Is this the best ute name ever? China's Zhongxing Terralord wants to strike fear into rivals like the Great Wall Cannon
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I thought I would hate driving this huge, hubristic hunk of Americana – and, to be fair, I did – but it did have unexpected benefits.
For a start, I saw a lot more of Sydney that I have in any other week, as I circled, endlessly, looking for somewhere to park this brash behemoth.
Unfortunately, I work in Surry Hills, where the streets are reluctant to give up space to anything bigger than a bicycle, which meant that, on two days out of five, I had to ring my boss and tell her I was unable to make it in because I couldn’t stop anywhere.
I also feared for my safety because a lynching party had been formed by environmentally concerned locals and I felt it unlikely the Hummer could outrun them, even though they were on sandalled foot.
The fact that the tank I’d been lumped with was painted the same colour as the cheese you find on McDonald’s burgers wasn’t helping my feeble attempts to remain incognito.
Still, I did rediscover parts of my CD collection that had been long forgotten, because the lumpy ludicrousness of the Hummer made me feel like I could only listen to ZZ Top, Def Leppard and Led Zeppelin.
I also discovered that there is nothing particularly wrong with my left knee, thanks to the handbrake, which is cunningly positioned so that it gives you an arthroscopy every time you enter the vehicle.
It’s also accursedly difficult to use, which led to the venting of spleen that was probably building up dangerously inside me.
Sadly, that’s about it for positives.
Hopeless handbrake aside, the cabin annoyed me from moment one, mainly because it achieves the rare reverse-Tardis effect.
While the Hummer looks big – to engage in mild understatement – it is ridiculously small inside, with less headroom than one of Russell Crowe’s hats.
It also feels like you’re sitting in your grandmother’s living room, because there’s virtually no natural light, thanks to the windows – and the windscreen for that matter - being roughly the size of a lunchbox lid.
Speaking of Tupperware, that’s what the centre stack of the dash feels like, which comes as a surprise in any $50,000-plus car, but more so when it’s one based on a rough and tough military vehicle.
Mind you, I was shocked and awed by how ugly it was, from every conceivable angle. It even has a plastic picnic table glued to the bonnet, for reasons unknown.
Then there’s the 400kg the rear tailgate, which is heavy enough to knock any woman foolish enough to mess with it flat on her back.
Oh, and somehow, in their ingeniousness, they couldn’t find room for a footrest, so your left leg is always hovering over the clutch.
That is, of course, one of the least annoying things about driving the H3 – the baby of the Hummer range and, thankfully, the only one available down under, thus far.
The fact that it feels as wide as a terrace house is off putting, but things get worse when you try and drive it around a bend.
The Hummer corners like a… well, like a terrace.
The ride is also unfortunately firm and fidgety, yet too soft at the same time. This should be impossible.
Driving over speedhumps can induce mild nausea.
It’s also very, very slow, as you would expect from a 2198kg (for the five-speed manual tested, the four-speed automatic is 2303kg) vehicle powered, if that’s the word, by a 3.7-litre, five-cylinder engine.
It doesn’t take a Newtonian scientist to work out that 180kW and 328Nm are not enough for the task of moving so much metal.
The one thing that a car this intimidating shouldn’t be is underpowered.
The manual gearbox also reminded me of my grandfather’s old tractor, for some reason.
And yet… while I couldn’t think of a single thing to recommend it, everyone else loved the damn Hummer, and it attracted almost exactly the same amount of attention as driving a Ferrari.
Possibly more, in fact, because when you’re in a sports car people just hate you from a distance and stare daggers, but in the Hummer, everyone wants to talk to you.
I had one guy walk up to me while I was parked in peak-hour traffic in the CBD and ask where he could get one. As I drove off, he ran alongside me, still asking questions, despite my having refused to tell him any details, for his own good.
Children who drive past you make Christmas-morning faces and whoop “Hummmmmer” out car windows.
It’s also the only non-Porsche I’ve ever been asked to take people for passenger rides in. Mind you, no one was impressed.
With all this inexplicable interest, however, it’s no wonder they reckon they can sell 700 of them a year. With prices starting at $51,990, that’s not a bad business case.
Then there are the anti-Hummer types, who don’t talk to you but glower and think to themselves, what sort of person buys a vehicle like that?
I had to have a t-shirt made up that said: “It’s not mine. I am the Stig.”
The environmental question comes up a lot, too, and most people were only mildly surprised to hear that, if you run out of petrol, you can actually run the Hummer on shredded Toyota Prius pieces for short distances.
Buying this car shouts: “I’m with John, there’s no such thing as global warming”.
In fairness, it should be pointed out that the H3’s official rated fuel consumption is 13.7 litres per 100km, the same as a Mitsubishi Pajero.
It’s also 12cm shorter and sits 1cm lower than a Pajero – but it is 12cm wider.
It does, however, make a Pajero look like Megan Gale.
So, in summation, people are going to buy this car, no matter what I say, because a lot of people really like big things, and other people staring at them.
I think they’d be better off buying Mardi Gras floats, but each to their own.