As many of you know, I recently purchased a Hummer. And not one of those H2 or H3 knock-off Hummers that are owned by people who wear football jerseys to church. I mean the hardcore, military-style, original Hummer, which shares its overall aerodynamic profile with a state map of Utah.
You’d already know a lot more about the Hummer if you followed me on Twitter, because I’ve started posting pictures of the thing all over town, which suggests that I am, in fact, driving it. There’s a reason for this: although I’m embarrassed to admit it, I’m actually starting to like my Hummer. This is a slippery slope that will no doubt eventually lead to me sitting on my couch and eating Cheetos in my underwear while I scream at the referees during a televised pre-season football game.
As you might expect, I plan to do a lot of interesting things with the Hummer; far more interesting than what I’m currently doing, which is pissing off my neighbors by parking it in my driveway. But first, I thought it would be nice to create a video that showcases a few of the Hummer’s most unusual details. So I’ve done that, and it’s located here, and you’re free to watch it, unless your workplace has instituted an oppressive ban on moving pictures. Then you must instead resort to learning about the Hummer the old-fashioned way: reading.
“Why do you like this vehicle?” you might ask. “Are you a complete idiot?”
And the answer is: yes, I am a complete idiot! Regular readers already know this, because I once strapped a television to the roof of my Ferrari and drove around for a few hours. But my idiocy has nothing to do with my feelings toward the Hummer. On the contrary, there are several excellent reasons why I’m beginning to enjoy the Hummer, starting – first and foremost – with its size.
Yes, ladies and gentlemen, size is a benefit, and here’s why: it isn’t as big as you think.
To help you understand what I mean, I’m going to roll out two interesting Hummer-related facts that you probably didn’t know. FACT NUMBER ONE: The Hummer – world renowned for being the widest vehicle on the planet; generally agreed to share its overall width with most Office Depot store locations – is actually narrower than every single full-size pickup truck on the market.
Consider that for a moment. The original Hummer – a vehicle once touted as being so wide that U.S. military forces can use it to simultaneously run over insurgents in two time zones – is narrower than every single full-size pickup on sale today, if you include mirrors. In other words: there are streets I can go down in my giant, combat-ready military vehicle that you could not go down in a 2015 Chevy Silverado.
Here’s another shocking but true size-related fact: the Hummer is shorter in length than a Toyota Camry. In fact, it’s shorter than an Altima, it’s shorter than a Malibu, and it’s shorter than an Accord. At only 188 inches long, the Hummer is almost shorter than a freaking Jetta. The result is that it’s surprisingly easy to parallel park, and I do so frequently, except in liberal neighborhoods where people would slash my tires and say hurtful things about my carbon footprint.
Unfortunately, there’s a drawback to this smaller-than-expect size: the Hummer’s interior also smaller than you might think. Seriously: take how big you think the Hummer’s interior is, and cut it in half. Then cut that in half again. Then cut your own legs in half. Now you can fit inside the Hummer.
It’s so tiny that I recently searched through the owner’s manual for interior dimensions, and I discovered these highly precise “recommended size” figures:
Recommended driver size: 6-foot, 2 inches
Recommended rear passenger size: Lego man
Recommended front passenger size: Thumbtack
The Hummer is also kind of slow. And I don’t mean kind of slow like people say the BRZ is kind of slow, and then BRZ owners say at least they use all their engine, whereas guys who buy AMG Mercedes products threw down a hundred grand in order to speed down onramps and occasionally suffer electrical failures.
I mean it’s seriously slow, like you press the accelerator and you wonder you’d move faster if you were in line at the DMV.
“Why is it so slow?” you might ask. “Aren’t our troops overseas doing battle in this vehicle?”
And the answer is: no, they are not overseas doing battle in this vehicle, because this vehicle is parked right in front of my house here in Philadelphia. And even if they were, my Hummer would make a horrible combat vehicle, because it is bright yellow. You’d want to at least paint it tan, so that an insurgent might confuse it for an unusually wide camel.
No, the reason why it’s slow is that it is powered by a 5.7-liter V8 that produces only 190 horsepower. This makes it less powerful than a Toyota Camry Hybrid. Than a Chevy Malibu. Than a Volkswagen GTI. And yet, it’s dramatically heavier than all of those vehicles, so it feels much slower. If you don’t have access to a Hummer, but you’re interested in what this sort of glacially slow acceleration feels like, here’s my suggestion: get a Camry Hybrid and strap it to a boat trailer. And not some little rowboat with oars the size of toothpicks. I mean a giant luxury yacht with at least two televisions; the kind of boat Gary Hart was using to have sex with that woman back in 1987.
So what was I saying? Oh, yes, that’s right: I like the Hummer. And seriously, I do. Because despite these flaws, here’s the thing: every time I turn the key, it starts right up. There are no ventilated seat failures, because there are no ventilated seats to fail. There’s no air suspension collapsing, because there’s no air suspension to collapse. There’s no flickering navigation screen or a stereo that won’t respond to the “next track” button. It’s just a simple, faithful, exciting truck that’s always up for hauling around me and three of my closest friends: two Lego men and a thumbtack.
@DougDeMuro is the author of Plays With Cars. He owned an E63 AMG wagon and once tried to evade police at the Tail of the Dragon using a pontoon boat. (It didn’t work.) He worked as a manager for Porsche Cars North America before quitting to become a writer, largely because it meant he no longer had to wear pants. Also, he wrote this entire bio himself in the third person.