My Velocity Squared

September 17, 2010

Review: Hummer H3 Alpha

Filed under: Reviews — smarmbeast @ 8:07 pm

Ah another American vehicle to eviscerate.

Except that I can’t.

This is an example of the type of vehicle that we are good at building here in the States. All of the money has gone into SUV development here, and I think at least half of it went it to this vehicle.


A bit plastic. However, not half as shit as most GMC line fisher price nonsense. I would compare it to  late 90’s, early ’00 VW interior.

Controls for AC, etc are all intuitive, well placed. Seating is comfortable.  Bolsters on the seats are very nice. But again, they have to be. See later.

Windows are small. Very small. This is a somewhat exotic vehicle, and they let you know it through designs that are dubious and dangerous. One must point the sideview mirrors down quite a bit to make sure you don’t accidentally crush a Honda.

Review mirror camera is excellent. Standard I hope as well, because that’s the only way you can see what is behind this monstrosity when backing up.

Nice leather accenting on the interior, that is *gasp* tasteful. And so well stitched, I can almost guarantee it wasn’t done on this continent.

Stereo is terrible. No 1/8′ jack, Built in Nav.

For the record car manufactures… unless you are Aston, Ferarri, or Lamborghini, you are forbidden from having a factory NAV option. They get outdated, updates are impossible to get, etc. They just sit around unused taking up valuable dash real estate. If you want to be useful, develop a standard that will take any touch screen device and put it on a builtin display. So I can plug in my iphone, crackberry, garmin, etc.

Sunroof is stellar. Huge, tinted just right, love it. The kind of sunroof you could stand up out of, even me. Love it.


5.3 Litre V8. Snappy, full or torque, piss and vinegar. Passes easily. Never feels underpowered. Never feels fuel efficient either. 14MPG.

Handling, onroad:

Nice, felt connected with the road, firm without being battering, felt stable at all times. Handled LA traffic with ease.

Handling offroad:

Spectacular. Fulltime AWD, with locking center diff, and locking front and back. Go into low, lock everything up, and it will crawl up ATV trails. Did this on a hill overlooking Pi-town. One of the few vehicles that will handle MOAB’s escalator without mods.

I cannot emphasize how stellar this vehicle is off the beaten path. Sand, gravel, dirt… it eats is up and asks for more.

Also, be aware. This vehicle is nice, but basically a souped up GMC Canyon. Do not ford water with it. Those snorkels on the top are in fact cosmetic. Rental companies frown on hydrolocked engines.


The rest of the package is pretty stellar. Well, except for the brakes. They start out promising for about 2 seconds. And then they turn to mush. I’m pretty sure aftermarket pads could fix this easily, maybe slightly larger rotors. Ceramic would be a nice option to arrest the bulk of this thing.

Cock quotient:

Audi level. Other people don’t really matter, after all you are in a Hummer!

You can’t see them, they have to look up at you. Lane changes consist of throwing on a blinker, and praying people notice the shadow looming over them and move out of thew way; I mean it’s not like you can actually see the small people right? And no one road rages against you that isn’t driving another Hummer or suicidal. Ride in this baby, and you’ll be a raging tool in less than 15 minutes.


September 10, 2010

Review: Impala LT

Filed under: Reviews — smarmbeast @ 12:38 am

The Impala LT

There are some things that are so bad, they are good. The Chevy Impala is unfortunately not one of those things.

The interior, like most American automobiles, is utter shit. Chevy has truly outdone themselves here. The Impala LT is *the* new benchmark is awful interiors. Let’s run it down:

– AC controls. Faux dual zone climate control. I hate dual zone climate because in reality it never quite is. But that is not my quibble on this POS. My quibble is with the controls. Two roller dials with little protrusions. These are so loose (2300 miles on the car.) that if you try to touch them, the slam up and down. It is impossible to adjust them in any reasonable manner. The suspension is so loose that you just slam from full hot to full cold again and again.

– Crappy plastic. Awful Fisher Price plastic, everywhere. Ugly seams, hollow sounding when you wrap on it. The seat controls are the worst example of this.

– Steering wheel controls: No feedback. No way to tell if when you are pressing the cruise that it is actually doing anything. So you have to smash it down as hard as you can. Normally even if the controls didn’t click, you could tell the car was slowing down or speeding up… but that would require an engine less indifferent to input than whatever is under the hood in this thing.

– Who the hell still uses an on the tree transmission control and a foot e-brake in a car? Chevy. So they can claim there is a third seat in the front. Maybe for a 5 year old. Pointless. Handbrake, and floor, or console protrusion please.


None that can be discerned. It is like driving around in a tub of novcaine, everything is numb….

… except when it’s not. Suddenly out of nowhere a bump will hammer through for some reason. Hurts like hell.


Hit pedal, wait 4 seconds for downshift. So don’t try any active evasive maneuvers. Complete rubbish. Sometimes it will downshift fast, but so fast it gives you whiplash and makes you lift off during the pain.


Pads most likely made of steel wool, clamping onto cotton candy. Plan well ahead if you need to stop.


No feedback that turning the wheel is actually doing anything. Eventually the car will turn. Then it will start to turn real quickly. Heart stopping. Understeer like you wouldn’t believe. Feels like steering through heavy pudding.


Anemic. Soulless. Married to shit transmission, see above.


I suggest getting an inverter, and plugging a clock radio in for superior acoustics.


This is actually amazingly spacious, and well designed.

In the U.S. we love shitty cars, and this is the latest example of of the cream of feces we made possible. I would love to thank every bottom breathing moron that buys cars like this for making this automotive atrocity possible.

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