night back there."