There's something about a barroom brawl that we like. The easiest way to choose a clear winner is to look for the last guy standing. That's what we decided to do after listening to public-relations reps, marketing experts, and ad-agency wanks tell us their vehicle (sometimes their client's vehicle) was the toughest, roughest, and most capable thing on four wheels. We wanted them to prove it. In fact, more than proving it, we wanted them to give us the vehicles so we could punish them, push them to their limits, and find out, once and for all, which of these self-described SUV champions could be the Ultimate 4x4.

The Players
Our players include the Jeep Wrangler Rubicon--because of its impressive Rubicon option package that offers larger tires, a small suspension lift, better shocks, stronger live axles, locking differentials, and a special transfer case with a very, very low-range gear of 4.00:1.

Next is the Hummer H1, for obvious reasons (there's probably no one in the auto industry that's louder about its respective 4x4 prowess).

We also opted to invite the new Hummer H2 SUT, which offers center and rear locking differentials and a sophisticated traction-control system that acts like a locking differential on the front wheels. Besides, we like the fact that you can drop the rear window and bulkhead, drop the window, open the moonroof, and feel like you're in the outdoors while driving through it.