The Road Ahead : June July 2008
42 JUN/JLY 08 Of? cial ? gures are 9.3-litres/100 km for the Prado and 14.5 for the H3. On test, we returned a highway best of 9.2 and 13.3 respectively. This compares with 9.6 for a V6 petrol Prado we achieved on the highway previously. With running costs, the Hummer shapes as a $10,000 proposition over 60,000 km. This includes 10,000 km scheduled ser vicing and parts, and insurance for three years. Toyota’s running costs were much the same. However, the parts and labour breakdown covered 100,000 km of use at the manufacturer’s speci? ed 10,000 km (or six-month) inter vals, tipping the scales in favour of the Prado. Both makers provide a 3 year/100,000 km warranty. Design & function Neither vehicle is a conscientious environmental citizen, the H3 rating only a Green Vehicle Guide (GVG) two stars and the GXL (both petrol and diesel versions) 2.5. Prado streaks ahead in comfort, and accommodates up to eight people. But it is not per fect. The driver’s seat suffers from a lack of cushion height and angle adjustment, whereas the Hummer’s is power-operated and more versatile. The GXL’s second row is spacious, with the middle position offering plenty of room. The news is not so good for H3 rear passengers. While there are lap/sash seatbelts for three, we doubt whether anyone would remain in the uncomfortable, middle seat for long. The Toyota’s third row is really for youngsters or the more vertically challenged. The Hummer, despite its outside width (more than 110 mm over the Prado), suffers from limited cabin space. The narrow windows, a legacy of its militar y design, add to the closed-in feeling. The Prado is just the opposite. It gives the impression of being air y and spacious, if way up high. There is nothing between the contenders on practicality, with each offering impressive equipment that makes life and driving easier. Ergonomics is another thing. Here, the H3 is one of the most blighted vehicles our team has tested. Chief among the complaints is the absence of a footrest, which makes driving so uncomfortable that one of the testers had to take his left shoe off on a longer stint. Another gripe is the antiquated ‘umbrella handle’ handbrake that is located under the dash. It is hard to get to and operate, but all-too-easy to knock your knee against. And one stalk, on the left side of the steering column, operates too many functions, creating confusion. Build and ? nish quality is another area where the Hummer needs remedial work. Here, the Prado is good. On & off the road Weighing more than 2 tonnes each, neither vehicle sets any records for straight-line per formance. The Prado’s big four-cylinder pulls strongly in any gear, but there is some delay in turbo response. It cruises fuss-free, indicating an unstressed 2000 rpm at 100 km/h. The auto transmission is well matched to the torque band. Gear shifts are way smoother than the H3, which needs something better than its four-speed unit. Off road, the GXL copes well but could do with added low-range engine braking on steep descents. Same for the Hummer. The H3’s per formance is adequate. Its ? ve-cylinder engine makes a lot of noise when stirred, but per formance doesn’t match. That said, it was quicker in some tests at Lakeside Raceway than the diesel Prado, covering the standing 400 m in 18 seconds versus 18.8. The Hummer also took the honours accelerating from The Hummer, left, made easy work of tough conditions. The Prado is no slouch off road either.
April May 2008
August September 2008