H1 Alpha in the Autoblog Garage" hspace="0" src="http://www.weblogsinc.com/common/images/7165274538550474.JPG?0.8884917650259221" width="425" align="top" vspace="4" border="1" />
Many questions from yesterdays post concerned the interior, so I'll focus on this cavernous space today. Due to the military heritage and the pure off-road nature of this vehicle all the mechanicals are nestled into a tunnel that runs down the middle of the truck, sacrificing any personal space for function.
The initial reaction when getting in the H1 Alpha, especially the wagon, is ?look at this space!? Once you?re in the reaction changes to ?where?d all that space go?? You will never feel claustrophobic, the open space between you and our closest passenger will assure that will never happen, but your not going to spread out either. The front passenger may complain the most, since the foot well is aching for some more space. And yes I know it looks like I dressed for the part of a Hummer driver with the cammos, but I assure you, that?s my normal windy, cold NJ morning pants.
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Materials used in the Alpha are much improved over past versions (updated in 2004). The two-tone aniline leather seats are made of very soft, pleasing leather. The steering wheel is also easy to maneuver and comfortable in your hands; it has to be because with these tires, you have to concentrate to assure the Hummer stays in the lane you want it to (we?ll get into driving dynamics on a later day).
You won?t mistake the dashboard for one out of a luxury car, but it is now covered in a soft-touch material that makes its expanse not stand out as an eyesore. The gauge surrounds could be made out of a better material than metallic painted plastic. Real brushed metal would suit the look of a $150,000 truck just fine. There are no airbags of any kind as the H1 transcends passenger vehicle rules thanks to its weight.
The Monsoon stereo system helps drown out the Durmax engine noise, though the diesel sounds intruding into the cabin is not as intolerable as I thought it would be. There are six roof-mounted speakers aimed right at the rider?s heads to ensure everyone gets a piece of the action. The two rear seat passengers can use headphones to pick a different setting on the audio system to listen to while those in front listen to what they want (same panel as in the Suburban/Tahoe).
Controls and switches are spread across the expansive driver-oriented ?command center?. Don?t expect to know what any of the buttons do on first glance. Even the pictograms that are printed on them are confusing. A gaggle of them are on the transmission hump that control all the power windows and door locks, including the rear wagon doors.
Out back, there is plenty of room for gear (and a multitude of Hummer accessories that make even better use of the space). Tie downs are all over the place to secure equipment, since most H1 owners should be using the truck for camping, hiking or general traversing of the world.
There are storage pockets on the seatbacks, door panels, under the seats, behind the sunvisors and on the wall that separates the passenger compartment from the cargo area. For the little time I have been in the H1 so far, the interior is suitable enough to remind you of the awesome vehicle underneath if only to point out that the money was really spent on the mechanicals, not the luxuries.