H1 Alpha in the Autoblog Garage" hspace="0" src="http://www.weblogsinc.com/common/images/3622852317441596.JPG?0.44632544925780765" width="425" align="top" vspace="4" border="1" />
The past three days I've been rocking the suburbs, treating the H1 like a family-mobile, and kids just love it. I picked up a friends daughter from gymnastics (made the father in the Avalanche feel a little insecure), went to the bank (didn't even try the drive-thru), dropped off a video game rental and went to the local "bulk" store where I came upon a vehicle much bigger than the H1, that behemoth motor home.
So can the Hummer H1 exist in captivity like other normal cars? Yes and no - according on the driver. From that picture above of the truck in the parking lot, you can see it really had no problem fitting in a space. It?s not the length or height you need to concern yourself with, it?s the girth. After a day, I really became comfortable with the H1.
The steering at low speeds is precise and makes what appears to be an unmanageable vehicle pretty easy to navigate. At higher speeds, the tires (which do make a bit of noise) allow the truck to wander if your not paying attention to what you?re doing. Super large mirrors with convex inserts help you gauge how close the curbs are and if there is any low cars in your blind spots.
In the wagon, visibility is good. Sometimes I find because you sit so close to the doors, the B-pillar can obstruct the view behind at certain angles. The driver?s position is comfortable and I have nothing but praise for the Monsoon stereo system, which mounts the subwoofer under the driver?s side passenger seat.
The biggest surprise is the Duramax Diesel/Allison transmission combination, which has made piloting the truck easier than expected. While the 0-60 posted on Hummer.com is a killer 13.5 seconds, all 520 lb-ft of torque are available at 1600 rpm which makes this truck feel like it?s moving deceptively quicker than it is. The Allison is geared to stay in first if you?re not pressing hard on the pedal to help with climbing and crawling off-road, but it is noticeable in traffic (which I was in on Saturday) keeping the truck in first though out the whole stop-and-go tango. And the five speeds keep the truck?s power on tap when you need it.
As an aside, you need to take a class to open the hood. Two large straps on each side need to be un-latched. Two pins need to be pulled on the push bar and that needs to be swung down. Then the hood lock gets pulled from under the dash. At that point, you then pull up the hood (which takes quite a bit of force) and wait for the prop-rod to catch. Interesting.
The H1 Alpha wagon has plenty of storage in the back, swallowing anything a normal shopping trip could throw at it. I know it sounds silly to talk about the H1 this way, but I see enough on the roads to know that traversing trails isn?t the only chore these trucks are made to handle.
Have I gotten used to driving the H1 around town as my everyday vehicle? Yes, but they are trips that you need to be thinking about. This is an 8,000 pound vehicle that needs time to get up to speed, time to stop and some thought needs to go into your next step, turn or parking space. Controlling something like this should not be done by a passive driver that wants to drink coffee, talk on the phone and discipline the kids but by someone who would take the responsibility of such a machine. I wouldn?t want to do it for 52 weeks out of the year.
Tomorrow we?ll talk about what this truck was really made for: taking over small countries, I mean, off-road capabilities.