Tuesday, January 04, 2005

The Day I Wanted a Hummer

When auto spec sheets tell you how tightly a car can turn, they usually express it as the minimum distance between two curbs, within which the vehicle could turn without hitting the curbs. Quite often this is miscalled "turning radius", although obviously it is more like an "outer turning diameter".

Today I was shocked and impressed to read that the original H1 Hummer was very nimble with an amazingly short turning radius of 25 feet. I really was amazed... My Jeep Wrangler has a turning diameter of 33 feet and I thought that was very good. My Ford F-150 has a turning diameter of about 43 feet.

Wow, I thought, maybe you really do get some amazing technology for that $100,000 price tag. For the first time ever, I actually thought I might want to own a H1 Hummer, if I had the money.

Well, that was for a brief while. Then I realized that this time they really did mean turning radius, i.e., the H1 has a curb-to-curb turning diameter of 50 feet!

I was thrown by
(1) the prevalent confusion between radius and diameter;
(2) the quite prevalent Internet gushing about the turning radius as "amazingly short", etc. Reviewers talk about the Hummer being surprisingly easy to park, while trucks with smaller turning radii are berated as clumsy and awkward. A googlism for "a hummer" is "a hummer is extremely nimble". Dear God, extremely nimble compared to what? A Winnebago?


At 10:00 AM, January 05, 2005, Blogger Maribeth said...

It is claimed that the VW GTI has a curb-to-curb turning radius of 35.8 feet but I do not believe this could be true -- I think it is much worse than that despite the small size of the car itself.

Maybe 50 feet is pretty good for a truck of that size? How big is a Hummer compared to the F-150? Or F-250, whose turning radius is also about 50 feet? (Admittedly, people seem to complain a lot about the F-250's crappy turning radius...)


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