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REAL-WORLDERS NEED NOT APPLY

This article is from our archives and has not been updated and integrated with our "new" site yet... Even so, it's still awesome - so keep reading!

Published on Sun, Sep 4, 2005

By: The LACar Editorial Staff

REAL-WORLDERS NEED NOT APPLY By HAROLD OSMER

To be entirely fair, most folks are not in a budgetary position for putting a $140,000 vehicle into their garage. This immediately places the Hummer H1 into a category all its own. Approaching the civilianized military utility truck from this perspective allows one to better understand what this vehicle is all about. Buyers in this price range don't particularly care that they can purchase four full-sized Fords for the same money; nor do they care about overall practicality. They want to make a statement. Analyze the people all you want, but rest assured the Hummer H1 makes a very big statement.

Size is Everything In raw form, the H1 is a military do-all vehicle with a wide variety of applications. With civilian trim, the Hummer H1 is one of the largest passenger vehicles on the road. A wheelbase of 130 inches supports an overall length of 184.5 inches and track width of 71.6 inches. Overall width (excluding mirrors) is 86.5 inches, pushing it beyond the useable entry size of a single space garage door. All this bulk is needed to support 8,114 pounds of truck. You don't think about getting an H1, you either get one or you don't. A 6.6 liter Duramax turbodeisel produces 300 horsepower and 520 lb-ft of torque - a decent increase over previous years. Stepping hard on the right pedal yields a momentary pause followed by a satisfying roar resulting in 0 to 60 times in the mid 13-second range. If you want to try this, first make sure the road is clear ahead and your H1 is pointed straight because a vehicle this large will quickly illustrate Newton's Law which states Force = Mass x Acceleration. Even with ABS squeezing on 12-inch inboard mounted brake rotors all around, there is no doubt about the Hummer H1's forceful presence. Many diesel engines generate enough noise that you need to shut down at the Jack-in-the-Box drive-through. Not so with the H1. There's sound, no doubt, but certainly nothing so bad as to cause concern. Interior noise levels are minimized due to extensive dampening materials thoughout. If that isn't enough, the Monsoon six-CD audio system can be deployed with ample enough headroom to make your ears ring.

On and Off the Road Several spirited runs over my friendly neighborhood dirt road showed the Hummer H1 Alpha to be a terrific off-road vehicle. The weight adds stability, the torque adds control, and the road disappears. On road or off, the H1 handles better than expected. The small diameter steering wheel is connected to one of the sturdiest mechanisms yet devised.

You might need a ladder to get into an H1, and maybe a parachute to get out. Once inside, there's a definite lack of people space. Hummer engineers managed to get 16 inches of ground clearance by bringing the entire driveline up into the cab. Neat trick. It's very effective for four-wheel drive and off road activity. The trade-off comes via passenger space, which is limited to four people. A center console runs the length of the passenger compartment serving to silence and house the driveline. All seats are leather and narrow. More than a few men I showed the H1 to noted that their wives couldn't hit them from the passenger seat. I withhold comment but notice that it will be difficult to even hold hands while driving. Then again, the H1 is meant to be used off-road and you'll be needing both hands anyway. Hummer backs this vehicle with a 4-year/50,000 mile entire vehicle warranty, including 12 free maintenance visits and no deductibles. The warranty covers the complete vehicle including tires, cosmetic corrosion, and towing to an authorized Hummer repair station. You expect this kind of coverage for a vehicle costing $140,000 (and there are some restrictions), but it's good to note the context of how an H1 could be abused and how willing the company is to stand behind it.

Bottom Line The Hummer H1 Alpha is capable of more than I could possibly test in my short time with it. It's a head turner, simple to operate, and is the 4x4 that all others aspire to be. It's also a converted military vehicle. Comfort items make the H1 streetable, but there's no escaping the tight personal space, awkward access, and sheer bulk. On the good side, you can pull a huge trailer to your favorite campsite with ease and never have to worry about getting stuck. For more information on Hummer products, go to www.hummer.com

SPECIFICATIONS 2006 Hummer H1 Alpha 4 Passenger Wagon Price: Base $139,771, as tested $146,622 options include: Off Road Adventure package including 12,000 pound electric winch, FT/RR Electric Lock Axels, 17-inch aluminum 2 piece wheels. Engine type: 6.6L 8 cyl Duramax Turbodiesel Horsepower: 300 @ 3000rpm Torque: 520 lb.-ft @ 1600 rpm Drive configuration: Full-time 4WD System with TorqTraq traction control system Transmission type: Allison M74 1000 Series 5-speed Automatic with tow/haul mode Suspension: 4 Wheel Independent Wheels and tires: Goodyear GSA 37x12 50R17 with runflat and beadlock Onboard Central Tire Inflation System Brakes: Power assisted 4-wheel inboard mounted 12-inch discs with ABS Overall length/wheelbase: 184.5 inches/130 inches Overall width: 86.5 inches Overall height: 77 inches EPA mileage estimates City/ Highway: 11.5 (estimated), 28/24 gallon Main/Aux fuel tanks, 600 mile range Tows up to 9,036 pounds. 2,186 max payload Off Road Capabilities: Approach Angle 72 degrees Departure Angle 37.5 degrees Breakover Angle 29 degrees Maximum Grade 60% Side Slope Capability 40% Fording Capability 30 inches Turning Radius 25.5 feet

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