MISHAWAKA, Ind. (TheStreet) -- There's about to be a Hummer-sized void in America's moneyed, militaristic, macho low-mileage automotive market. Is there a vehicle with the bulk and bravado to fill it?
recall of the 2010 Prius stalled the stereotype of effete, lefty intellectuals taking the hybrid out to
, the dissolution of
deal to sell Hummer to a Chinese company is on the way to killing the iconic brand and its connoted connections to love-it-or-leave-it, boom-time consumption and largesse. Even before the Hummer deal fizzled, the war wagon was losing friends on all fronts.
Hummer sales fell from nearly 56,000 in 2007 to little more than 9,000 last year. Earlier this year, the Army submitted a 2010 budget proposal with no new funding for the Humvee -- the original Hummer -- saying its current order of more than 2,600 vehicles will be its last.
Despite Hummer's woes, there was enough interest in the 11 mpg H2 and 14-mpg H3 to keep Americans buying as parent company GM turned "government motors" after its bailout. For those loyal followers seeking a replacement, big, bad and expensive just won't cut it. Like the Hummer, any backup will have to express something: pride, wealth, contempt for your fellow human beings. As a service to the Hummer faithful,
provides the following alternatives to help you recover in this time of loss.
2010 GMC Canyon
; starting price: $16,970; mpg: 18 street/25 highway.
Are you feeling unknown and unappreciated? Do people mock you for being light and superficial, if they even recognize you at all? Do you find yourself watching lots of "American Idol," feeling very comfortable in tight jeans and nothing else and wanting to tell people who think they have you all figured out to stick it?
When you're a person who drives a truck, especially this one, you're qualified for more than they think. At half the price of a Hummer H3, the Canyon's not the flashiest truck on the block or the most powerful, but its earlier incarnation drove Massachusetts
into office. That should resonate with Hummer drivers, even if his pinko-commie vote on the jobs bill didn't.
; starting price: $45,500; mpg: 14 city/20 highway.
SUV? Because you need 290 to 550 horsepower to take the kids to soccer practice. (The Hummer had "only" 293 in the H3 and 393 in the H2.)
Because you need to top out at 141 mph to 174 mph when you're late for work. Because spending $126,300 on a Cayenne Turbo S is like buying two Hummers. Because when you're spending on luxuries like a Porsche Communications Management system to link your various media and electronics, a rearview camera and
surround sound speakers, you don't have to pretend that you're going to go mudding through bayous or fording rivers in your spare time.
The Cayenne, much like its owner, is comfortable with being "sport" in name only.
; starting price: $24,390; mpg: 17 to 19 city/23 to 25 highway.
Don't say a base V6 engine with 178 horsepower is "underpowered." Dodge told everyone in that
it was "man's last stand." They even got the guy from Dexter to inform us that the
is "not a man bag."
Sure, you can hook up the Charger with a hemi V8 and get more than 420 horsepower out of it, but at the end of the day, it's either an overpowered or underpowered four-door that's more than slightly impractical. Actually, that makes it sound more like a Hummer than the misogynist commercials did.
; starting price: $295,000; mpg: N/A.
What's the difference between this superluxe, six-ton SUV and the original Humvee? Armor, and lots of it. Owners like Orlando Magic center Dwight Howard may be into a 400-horsepower
V10 engine that can run on ethanol; a six-seat leather interior with wool carpeting, navigation and Bluetooth equipment; and a dual-screen rear console and rear laptop stations for the entourage.
The real benefits, however, are security details like front and rear night-vision cameras; ballistic glass windows and ballistic aluminum, composite and ceramic armor; firewalls; and bulletproof run-flat tires. For just the right balance of pampering and protection, users can install upgrades including large flat-screen TVs; satellite television; bars and cigar humidors; external listening devices; and a black box recorder.
It may not have the name recognition or accessible price of a Hummer, but since the Knight XV offers a smoke screen as an option (where permitted), we're giving it the edge.
; starting price: $200,000; mpg: N/A.
If the Hummer is the equivalent of the flashy, flamboyant Apollo Creed from the "Rocky" films, then the Kombat is Ivan Drago putting him to rest "Rocky IV"-style.
This Russian-built behemoth's V8 can push it to 110 mph, which is no small feat when it's plated in steel and three-inch-thick windows. It can withstand a direct hit from a rocket-propelled grenade, but a proposed $1.5 million
version also features bulletproof wheel hubs and a Vertu mobile phone with a panic button.
Though the costlier model's gold-plated windows, ruby- and diamond-encrusted gauges and extra layer of Kevlar have drawn interest from the Prince of Monaco and former tennis champ Marat Safin, its production is on indefinite hold after the World Wildlife Fund, Greenpeace and Pamela Anderson complained about the company's choice of upholstery material: whale penis leather.
Though Dartz failed to replicate
use of the material as barstool upholstery for his yacht, it managed an even greater feat: winning a war of sexual euphemism with a company called Hummer.
-- Reported by Jason Notte in Boston.
Jason Notte is a reporter for TheStreet.com. His writing has appeared in The New York Times, The Huffington Post, Esquire.com, Time Out New York, The Boston Herald, The Boston Phoenix, Metro newspaper and the Colorado Springs Independent.