Hummer, schmummer.

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Big Chris
http://www.startribune.com/stories/462/5175487.html
Hummer, schmummer. You want a sport-utility vehicle that says power? Luxury? Whose sheer size and pavement-rumbling engine send others scurrying to the slow lane?
Well, you're probably not going to buy one of these because, after all, only 300 of the seven-ton monsters have been sold and they cost a cool $115,000. But for the sheer ability to make folks gawk or cringe, now there's something for big-truck fans to consider beyond the Hummer.
It's a new, monster breed of SUV -- the International 7300 CXT, brought to you by the folks who once made farm equipment -- and this rig makes the hulking Hummer, the current king of the roads, look like a ladybug.
Everything else, too, for that matter.
"It's huge. Man, my truck looks like a toy," said David Anderson of Bloomington, who pulled up alongside the CXT in his Ford F-350 pickup at a Twin Cities gas station recently.
Basically a semitrailer truck with a pickup bed on the back, the CXT is billed as an "extreme SUV" and the "world's largest production pickup." In a nation fascinated by supersized trucks and TV shows that "pimp-up" rides with custom interiors and spinning rims, the CXT is poised to become the ultimate road-hog status symbol for celebrities, pro athletes and anyone with money (and fuel) to burn.
"You're not going to sell thousands of these. What this is, is a unique opportunity for people who want to express themselves through their vehicle," said Scott Dawson, owner of Astleford International, whose two Twin Cities dealerships sell the CXT. "If you drive this, you want to make a statement."
About 300 CXTs have been sold nationwide since International began marketing the truck in September.
That dwarfed initial sales projections of 80 trucks for the first year. Current owners include actor Ashton Kutcher, country singer Toby Keith and an athlete or two.
So far, Dawson hasn't sold any in Minnesota, but that could change soon. After driving a demo CXT around the Twin Cities for the past month and advertising on sports talk radio, Dawson said, he has about a dozen people seriously interested. One, a professional fisherman from the region, may soon pick up the keys to the behemoth.
In Minnesota, a regular driver's license is enough for anyone climbing behind the wheel. The CXT's gross vehicle weight rating falls one pound below the 26,000-pound threshold beyond which Minnesota law requires a commercial license.
But drivers will need to make a few adjustments because the CXT is a pickup truck in name only. In actuality, it looks and sometimes rides more like the dump trucks and other heavy equipment International normally makes.
Sure, it may come with the amenities found on a Ford Explorer or Dodge Durango: four-wheel drive, leather seats, automatic transmission, keyless entry and kicked-up stereo.
But its six tires are hip-high. It's 21½ feet long. It tows 27,000 pounds and doesn't fit in a standard garage, parking space or fast-food drive-through. It gets 8 to 10 miles per gallon, according to company estimates.
'It's so different'
It's also got a crew cab that seats five, hissing air brakes and a big-rig style vertical, chrome exhaust pipe. Then there's the booming horn, rivaling anything a Peterbilt belts out.
"People love that," Dawson said as he drove the CXT late last month through north Minneapolis.
As if on cue, the window rolled down on a train passing by. The conductor leaned out, giving a hearty thumbs-up as his engine chugged through the crossing. With the CXT's towering 9-foot-tall cab, its passengers are at the conductor's eye level, and higher than your typical stop sign.
It's a bit like driving a building, and it makes for a unique driving experience. There's nothing about this truck that's not supersized -- from the huge steering wheel to the entire lane width it fills. The air brakes also require some getting used to, requiring a light touch and more lead time, something that led the State Patrol to recommend training for CXT drivers before they get behind the wheel.
But the perspective from the driver's seat is something else. You look down at just about everything on the road. Combine that with 7 tons of metal thrumming underneath and there's a sudden injection of chest-thumping machismo into any CXT driver -- whether it's a muscular dude or middle-aged reporter/suburban mom.
No one on the road is going to mess with you. And people get out of your way.
The CXT does not slip in quietly when it arrives at its destination. Kids point and grin. Adults do double takes.
"What is that? A Hummer? A semi? Or what?" said DeLynn Pfannenstein of Farmington, who spotted the CXT cruising near the airport. "It's just an amazing vehicle."
Others whip out camera phones.
"I gotta show my family. It's so different. So big," Jon Martinneau said as he pointed and snapped in the parking lot of a Bloomington business.
Then there are those guys simply overcome with emotion at the sight of the megatruck. It's almost as if the CXT reels them in at gas stations, restaurants and anywhere it's parked.
"Sweet," Anderson said in an awestruck near-whisper last month as he slowly walked around the CXT in Bloomington.
Dawson, a third-generation owner of Astleford International, said not everyone buying CXTs simply wants to drive a big truck.
For contractors or landscapers, he said, the CXT could be a boon to haul heavy equipment. Commercial boat haulers and those who haul horses cross-country could also put the truck's power and its feather-touch air brakes to good use.
David Armstrong of Prior Lake said he can't imagine why he would ever truly need a CXT's power.
"It's overkill," he said. "But it's still very cool."
Jill Burcum is at
snipped-for-privacy@startribune.com.
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Believe it or not, I've seen one of these things up close and personal.. An old guy who helps put on an anual endurance horse race in my area has one.... it's.... Big.
Adair

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A crew cab cornbinder.
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"Scott" <homealone.com> wrote in message

International Harvester had crew cab pick ups back in the 50's.
thing is Chevy is offering the same thing on the Kodiak chassis, Dimmit Chevy in Clearwater Florida has one parked by the entrance driveway. I drool everytime I pass it when I am in that area of the state. Whitelightning
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I was in MN week and half ago and saw one of these running around. I thought it was a joke that someone cobbled together from a semi tractor. I probably saw the one the star trib was testing. Larry

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i am not sure what all this said but i was a car show called Auto Show in Motion where you get to drive the cars and i gotta say the H2 sucked ass

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Twelve yards long, two lanes wide, Sixty five tons of American pride! Canyonero!
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William C. wrote:

The H1 is a prettified, sissified version of the HMMWV. The H2 is something that looks something like an H1 but drives more like a blazer, and completely lacks the off road technology that made the original HMMWV great. IMHO, the H2 is just a Penis Enhancement Vehicle for middle aged men with too much money.
The original HMMWV was a real off road vehicle. AM General made modifications to the suspension and steering to make it more tractable on the road when they brought out the H1.
What I think is particularly interesting is that the Marines went with the Mercedes Gelaendewagen when they wanted good scout vehicles.
Really, if you want a go-anywhere-mobile then there are MUCH better options than the H2.
If you really want something to intimidate a Hummer driver the try an Unimog. http://www.mercedes-benz.de/content/germany/mpc/mpc_germany_website/de/home_mpc/unimog.html http://unimog.net / http://www.unimogtrucks.com / Not only can they out carry a Hummer, they can carry a Hummer.
A pen pal of mine is planning a trip from Japan to South Africa overland, and, being a journalist, he wrote a good article about off road vehicles entitled "Kings Off The Road". http://www.journeytoforever.org/landrover2.html
Good reading.
AP
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before you can intimidate, you have to be able to catch, and with a top end of 85kmph, I dont think the Hummer in any form has anything to worry about Not to take anything away from the Unimog, its tough beast, but its more an all wheel drive farm tractor with a truck cab then a truck.
Whitelightning
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Whitelightning wrote:

My point, really, was that I'm not impressed.
I drove real HMMWV's in the Army, and the circumcised Penis Enhancement Vehicle version doesn't impress me. Sure, it'll haul ass on the road because of the changes to the suspension and the driveline, but get it off of the road and the real version will stand it on its ear.
Sure, the 'Mog will only do 85kph. The real HMMWV will do a little more than 100kph on the road, but at the risk of overspeeding the engine, and at that it'll shake your teeth out.
The only real problem I have with the HMMWV has to do with the transmission. I never saw one that didn't leak. The general rule with the HMMWV transmission is that if it isn't leaking now then it will be soon.
The really stupid thing about the Hummer is that 99% of them never leave pavement, and do nothing but burn too much fuel and make their owners feel more manly. That's really my problem with them.
I'll agree again with the original poster: Hummer Schmummer.
AP
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wrote:

I too think the unimog is one tough vehicle, but if you think the hummer is priced high....
If I had a never ending pot of money then the unimog would be my choice for a "do-all" off road vehicle.
If you get too civilized for street driving you loose some of the off-road capability. I think the H2 is a street vehicle for those who want the hummer brand name.
--
Elbert Clarke
elbert.clarke@**adelphia.net
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