Saturday, January 05, 2008

Hummer H3

We spent a week in Los Angeles, visiting Disneyland and my brother Steve. The trip was mostly good, with a couple glitches.

Glitch #1 was shortly after our arrival at LAX at the Budget Car Rental place. I had reserved a large SUV, like a Ford Expedition. With four of us and three in my brother's family, it seemed about right. Strangely they didn't have any large SUVs when we arrived. Yes, I do remember the Seinfeld episode: "You know how to take the reservation ... you just don't know how to hold the reservation."

First they offered us a Mustang convertible. I was okay with that, but our luggage didn't fit in the tiny trunk. We really only needed to fit in two medium suitcases, and they didn't fit.

So the agent looks around and says, "How about that white one?" I look over and she's pointing to a Hummer H3. Um, okay.

This was apparently a big deal, as the daily rental on a Hummer H3 is roughly double the cost of a large SUV, and they gave it to us at the same price. That pricing doesn't really make sense since the H3 is less expensive than an Expedition, but that's for another day.

The Hummer H3 was an experience. It looks distinctive. The picture below is pretty much what ours looked like:

It also attracted attention. A couple people even asked me about it.

But overall the experience was not that great. I would never buy a Hummer, knowing what I know now. For one thing, despite the fairly large exterior size, it was not that big inside. It did seem big, but not in a practical way. You can seat five people, though the three in the back can't be too big. We fit three kids (including my nephew) and it was a little tight. There is a decent amount of luggage room in the back cargo area. Our luggage fit easily with plenty more room. My wife just got a Mazda CX-9. It costs about the same but seats seven. My wife sat in the middle row last night with our two kids and there was clearly more room in that row than there was in the H3, plus there's a third row we didn't need to use. With the third row up there's decent cargo room and with it down it's huge.

Ergonomics on the H3 were poor. The best example is the power window switches. They're on the driver's left armrest, but nowhere near the driver's fingertips. They're almost at the elbow. I had to move my arm into an unnatural and uncomfortable position to open and close the windows.

Visibility is horrendous. The windows are small, but the real problem was the "A pillars" - the columns of metal between the windshield and the passenger windows. At one point I almost hit a pedestrian who ran across the street without looking. I didn't see him. Fortunately my wife saw him and warned me. Thanks Honey!

Driving was mostly okay, but not great. The biggest flaw was wind noise at highways speeds. It starts making significant noise at 70 mph, and got really loud when I got up to 80. I decided to drive slower. It also feels wide and that took some getting used to. On the bright side, it was remarkably easy to parallel park. It also seems to ride very high, higher than the other SUVs on the road.

We used one tank of gas on the trip and I didn't notice the mileage, but we didn't go very far.


Anonymous said...

Stop blogging. I accidentally found this site looking up restaurant reviews and I came to your blogs. They are a boring diary. But more like diarrhea of the mouth. I am angry now.

GasMeister said...

Well, I have owned my Hummer H3 for over two years and just enjoy the heck out of it. Then again, I have no kids and I actually take mine off-road (imagine that, an off-road vehicle actually getting dirty). I will be the first to admit that the H3 clearly is not for everyone.

As far as the gas mileage, I would say slow it down a bit. You are driving a 4000 lb truck that is as aerodynamic as a brick. Of course it is going to suck, especially at 80MPH. Mine gets about 22-23 MPG at legal highway speeds, better than just about any other SUV in the same class, even 2WD!

You would have been even more disappointed with a full size Chevy or Ford SUV. they are notorious for getting single digit gas mileage at higher speeds. Keep in mind the Hummer H3 comes stock with a five cylinder engine. Yep, you read it right, five.

But hey, maybe I will go rent a Lexus and go off-roading. ;-)

Anonymous said...

Laughed out loud at Anonymous' comment!

Anonymous said...

I'm a little confused here...

First, you were just fine with a Mustang (if not for the small trunk) yet you complain about the seating in this mid-sized SUV?

Second, I would bet any amount of money that the daily rate of a Hummer H3 is not double that of a Tahoe or Expedition - in fact, I would be surprised if it were equal. I rented a Tahoe this past weekend at a daily rate of $109.00 before taxes. That would put the H3 at $218.00 PER DAY - practically the full month's lease payment on the SUV in one day! If that were possible, I would open an all Hummer H3 rental company and make a fortune!
The rental car place really got one over on you... they did not honor your reservation, overcharged you, and then fooled you into thinking they were cutting you a deal.
I have a bridge for sale if you're interested...

Unknown said...

To "confused here", I didn't pay the high price. We paid the price for what we had planned to rent, which was a lot less. Also, if you check the date on my post, you'll see that this was a couple years ago. At the time, the pricing I mention was what I said.

Anonymous said...

We have a Hummer H3 and absolutely LOVE it. Probably wouldn't love it if I had to haul 3 kids in the back of it. We take it off roading and its a blast. Yep I think I will just keep humming along... hum hum de dum!!!