Category Archives: Hummer

2007 Hummer H3X (622)

Overview:
This week we’re looking at the 2007 Hummer H3X that rounds out the entire line of Hummers we’ve reviewed. I rather liked the scaled down Toyota FJ, but there is nothing like the real thing and this is the real article. The FJ, however, is also scaled down in price and is about $10,000 less than the H3X.

Me… I would opt for the Hummer … nothing like it on the planet and if you’re even more way out the original H1 or Alpha version will cost more than three times the price of this H3X. And there is no doubt it will set you even further apart from the mainstream.

General Info:

Parts – n/a

Assembly – USA

Class:  – Special Purpose

Cars: – H1-Alpha, H2 and H3.

Public Service Observation:

Ever notice how some driver’s gas pedal foot is lighter while they are on their cell phone and they speed up when they finish their call. It will usually be a man who is guilty of that fluctuation of speed because guys can’t multi task as well as women. She not only can talk on the cell phone, she can put on make up, brush her hair and discipline the kids in the back seat – and all that at 70 miles per hour. You gotta just love those gals.

Handling & Performance:

Undoubtedly among the most comfortable of the SUVs I’ve driven. Fuel consumption is much better than prior models and it burns 87 octane regular gasoline. This puppy will take you from 0 to 60 mph in about 10 seconds which is not too shabby for this hunk.

Styling:

Hummers are clearly the most recognizable of SUVs and the most unique on our highways today. It has that unmistakable look which exudes a feeling of invincibility. That alone will attract many macho guys to this rugged looking sport Ute. The H3 is 17 inches shorter than the H2 but hardly noticeable unless they are side by each.

Fit and Finish:

As the Hummer has matured and evolved from the H1 (Alpha) to the H2 and H3 they have become much more refined. While on a road trip to Yosemite National Park several guys stopped to take a look. One asked if it was on the same platform as the Chevy Tahoe, but it is, in fact, built on the much smaller Chevy Colorado frame.

Cost:

Of the many SUVs the price of admission to the H3 family has to be uniqueness but still the price is very competitive.

Conveniences and comfort:

The first Hummer I drove was the original H1 and it was extremely basic. Rough and tumble and as close to the GI Hummer (HumVee jargon for HMMWV that stands for High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle) as any production civilian vehicle can get. They are still in service in the military today but surely a novelty for civilian use.

Consumer Recommendation:

If you are in the market for an SUV you will want to test drive this one. I’m into different and would lean strongly toward the H3 over most of the competition that are more into “Fluff” than being as capable off road vehicles.

Recognized Competition:

GMC Envoy $26-38,000, BMW X3 $37,000, Toyota 4Runner $28-38,000, Jeep Grand Cherokee $27-43,000, Land Rover LR3 $38-53,000, Lexus GX 470 $47,000, Dodge Durango $29-38,000, Nissan Xterra $20-28,000, Infiniti FX $38-50,000, Chevrolet TrailBlazer $25-37,000, Ford Explorer $25-35,000, Honda Pilot $27-35,000.

Good News:

Unique styling, improved but still unacceptable fuel economy, solid comfy ride, elegantly appointed and easy to use features,

Bad News:

Fuel thirsty hog and the spare tire mounting reduces rear visibility.

Standard Equipment:

3.7 liter 242 hp inline 5 cylinder engine, 5-speed manual (4-speed automatic is optional), air conditioning, power windows and locks, 8-way power leather seats, with driver and passenger heated seats, leather wrapped steering wheel, shift knob and boot, audio with CD and MP3 player, front and side airbags, traction control, full size spare tire with cover, 18” wheels, chrome tubular side steps, chromed door handles, mirror caps and fuel filler door, and stability control. Options include the following: Roof rail airbag system with rollover sensor, power sunroof, 4-speed auto trans, OnStar with turn-by-turn navigation, XM Satellite radio (first 3 mos) and Navigation system.

Gas Stats:

$2.30/ Gal avg.

15 City and 20 Highway MPG

Pricing:

MSRP $37,475 – with options $43,920.

2006 Hummer H3 SUV (576)

Overview:
Returning to LAX I had the excitement of being greeted by the new 2006 Hummer H3 SUV. If you liked the H1 and warmed up to the H2 you surely will like this H3.

GM has continued to downsize the original “Alpha” H1 Hummer while maintaining the look and feel into the smaller versions. Thanks to GM it gave all of us the opportunity of owning a “Rambo” type vehicle at a our individual price bracket if that’s what we want.

Roughly the costs are $100,000 for the original H1, $52,000 for the H2 and $36,000 for the H3 – all well equipped.

General Info:

Parts – USA

Assembly – USA

Class:  – SUV

Cars:  H1, H2 and H3.

Handling & Performance:

0-60 in under 10 seconds doesn’t sound all that impressive, but it is still a big hunk to move quickly. In any case I doubt you’ll be buying one for road racing.

Styling:

True to the parent so you know who’s kid this is.

Fit and Finish:

You just knew when they transformed the fighting machine into civilian clothes it would have to be a real car and thus it would have to fit together better than the H1. Well, it does fit together far better. And that is a good thing because the H1 was rough around the edges.

Cost:

It is priced just where I (and I expect you) believed it would be. It’s competitive with other SUV’s. And why shouldn’t it? because that’s what it is and I doubt the consumer would pay much, if anything, more than any other SUV offered and available from other manufactrurers.

Conveniences:

XM radio is wonderful and fast becoming one of the must have features on any car today.

Consumer Recommendation:

Hummer is still like nothing else on the highways of this planet. If that’s your thing to own unique things this will appeal to you a lot. My friend Lev had to have one of each so last week he went out and bought one – without even asking me. Can you believe that? I doubt he will get rid of the H1 and H2 because it would break up the set. Lev collects things like this like our kids collect Star Wars pieces at MacDonalds.

I liked the novelty of the H1 but this H3 is the best size yet with the same feel and look. Ok, so the H1 is way further out there, but this is a good idea for the rugged individualist who shudders at spending $100 grand for the original. But if you think about it, the Jeep Wrangler is really more for the “Outdoors-man” who is truly a tough and tumble guy or gal.

The Competition:

Hummer H3 $29-36,000, GMC Envoy $29-40,000, Chevrolet Trailblazer $27-33,000, Toyota 4Runner $28-38,000, Jeep Grand Cherokee $27-42,000, Ford Explorer $27-36,000, Honda Pilot $27-35,000, Land Rover LR3 $38-53,000, Lexus GS 470 $46,535, Dodge Durango $28-37,000.

Good News:

Affordable Rambo-Mobile, comfortable ride – really it is very smooth, Unique driving experience.

Bad News:

Not really all that great on fuel. I didn’t agree with the EPA stats of up to 20 MPG around town.

Standard Equipment:

3.5 liter 220 hp engine, power sunroof, 5-speed manual transmission, air conditioning, power wienows and locks, seating for 5, CD player, dual front air bags, ABS brakes, traction control. Options: chrome exterior door handles and exterior mirrors, XM Satellite Radio, off road suspension package including off road tires, 4:1 2-speed transfer case, locking rear differential and specially tuned shocks, trailer hitch and wiring, luxury package including leather seating, 8-way power driver and passenger seats w/ heated seat cushions, leather wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, AM/FM with 6-disc in-dash CD changer with 7 speaker monsoon system with amplifier and rear woofer speakers, oversized mats. Options add $7,200 for a total of $36,225.

Gas Stats:

16 City and 20 Highway MPG

Pricing:

MSRP $28,935.

2005 Hummer H2 (558)

2005 Hummer H2
Overview:
This week we’re stepping into the 2005 Hummer H2 that reminds me how much I’m looking forward to comparing it and other SUVs to the H3. They just hit the press fleet and I’m scheduling one now.

I always enjoy driving this special vehicle, beginning with the original H1 Alpha that was slightly adjusted for street use right from Desert Storm. It is unique in the whole world that is so populated with commonplace everything that can be so boring. This will add a little spice to your life. You also don’t get much better for off road confidence. The wide track gives that feeling of stability. Surely I don’t get that feeling in other high profile SUVs. You do get that feeling you can take on all the terrorist single handed, even if your name isn’t John Rambo.

I took the time to go the long way from the high desert to Los Angeles. Up over the San Gabriel mountains (via Sand Canyon) and you’d be impressed. I didn’t hold back and felt very comfortable even in turns at 30 mph over recommended speeds. It is amazingly sure footed for such a big guy.

Public Service item: Occasionally I notice something I have to share with my readers. Ok, so you’ll say that I have a keen sense of the obvious but here goes anyway. A simple driving tip and common courtesy to avoid “Road Rage” is that if you find you are “Not” passing cars in the lane to your right, you should move into that lane. That prevents those traveling faster than you from having to pass on the right. I’ve gotta tell you, if you’ve ever driven the roads in Europe, you know what I mean. They have to be the most aware and polite drivers in the world. I’ve driven in some of Asia and much of Europe. I love European drivers.

General Info:

Parts – US

Assembly – Mishawaka, Indiana, USA

Class:  – Special Purpose – SUV

Cars:  H1 Alpha, H2 and H3

Handling & Performance:

This is more practical than the H1 because it is a full foot narrower so it actually fits in a usual parking space and making it generally easier to maneuver. It also rides really well. I took the H1 up to Las Vegas to deliver a large piece of equipment and forgot my kidney belt. Not a good thing. So this H2 was a welcomed change and improvement on the handling characteristics of the H1. The H2 is also very fast and that means it will suck up gas like it were cheaply abundant. The range, of course, is still 300 miles as is common with all cars. They simply provide a gas tank big enough for the cars performance that will give it a range of 300 miles. For the guzzlers the tank just get bigger.

Styling:

Unique. Your Hummer won’t be confused with any other car on the planet. That’s why I believe it is so popular. What a fluke… from the Desert Storm short war to the streets. Only in America.

Fit and Finish:

Rugged. But this H2 is more refined than the original H1 as you’d expect. When the H2 hit the scene you knew it would become more SUV’ish and the trend continues with the H3.

Cost:

It will set you back half of the price of the H1 so it goes to show you that the more extreme the higher the price tag. So is this just a wanna-be Hummer? For most people they won’t see much difference except the cost is half of the original.

Conveniences:

Typical of most SUVs. It is equipped however with equipment to allow it to cross water up to the doors, or past the wheel wells. You can do that in a passenger car but not guaranteed.

Consumer Recommendation:

If you want to be different, do off roading for fun or necessity, tower over other traffic and come out on top in case of an accident and finally don’t care what the cost of moving a truck this size you can’t help wanting one of these Hummers. You can’t be disappointed because there isn’t really anything to compare it too. You’re all alone in a sea of sameness. And you’ll sit tall in the saddle Cowboy!

The Competition:

VW Touareg $37-58,000, Hummer H2 $52,000, Cadillac Escalade $54-70,000, Lincoln Aviator $41-44,000, GMC Yukon Denali $50-52,000, Audi Allroad quattro $40-47,000, Land Rover LR3 $38-49,000, Volvo XC90 $35-45,000, Acura MDX $37-44,000, BMW X5 $42-70,000, Infiniti FX $35-46,000, Porsche Cayenne $41-89,000, Lexus GX 470 $46,225, Mercedes M-Class $40-49,000.

Good News:

Unique driving experience, superior off road ability, great sound system and it is cost competitive. Great if you want a war fortress in the sense that Sports Cars are like Jet fighter cockpits and V-Dubs are rather cutsie and trucks and sedans are serviceable.

Bad News:

Horrible gas-guzzler

Standard Equipment:

6.0 liter 325 hp V8 engine, 4-speed auto trans, 3-piece ‘ladder’ type frame, indep front suspension with torsion bars, coil spring rear suspension, electronic transfer case, electronic locking rear differential, traction contool, front and rear recovery loops, dual front air bags, remote keyless entry, 4-wheel disc brakes, auto headlight control, theft deterrent system, onstar system one year included, leather seating, 8-way power heated front seats with driver memory, fold flat 2nd row heated seats, rear seat audion controls, triple sealed doors, driver information center, leather wrapped tilt steering wheel, stereo with CD and cassette players, Bose premium speaker system, heated power folding mirrors, front winch receiver, underbody production, class II trailer hitch.

Gas Stats:

”Horrible” City and “Not much Better” Highway MPG

Pricing:

MSRP $52,430.

2005 Hummer H2 SUT (Sport Utility Truck) (516)

Overview:
This week I tested the 2005 Hummer H2 SUT (for Sport Utility Truck). Ok, so I make a big thing about excessive use of fossil fuels. But it is so cool to be decadent and irreverently suck up more than ones share of gas. And because the Hummer owner is not swayed much by the price of gas at the pump, any alluding to being responsible goes right over their head.

When you step into the Hummer, you are captivated by the immensity of the machine. You get the sense you are in a “Bunker” of WWII vintage where you are peering out of narrow windows. It makes an unforgettable statement in its dominant road presence because of its shear size and weight (6500 pounds). So is that why people put up half a hundred thousand dollars to own one?

This H2 is a look-alike of the original Hummer (H1 if you wish) that made a name for itself in the Desert Storm war in Kuwait. Most will know that, but more will equate the Hummer image with Rambo behind the wheel fighting the good (Hollywood) fight. But this is the powder puff, citified version that is more comfortable on Beverly Hills’ Rodeo Drive where the tough go shopping.

The original as you may recall was acro-named (hey, a new word) HMMWV or Humvee, and stands for High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle. I wonder if this madness will continue in sequels like the Hollywood movies that made the Humvee so popular. There likely will be an H3 and who knows past that. With sagging sales and production of 34,000 units in 2003 model year, and even less in 2004, sales will dictate the future. Gas prices are sure to play a role even more since not everyone will want to pay the prices and get 10 miles per gallon. H3 however is planned for 2005 and so we’ll see.

And I wonder how sales will be affected by the changes in world terrorism. Will there be an increased demand for this wartime vehicle? Will optional equipment include a 50-caliber machine gun? Will they put rifle racks inside? If they do all that, I’ll buy one. That adds a whole new dimension self defense against terrorists or simple “Road Rage”. You can bet you’d be treated with some respect. Boy I already miss Rodney Dangerfield.

General Info:

Parts –  USA

Assembly – USA

Class:  – Special purpose SUV / Truck

Cars:  – Hummer H1 and H2

Handling & Performance:

The ride is remarkably comfortable and smooth. The power is even more surprising. This huge hunk just shouldn’t be so responsive. And it is an odd feeling to look down at the speedometer and find you are doing 65 while the feel is that you are only traveling at about 40 mph. You won’t want to buy one to zip around town in a snappy way or run up to the store for a quart of milk. It fills the lanes and more than fills a parking space in most malls. You really need to take two spaces. Parallel parking is a challenge for many and impossible for others, especially if they find themselves behind the wheel of a Hummer.

Styling:

Although it is a Powder Puff version of the serious military machine, it is still equipped for serious off road use. That means it will ford a river four feet deep and not reach the air intake high on the hood. Such functional things make a style statement apart from any ordinary or even extraordinary SUV. Land Rover is the image of off road capability from the bloody Brits. But this Hummer is uniquely Americana. It is what we’re all about. Rebels with or without a cause. We have always had that pioneer spirit. We not only want to be different, we ARE different.

Standard design includes a tan interior but black is optional, and in my opinion black is more attractive and also more practical for a SUV / Truck.

Fit and Finish:

Smoothly rugged but generally better than it needs to be for the image.

Cost:

50 odd thousand is not really all that bad, considering you’d pay about $40,000 for a Jeep Grand Cherokee with none of the flamboyance.

Conveniences:

Just enough for a Beverly Hills celebrity and too much for transportation in the “Out Back”. But it is a truck, of sorts, and you can put the rear seat down and much like the Chevrolet Avalanche you can extend the small rear truck bed space – 4 by 2.9 feet to provide a 6 foot long bed.

Consumer Recommendation:

If you are looking for a third car for the hell of it, this is one fun experience to drive. I’ve tested several beginning with the original Hummer and if you want the real thing you’ll have to pay twice the money for even more inconvenience. Consider another impracticality of the Hummer for off road use. Until you are out there, most people don’t realize that most dirt roads are not wide enough for this H2 to pass through, and forget the H1 if there are trees along the road. In any case the H2 it is too pretty to mess up in rugged conditions.

The Competition:

You know what? There is no competition, not really. That’s what makes it so exciting to drive. But if you had to list some close alternatives I guess these would be the closest: Chevrolet Avalanche $33-38,000, Cadillac Escalade EXT $53,000, and perhaps the Land Rover Range Rover $72-84,000.

Good News:

You will be in a very small private and unique club with sales of about 25,000 on average, and you will have all the comforts of most luxury vehicles. Surprisingly smooth road vehicle.

Bad News:

Poor fuel economy, small trunk / cargo area with rear seat up. Overall it is impractical for city, and even freeway use. It is difficult to park and grandma will have a tough time getting up into this behemoth not to mention most others too. Driving it is not for the faint hearted and your garage may not accommodate it. You’ll notice some road noise on the highway.

Standard Equipment:

8600 pound GVW rating, 6.0 316 horsepower Vortec 6000 V8 engine, 4-speed electronic heavy duty automatic transmission, AM/FM sound system with cassette and 6-in-dash CD changer, air conditioning, power leather seats for 5, dual air bags, traction control, ABS Brakes, 17” chrome wheels, XM Satellite radio with 100 channels, remote keyless entry, power windows door locks and power moon roof.

Gas Stats:

10 City and 13 Highway MPG

Pricing:

MSRP $51,995.

2003 Hummer H2 (431)

Overview:

I like this new Hummer H2 much more than the H1. But both are about as practical as owning a fighter jet or a tank. On the other hand it is kind-a cool and surely takes the SUV experience to the Max.

People look, but you’ve got to wonder – are they thinking, “That guy or gal is nuts” or are they thinking it’s as cool as I do. Ok, it’s a Rambo-mobile and guys are brain dead, right ladies? Come on you can tell us how you feel about this “Guy thing”. Can you imagine a woman buying an H2? Let me know what you think, but several ladies have been seen driving on the streets of Los Angeles.

Here are some stats on the H2 that only Tim Allen kind of guys can appreciate: It is said to be the most capable off-road vehicle in the world. Ground clearance is 10.5 inches with an approach angle of 41.7 degrees and departure angle of 38.1 degrees, which explains why it can climb over 16-inch rocks and ford streams of 20 inches. (I did more than that in the H1 because it is a 6.5-liter Turbocharged Diesel… argh, argh, argh). The H1 diesel puts out only 195 horsepower vs. 316 from the gas power V8 in the H2. It has 35-inch tires, which are the largest on any GM Passenger vehicle. It is taller (77.8 inches) than H1 and longer (189.8 inches). It is over 3 inches taller than the Tahoe and believe it or not it is only 2 inches wider, and 9 inches shorter.

The H2 has great acceleration – like a football center that is also qualified to be a wide receiver. This is truly the Superbowl of SUV contenders.

I got much the same response driving this H2 as I did riding my Harley. There is an obvious “Club” that surrounds this type of vehicle. They are extreme, exhilarating and give you a greater sense of your environment. Driving the H2 is surreal and transports you into another dimension. You’re suddenly in the Twilight Zone. What man wouldn’t want to own one of these? In a heartbeat I’d own one if… dear, would you mind if I bought an H2?

General Info:

Parts – US

Assembly – Mishawaka, Indiana USA

Class:  – Special Purpose

Cars: – H1 & H2.

Handling & Performance:

Definitely a hand full but surprisingly easy to drive. It fits in parking spaces just fine – remember it is only 2 inches wider than the Chevy Tahoe. On the other hand, it has lousy rear view visibility, especially with the spare tire inside rear that displaces one possible passenger. Forward visibility is quite good. Off-road is fun and very capable. They did a great job of marrying the smooth highway-driving ride to an easy transition to rugged off-road conditions.

The H2 is faster, much quieter and far more comfortable and smooth riding than the H1 without loss of off-road prowess.

Styling:

It is (relatively speaking) more practical because of size and is simply more SUV-like in design and interior look and feel. It has the same military inspired design with the very straight windshield so reminiscent of the duce and a half I drove in the Navy. It seats 5 with an optional 3rd row seat for a 6th. The spare tire takes up the other half of the cargo area.

Fit and Finish:

Great – relative to the original that was really “Desert Stormy”.

Conveniences:

Just like any other SUV or car for that matter. All the comforts of home. In fact the seats are large like your overstuffed easy chair in the den.

Cost:

Ladies, if this gets your football watching, couch potato man out, it’s worth the $50 grand. But most won’t be able to justify the H2 as a daily driver and for the average Joe it doesn’t make a lot of sense to put a “depreciating” $50,000 asset in the garage to collect dust.

So who will buy the H2? GM says, “He is likely a very successful, self confident risk taker, personally and professionally. They are passionate, irreverent individuals who don’t mind driving attention-getting vehicles. They are predominately male, college educated with an average income north of $150,000.”

H1 goes for $100,000 plus, so for those who like the idea of a military type of vehicle, $50,000 is affordable. Did you hear that honey – it is affordable?

Consumer Recommendation:

Not recommended for normal transportation. But then, who’s normal. Speaking of normal and contrary to Shirley MacLaine you only go around once, so go for it. These H2’s are going to sell well and they’re only building 40,000. If the demand is as high as I expect you can count on price increases.

The Competition: (in order of avg. price).

Hummer H2 $48,454, Chevrolet Tahoe $34-37,000, Ford Expedition $31-41,000, GMC Yukon $34-37,000, Land Rover Range Rover $71,200, Lexus LX 470 $63,125, Lincoln Navigator $48-54,000, Toyota Land Cruiser $53,405.

Good News:

Different, comfortable, quiet, powerful and exciting to drive.

Bad News:

Difficult to maneuver around town, lousy visibility in close areas especially rear view, poor fuel consumption and hard to get in and out of.

Standard Equipment:

6.0 liter V8 316 horsepower engine, 4-speed automatic transmission, electronic locking rear differential, traction control, dual air bags, remote entry, 4 wheel ABS disc brakes, auto headlight control, theft deterrent system, Bose 9-speaker in-dash CD/Cassette stereo system, OnStar communications systems, 8 way power seats, 2-position memory driver seat, dual zone air conditioning, triple sealed doors, driver information center (computer), leather wrapped tilt steering wheel, 6 power outlets, tinted windows, heated power outside folding mirrors, front winch receiver, underbody protection, Class III trailer hitch and all terrain tires.

Gas Stats:

Note that no data was readily available so compare the following: the 5000 lb. Tahoe 4.8 liter 275 horsepower gets 14 and 18 mpg respectively. The H2 is 6400 lbs. with a 6.0 liter 316 horsepower V8 engine so I’m guessing… But I bet I’m close. It has a 32-gallon tank, and all manufacturers engineer all cars for a 300-mile range, for you trivia buffs.

7 City and 12 Highway MPG.

Pricing:

MSRP $48,065.

2000 Hummer 4-passenger Open Top (323)

Overview:
Why would anyone want to own a Hummer? A. Because it’s practical, B. Because it’s economical, C. Because it’s a diesel, D. None of the above. – Answer: D. None of the above. Is that your final answer? Well there is no final answer, because there are many reasons to own a motor vehicle and this is the ultimate adaptation of the popular SUV with off-road capability.

But because of the purchase price it’s only suited to the rich and foolish? I heard Arnold Schwartzeneger say, “I’m a Hummer kind of guy”. Well, I guess that speaks volumes about the kind of guy who’d buy one. And before you say that’s a sexist comment, this is one of those rare instances where 100% of buyers ARE men. The price of his toys just went up.

If you like the idea of being one of the few who has what you have there isn’t any comparison or competition. All you have to do is fork over about $100,000 to be the proud owner. You’ll sit about 6 inches higher than most SUV’s, in a vehicle nearly 2 feet wider, and this “bad boy” also weighs about double the Range Rover, for example, as it tips the scales at 6640 lbs.  Ground clearance is also double at 16 inches. That doesn’t sound like much, but it allows you to climb over larger obstacles than anything else can.

The first time I tested one of these Hummers a couple of years back I got stuck in mud up to my tousch. Every vehicle has its limitations which I failed to consider until that humiliating off road course experience. Solution: buy it with a winch. Perhaps the illusion of being invincible is because this Hummer is the civilian version of the military Humvee (HMMWV, for High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle), which was made famous in the Gulf War – or operation Desert Storm. The street legal Hummer is available in four trims: Hard Top 2-Door, Hard Top 4-Door, Open Top, and Wagon.

Handling & Performance:

Hummer is a military jeep with an almost car like interior. It’s wide for stability, but too wide to be useful in tight places. It is more at home on the wide-open ranges. The turbo is wonderful with enough poop to go from 0-60 mph in 19.7 seconds and reach a top speed of 82 mph. It is amazingly easy to drive on the highway and has good power steering necessary for tight spaces, which everything becomes for a vehicle this wide. I noticed a lot of “Play” in the steering wheel and don’t know why, but it reminded me of the old days when that was very common.

Styling:

This Hummer is Government Issue (GI) wartime functional and thus has that look, even without the gun turret. That’s what the appeal is all about. Finally a car you’ll feel safe driving through South Central Los Angeles to get to a USC football game while not being out of place in Beverly Hills where you’re likely to find the Hummer climbing over speed bumps with ease. Hummer fits the screen image of Sylvester and Arnold and is in sharp contrast to the usual Porsche, Mercedes and Rolls or Bentley basic transportation.

Fit and Finish:

Military, except the interior is spruced up with leather and wood trim.

Conveniences:

You gotta understand, for someone who drove a duce and a half in the military, this Beverly Hills cruiser is embarrassingly appointed. Leather seating, stereo with cassette and CD player, power windows, etc. But on the other hand, you’d better not put stuff on the passenger seats and start to drive, because if you need it, you have to stop and climb over the snow covered peaks of the center console. They should make a communication system standard equipment to overcome the noise level, too.

Cost:

Too much unless you’re planning a war, then the gun turret will hike the price even more. Cost to maintain is unknown, but it consumes diesel fuel like you’d expect from a Pentagon product and at prices as obscene as gasoline.

Recommendation:

There is no recommendation other than if you have the dough and want to be different, just go for it. Even if I could afford one to get away from it all, hiking or horseback would be more my style and the feed bill is less. The competition is almost laughable, because there is nothing on the road that comes close to the most unique utility vehicle available.

The Competition:

Chevrolet Suburban $25,921-30,780, Ford Excursion $34,245-40,985, GMC Yukon XL $35,752-39,639, Jeep Wrangler $14,890-22,435, Land Rover Range Rover $62,000-68,000, Lexus LX 470 $61,405, Lincoln Navigator $43,645-47,395.

Good News:

Versatile, off-road capable in open terrain, auxiliary fuel tank, unique.

Bad News:

Poor visibility, oversize inconvenience, huge but cramped interior, expensive to own and operate, need for auxiliary fuel tank, small cargo area and noisy.

Standard Equipment:

6.5 liter V8 GM Turbo Diesel engine that produces 195 horsepower with 430 lb-ft of torque, 4-speed automatic transmission, air conditioning, full-time 4-wheel drive and 4-wheel independent suspension, inboard mount power disc brakes, power steering, power door locks, remote entry, power windows, AM/FM Stereo cassette, 25 gal. Fuel tank and 17 gal. auxiliary fuel tank.

Gas Stats:

Not available, but I estimated under 10 mpg.

Pricing:

MSRP $79,065 plus the option package to include tire inflation system, cruise control, driveline protection, brush guards, trailer towing package, run flat tire system, power mirrors, heated windshield, power rearview mirrors, for a total of $89,936.

1999 Hummer (238)

Overview:
I could write a book about this Hummer that will have you humming a different tune from run-of-the-mill vehicles out there. But I’ll try to keep it brief. For starters, what do you call it? Some say it shouldn’t be allowed on the street. It doesn’t look street legal, but it is. It’s a SUV, but more appropriately it is a SPV (special purpose vehicle).

Further, I think its adaptation is for the rich and foolish. Who else would shell out seventy or eighty grand to own one? It reminds me of The Village People singing, …macho, macho man. On the other hand, if you have a job to do out on the range under tough conditions and no one to impress, it can make sense. But on the streets of Beverly Hills, it’s a fish out of water.

Rumor is that Stalone and Schwartzeneger have Hummers. And its no rumor that my eccentric neighbor in the high desert of Acton has one and I still don’t know why. I guess the price of being different takes odd twists from time to time. A Rolls Royce by comparison is common place. In my youth we wore jellyroll and duck tail haircuts, T-shirts with Camel cigarettes rolled up in the sleeve, Levi jeans and “bomber” shoes. We’d put “cut-outs” on our car or truck exhaust systems, just because. It was all the rage and when “uncorked” the noise was enough to drown out even the “boom-box low riders” of today. You might want to try that today. Put them on your Beemer and uncork them the next time you pull up to a stop beside one of those obnoxious kids. They remind me of me at that age. How revolting. Sorry mom and dad, it must have been all those Bob’s Big Boy hamburgers we ate back then.

In any case if it’s different you want, this Hummer, built by AM General Corporation will deliver head-turning looks from virtually everyone, even though demographics say only men buy these “bad boy, macho machines”.

I don’t know if any comparison exists, but let’s look at some Stats of the Hummer next to Jeep Wrangler and Range Rover.

Hummer                     Wrangler                      Range Rover

Curb Weight         6640 lbs.                      3272 lbs.                      4960 lbs.

Wheelbase             130 in                      93.4 in.                        108.1 in.

Track Front            71.6 in.                          58 in.                          60.6 in.

Track Rear          71.6 in.                          58 in.                          60.2 in.

Length                 184.5 in.                          152 in.                        185.5 in.

Width                   86.5 in.                       66.7 in.                          74.4 in.

Height                   76.8 in.                       70.8 in.                           71.6 in.

Ground Clearance    16 in.                           10.3 in.                             8.4 in.

MSRP                 $56-83K                     $14-20K                           $58-75K

If different is your thing, Hummer would win out, but if you’re more practical, the Range rover will likely do enough for you on or off-road. And if MSRP has any impact, the Jeep in the middle will win hands down. I’ve been on Jeep Jamboree’s and I have to tell you, most of what you need to do “off-road” you can do in a Jeep or most any SUV with 4-wheel drive, for that matter. In fact, some of the narrow passages we took the Jeeps through would have been more difficult and flatly impossible in some situations. With the mirrors taken into consideration, the Hummer is almost three feet wider than the Jeep.

Well, you gotta believe I took this humm’n Hummer off-road. And I would have done so even if one of my publishers hadn’t asked me to. I couldn’t have been on course fifteen minutes when I got stuck in mud up to my tousch. But in all fairness, I just wasn’t equipped for the conditions, because the press model comes with street tires. Even with the capability of deflating the tires, when you are up to the floorboards in mud you simply need a winch to break the suction. But no problem, a Chevy Blazer with a winch pulled me out. How humiliating for Joe Rambo who was invincible fifteen minutes earlier. You can just imagine the chuckles of the hecklers who loved to see a “rich dude” being rescued by a $5,000 Cheevy. I had to step out into the mud from the relative comfort of a nicely upholstered, wood grain appointed $83,000 military appearing, go anywhere machine.

The military Humvee (HMMWV, for High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle) or Hummer was, of course, made famous throughout the world by TV news coverage of the Gulf War – or operation Desert Storm. The operative word here is Desert where there is lots of sand and very little mud. Although I knew this Hummer was not “faster than a speeding bullet”, I truly believed it would be “stronger than a locomotive and able to leap tall buildings in a single bound”. It was, after all, this “Superman” vehicle in its element – “OFF-Road”. Well the lesson learned is that you really need to know the limitations of any vehicle.

Hummer is available in four trims: Hard Top 2-Door, Hard Top 4-Door, Open Top, and Wagon. I have the soft-top. I agree with some experts that it is ok as a work vehicle, geared for really rough terrain. In that case the high price tag and fuel consumption could be justified, but just to meet simple transportation needs there is little rationale.

The Competition:

Chevrolet Suburban $25,675 – $29,855, Ford Expedition $29,355 – $39,000, GMC Suburban $25,739 – $30,323, Jeep Wrangler $14,345 – $20,135, Land Rover Range Rover $58,000 – $75,000.

Good News:

Unique, always in style, versatile, off-road capable in open terrain, auxiliary fuel tank.

Bad News:

Poor visibility, oversize inconvenience, uncomfortable interior, expensive to own and operate, need for auxiliary fuel tank.

Standard Equipment:

6.5 liter V8 Turbo Diesel engine that produces 195 horsepower with 430 lb-ft of torque, 4-speed automatic transmission, air conditioning, full-time 4-wheel drive and 4-wheel independent suspension, power disc brakes, power steering, power door locks, remote entry, power windows, AM/FM Stereo cassette and auxiliary fuel tank.

Gas Stats:

Not available, but not good either.

Pricing:

MSRP $72,790 and for the one I tested the following options brought the price to $83,149: Tire inflation system, cruise control, driveline protection, side guards, towing package, power mirrors, highway touring tires, heated windshield.