$52,990 – $60,990
Good: NOTE: DISCONTINUED IN AUSTRALIA DEC 2010 If it’s attention you want – then this is the Large SUV for you. Decent off-road credentials and good levels of safety equipment come standard.
Not so Good: Interior is lacking space, functionality and quality materials. Average fuel economy. The attention you seek may not be the attention you get…
Design and Engineering
Good : The H3 manages to successfully mimic the look of bigger brothers H1 and H2 – making for a complete set. It’s ‘footprint’ is actually smaller than what it first appears.
Not so good : Truck-based platform is a positive when off-road; however most H3’s are driven on a smooth black tarmac surface and never make the most of their ‘truck’ heritage. At well over two-tonnes it’s mighty heavy for a vehicle less than 4.8 metres long.
Interior and Styling
Good : Actually feels like you’re in a military vehicle with lots of added comforts (whether this is a positive is debatable). There’s less noise than expected when on the move for such a big and blunt shaped 4×4.
Not so good : Below par interior plastic quality – hard and brittle-feeling. Small-sized windows results in poor visibility (style clearly wins over practicality). It’s too difficult to get into the rear seats, where there’s poor amounts of room offered (especially for a vehicle of this size). You’ll need arms more like Arnie than Paris to easily open and close the tailgate. T’would be nice if it had a rear parking camera.
Good : It keeps up with the traffic flow without much effort.
Not so good : The current 3.7L 5-cylinder is an update of the previous 3.5L – however, it still lacks torque. The four-speed auto is behind the times when almost all competitors are using 5 or 6-speed automatics (and it’s far too slow reacting to driver inputs).
Ride and Handling
Good : The H3 can handle the rough stuff as confidently as the looks promise.
Not so good : For a vehicle that is mostly purchased by city dwellers wishing to make a statement, it’s on-road flaws can’t be overlooked… With its heavy ladder-frame chassis and rear leaf springs (which in 2009 was far more common on commercial load-carrying vehicles, not passenger vehicles) the H3 has excessive understeer when pushed and moves around too much for our liking, handling corners like a 4×4 twin-cab ute, not like the typical monocoque (car-based) SUV that it competes with.
Buying and Owning
Good : You’ll get lots of attention driving a H3. Decent levels of safety equipment come standard.
Not so good : Fuel economy is only acceptable when you compare it to other petrol-guzzling big 4×4’s.