Televised images of military Humvees rumbling over the Iraqi desert have apparently increased the machismo of owners of their civilian counterpart, the Hummer. Rather than meekly park their three-ton, 11-mile-per-gallon rigs in the garage while the battle raged over oil-rich Iraq, Hummer owners got belligerent. The New York Times quoted Rick Schmidt, founder of IHOG, the International Hummer Owner Group: "Those who deface a Hummer in words or deed deface the American flag and what it stands for."
Some of the harshest words about Hummers, however, are coming not from peaceniks but from their new owners.
According to the latest J. D. Power and Associates auto-quality survey, the Hummer had the highest complaint rate of all automotive brands: 225 reported problems per 100 new vehicles, compared with an industry average of 133. Common beefs included excessive wind noise, poor performance, and . . . high fuel consumption. Who knew? Paul Rauber