Boulevard Brawler

By SekouWrites

There’s been a huge SUV “land” grab over the past decade as Sports Utility Vehicles have steadily increased in consumer popularity. And, despite their vilified status on the bulletin boards of “green” meeting rooms all over the country, SUVs have continued to eat up sales records the same way they devour gas, which implies that as long as the vehicle looks powerful (and sexy) consumers just don’t care so much.

At the top tier of the race for SUV domination is the luxury, semi-military vehicle that some say started it all: Hummer. Originally manufactured for military use, the Hum-Vee is rumored to have been fast-tracked for civilian sales because Arnold Schwarchenegger, who’d been introduced to the vehicles in one of his movies, requested it. The first consumer incarnation, the H1, is very similar in look and feel to the military version and is priced in the six-figure range. In response to overwhelming customer demand, General Motors, has since rolled out two slightly smaller versions of the popular SUV, the H2 and the H3. Emphasis on the word: slightly. While all three vehicles are massive, the H3 is the smallest (and newest) of the bunch. Introduced in 2006, the H3 is intended to compete with more traditionally priced and sized SUVs like the Jeep Cherokee.

With the introduction of a right-hand drive H3 for global sales, plans to create a smaller H4 that would provide direct competition for the classic “rough and ready” Jeep Wrangler, and the Governator attempting to save his favorite driving machine by pushing for a conversion to biodiesel fuel, Hummer is poised to be the king of the pavement for decades to come. (H3, starting at $29,995)

Favorite features:

Big up. Climb into the cab of a H3 and you’ll notice that it’s not as big as you think. Yeah, sure, it’s big but no more than any other SUV. The small windows all around the cab will make you feel as if you’ve slipped into the dark safety of a tank, but for all its bulk, the H3 is remarkably light on its feet—like any good brawler. Try not to ram into other cars.

Keep it moving, don’t stop. The in-dash navigation system rocks. Not only will it get you right where you’re going with friendly turn-by-turn directions, it also can’t be manipulated unless the vehicle is in park, forcing you to be a safe, non-distracted driver. You’ll have to learn to trust the computer (and not be freaked out that some satellite knows exactly where you are at all times) but once you get the hang of it, you’ll get to relax and sightsee while the computer pays attention.

The profiler. You have to love riding in a vehicle that makes people stop and stare. Yeah, it’ll take you a while to learn how to navigate the thing with ease, but when an 80-year-old lady looks over from the car next door and says, “That’s quite a vehicle you’ve got there,” it all balances out.

Room service? As a GM vehicle, the H3 comes with OnStar, a built-in, concierge-like service. From giving directions to calling ahead and making sure the restaurant is still open, to making reservations, OnStar seems to be limited only by your imagination and the experience (and work ethic) of your operator. Double this feature up with the in-car navigation system and you’ll never get lost again. Get the address of your destination from OnStar, type it into the nav system and, voila, asking for directions at a gas station is suddenly a quaint memory of yesteryear.

Details

Designed for the incredible off-road adventure you’ll always talk about but never actually take, the H3 has 8.5 inches of ground clearance and full undercarriage protection to keep the outdoors outside of your whip.

A 23-gallon gas tank means at today’s gas prices you’re looking at about $80 to fill ‘er up … but who fills up the tank any more, anyway? You can make it there on ten bucks, right? Live a little.

A five-cylinder engine under the hood means your H3 is not exactly slow, but don’t go trying to impress the cutie next to you by jumping ahead at the red light. Might backfire on ya. Cruising is your comfort zone, not the 0-60 club.

Potholes

After getting a good look at the imposing shell of this sexy road monster, you’d expect a similarly impressive interior, right? Not so much. The H3s cockpit is fairly pedestrian, which is both surprising and vaguely disappointing.

With small windows and a bulky spare tire hitched to the back, your blind spots are significantly larger than usual, so not having a rearview cam or proximity alert is unforgivable. You’ll have to relearn parallel parking. Or maybe OnStar can tell you how many inches are between you and the car behind you. Worth a shot.

Reprinted from ebonyjet.com.

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