Our choice of the ultimate luxury cars in 12 different categories shows what it takes to boost posh to new levels of excellence
Paul A. Eisenstein
From the Print Edition:
Phil Ivey, March/April 2010
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The MKT's power train flouts traditional SUV/CUV thinking. Nope, no V-8. Parent Ford opted to equip the 2010 MKT with the six-cylinder EcoBoost engine. The new high-tech, twin-turbo package delivers eight-banger power and performance with the fuel economy of a six.
The Land Rover is the remake of the old and less-than-fully-refined LR3. With the redubbed LR4, the British marque has truly come through. Gone are the clunky plastic parts that covered the cabin. The new cockpit is lavish. Slick features include a forward-looking camera to help see the obstacles ahead when you're off-roading. The LR4 is a phenomenal trail-handler, thanks in part to the Terrain Response Control, which instantly adapts brakes, chassis, transmission and throttle to road conditions. We tried and failed to get it stuck during an autumn tour through New England. But this is now a car that you can drive everyday. Maybe you don't need a crossover after all. Lincoln $44,995; Land Rover $48,100
Best Premium CUV/SUV
Land Rover Range Rover
In years past, it would have been hard to imagine Land Rover taking one, never mind two, best-of awards. But the British maker's latest version of its flagship Range Rover also deserves inclusion here.
The ultimate in comfort, style and performance comes with the crème de la crème Autobiography model, which is targeted at its most exclusive and demanding customers. The goal, according to chief designer David Saddington, was to make the Autobiography look "more formal and more elegant." That means modest exterior touches, including new headlamps, a revised grille and tweaks to the bumper. The striking front "signature" lamps now use LED bulbs, as do the tail lamps. The supercharged versions of the Range Rover-Autobiography included-carry over the three-bar grille to the now functional side intakes.
The cabin has been refined on all new Range Rover editions, with such subtle details as the updated, backlit switches. The most striking change for 2010, however, is located smack in the center of the gauge cluster. Land Rover has adopted a positively massive 12-inch TFT video screen, which instantly changes look and layout depending on the driving mode.
Like the LR4, the Range Rover gets the slick Terrain Response system. This is truly the sort of vehicle that will handle a rough trail by day and get you to the theater in style by night. $79,275
Contributing editor Paul A. Eisenstein also edits TheDetroitBureau.com.
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