The Road Ahead : June July 2008
44 JUN/JLY 08 0-60, 0-80 and 0-100 km/h. It would have been interesting to see how the 4.0-litre, V6, petrol Prado fared on the track. Previous test ? gures showed it was markedly faster than the H3. In our braking tests, the GXL stopped 2.2 m shorter on average from 80 km/h. Its pedal felt progressive and reassuring, while the H3’s was more like a brick under foot. The Prado arguably boasts best-in-class ride. It is more re? ned than the Hummer, offering better body control and copious bump absorption. Off the beaten track, the GXL remains supple and unfussed, demonstrating better stability on sand, although damping control is sluggish. The H3 Luxur y doesn’t really live up to its name, proving to be harsh at lower speeds. Also, its outdated leaf spring rear end is less disciplined than Prado’s ? ve-link coil rear end. The Prado is a likeable handler, but the steering could do with more feel. But it has less ground clearance than the H3 (by 11 mm), and rubbed its underbelly on some of the rutted tracks, unlike the Hummer. Despite a considerable height and weight, the GXL’s vehicle mass felt secure and predictable, although on tight, twisty, downhill sections, a touch of understeer was detected. The H3 disappointed on gravel and sand, intimidating with a chronic lack of front-end grip and steering con? dence. It wallowed on change of direction and even minor road blemishes threw it off the cornering line. At low speeds off the beaten track, though, the Luxur y had testers salivating. With a turning circle that more than matched Prado, its superior approach, departure and ramp- over angles allowed us traverse all sorts of terrain with ease. Through deep sand, the Hummer struts its stripes like the militar y trooper lineage from which it evolved. Short front and rear overhangs help. The Prado makes for a smooth and quiet drive, not so the H3, which gets noisy as the revs rise and the drivetrain develops a roughness that intrudes. Conclusion While a petrol versus diesel comparison is not ideal, what this test reinforced was just how limited the Hummer is by its engine and transmission package. Hummer H3 Luxury PRICE: $59,990 SAFETY: Four airbags, electronic stability program (ESP), anti-lock brakes (ABS), electronic brake distribution (EBD), brake assist (BA), traction control, adjustable front/rear headrests. KEY FEATURES: Immobiliser, remote locking, airconditioning, heated and powered front seats, leather, MP3-compatibile sound system, trip computer, power mirrors/windows/sunroof. ENGINE: 3.7-litre, inline, DOHC, 5-cyl. FUEL (ADR ? gure): 14.5 litres/100 km CRASH RATING: N/A EMISSION RATING: ?? FOR: Off-road ability, individuality, safety equipment. AGAINST: Ergonomics, on-road performance, space. STAR RATING (OUT OF 5): ??? Toyota Prado GXL TD PRICE: $58,790 (auto) SAFETY: Front airbags, ABS, EBD, BA, adjustable front/rear headrests, eight laps/sash belts. KEY FEATURES: Seats eight, immobiliser, central locking, dual zone airconditioning, power mirrors/windows, wheel- mounted controls, MP3-compatible sound system, cruise control, 180-litre fuel tank. ENGINE: 3.0-litre, turbo-diesel 4-cyl. FUEL (ADR ? gure): 9.3 litres/100 km CRASH RATING: ???? EMISSION RATING: ??? FOR: Versatility, range, ride. AGAINST: Standard safety inventory, driver’s seat. STAR RATING (OUT OF 5): ???? While dropping in a Prado-type turbo diesel or petrol V6 or V8 wouldn’t solve all the H3’s problems, it would help. The South African-built Yank has real off-road qualities, but it would be a pain to live with ever y day. The ergonomics need a big improvement and ride quality and overall re? nement are distinctly agricultural. But we acknowledge that its standout styling is a drawcard for many. The GXL is the more complete, liveable package. It does a commendably capable job off road and on, is far more re? ned and has few ? aws.
April May 2008
August September 2008