GIVEN the SUV market has become somewhat swamped there are few models that genuinely stand out.
For vehicles that are rooted in ruggedness having star quality doesn't often seem to go with the territory.
Of course the original Land Rover Defender has always exuded a timeless star quality and je ne sais quois that makes it genuinely special and so too does its more stylish sibling the Range Rover throughout its various incarnations.
I also think a pretty strong case could be made for the Toyota Land Cruiser.
The Defender might always have been hailed as the king of the off-road but in many remote locations the Land Cruiser was the vehicle of choice.
Decades ago I was taken on a sand dune safari in Dubai and was transported in a Land Cruiser.
I enquired as to why they didn't use Defenders and was told that Land Cruisers were better for the desert conditions and they preferred them.
In its own way the Land Cruiser is connected to the very essence off-roading with a reputation for capability and reliability that is envied by a great many - perhaps even Land Rover included.
Like the old Defender the Land Cruiser has an unassuming kind of star quality - it gets on with the job in a no-nonsense way with no fuss.
Of course my recent experience at the wheel of a Land Cruiser was not negotiating water-filled ruts on a muddy trail, or ascending steep sand dunes, but toing and froing in suburbia and notching-up a fair few motorway miles.
The Land Cruiser is one of those vehicles that has evolved over time.
It still has that large, traditional, boxy SUV design blueprint.
One of the recent revisions for the line-up is a new 2.8-litre diesel engine.
The vehicle I had pre-dated that, meaning it had a less efficient and less potent 2.8-litre unit.
However it was still an impressive performer and another interesting thing about the Land Cruiser is that prices really haven't risen that much.
In 2016 the model I tried would have set you back £55,595. The price of this car in 2021 was just a couple of hundred pounds more at £55,880.
Okay, it's hardly a bargain basement vehicle but considering it's at the top end of the range and comes with a lot of bells and whistles it looks very cheap compared to a Range Rover, which could quite easily set you back twice that much.
One of the good things about that upgraded engine, as well as managing to take you to 60mph in under ten seconds, is that it meets the UK's RDE2 (Real Driving Emissions) standard.
That means it qualifies for a lower Vehicle Excise Duty charge - down by Â£325 in the first year compared to the previous 2.8-litre Land Cruiser.
The best thing about the Land Cruiser's cabin is its spaciousness. It's a huge, open and accommodating environment.
While it's far from being a luxury vehicle it feels comfortable to travel in and I found it exceptionally so while soaking up those motorway miles. You wouldn't imagine it as being a consummate long distance cruiser but it is.
Not surprisingly it offers a huge amount of boot space, that almost doubles from 621 to 1,151 litres with the rear seats folded down.
Given its overall bulk it offers a nice high driving position and that traditional design and its big windows mean visibility is great all round.
The instrumentation is relatively simple and although it's not excessively modern it adds to its rugged appeal.
There's no shortage of technology with cameras and sensors for parking and I really loved its adaptive cruise control.
It also has a clear and easy to use infotainment system.