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Interior improvements yield a near-bearable level of comfort, but it's still a nightmare on the street. Unless you're desperately in need of attention or you own a sprawling cattle ranch, leave this monstrosity to movie stars and army commandoes.
Unsurpassed off-road ability, major-league attention getter.
Drives poorly on the street, not much interior room for such a big vehicle, low in power, high in price.
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The Hummer gets a few minor additions for 2001. Inside, there's a redesigned gauge cluster, easier-to-use climate controls and rear seat armrests. For audiophiles who like the wind in their hair, open-top models can now be equipped with the optional Monsoon premium stereo system. On the outside, optional 17-inch aluminum wheels add a sportier look, while redesigned, heated exterior mirrors provide better visibility.
The Hummer is the ultimate off-road warrior. Designed as an all-purpose vehicle for the U.S. Armed Forces (where it's known as the Humvee), the military version has been in production since 1985. The civilian Hummer became available to the public in 1992, and it has seen some success, thanks to people who've found that there are some things a Jeep Wrangler just can't do.
Available in four body styles (two-door Hard Top, four-door Hard Top, Open Top and Wagon), the Hummer has a style for everyone -- that is, everyone interested in such a beast. Our favorite is the Open Top, truly the bulkiest convertible in the world. The best feature on this convertible, however, is that the wind won't muss your hair: the Hummer goes from zero to 60 in a lollygagging 16 seconds, and its top speed is only 83 mph.
Don't expect carlike, or even trucklike, handling either. The Hummer lumbers and wallows its way around town the way you might expect a 15-year-old military vehicle would. The brakes have a tough time managing to bring the three-ton beast to a stop, and the non-adjustable steering wheel often feels like it has lost its connection with the rest of the suspension.
Of course, urban commuting was never intended for the utilitarian bruiser. To comprehend its true capabilities, the Hummer needs a road covered in dirt or mud, preferably with a little rain or snow tossed in for good measure. In these conditions the Hummer's full-time four wheel drive, fully independent suspension and 16-inches of ground clearance make it undoubtedly the most capable off-road machine money can buy. Advanced features like gear-reduction wheel hubs and the TT4 traction control system add to the Hummer's astounding off-road prowess.
A long, and expensive, list of options are available for 2001 including a Central Tire Inflation System that can inflate and deflate all four tires at the touch of a button, a killer Monsoon stereo system to compensate for the relentless drone of the huge 36-inch tires, and 17-inch one-piece aluminum wheels. Standard items include the usual assortment of power accessories along with a 4-speed transmission and an overburdened 6.5-liter, 195-hp diesel V8 under the hood.
Ergonomics in the passenger compartment has been improved, but still lags far behind less expensive luxury SUV competitors. The seats are anything but comfortable, with a strange system of multi-lever adjustments that never really give you the position you're looking for. The formerly arcane gauge cluster has been redesigned for better readability along with revamped climate controls for an overall cleaner look. Even with these improvements, however, the Hummer still possesses a unique personality that plants it firmly in the love or hate it category.
If you live on a farm, a ranch or in the Iraqi desert, the Hummer is one unstoppable and indestructible machine that makes a great off-road companion. However, if you live anywhere near a city like 99% of the people in this world, the Hummer's usefulness is limited to getting you the front spot at the local valet.
Laura's old car was costing her a small fortune every month for gas and repairs. She didn't even want to drive her kids to the park any more. But buying a new Kia Soul changed all that.