2008 HUMMER HX Concept (Kang)Enlarge Photo
General Motors is known to have had its eye on the niche occupied by the Jeep Wrangler. And at the Detroit auto show next week, it will reveal more of its intentions to field a Wrangler competitor in the shape of the HUMMER HX concept.
HUMMER's general manager, Martin Walsh said, "We've made our intentions clear that we want to expand our product line. To do this, we need another, smaller vehicle." Certainly, the H2 and H3 were smaller than the original H1, but there is clearly room beneath the H3 for a Wranger-sized SUV. Following HUMMER's naming convention, the betting money is on H4 as the model name.
The HX Concept, shown in sketches at a GM press event, also embodies some of the off-road hallmarks of the Toyota FJ Cruiser. But GM says the design of the new HX concept is all HUMMER, even though it's the work of three young designers that are new to GM Design Staff.
David Rojas, Min Young Kang, and Robert Jablonski are the artists GM assigned to envision a future off-road vehicle for the HUMMER brand. All three are recent graduates of the College for Creative Studies in Detroit. The vehicle would have to evince HUMMER's off-road credentials while passing muster with Carl Zipfel, the director of the brand's design studio.
The resulting HX concept shares some elements with other HUMMER vehicles, like the seven-bar grill. The concept's 3.6-liter V-6 powertrain is also flex-fuel-capable, helping to point toward the E85 ethanol powertrains coming to the HUMMER line in 2008. Walsh noted that every HUMMER would offer either a flex-fuel or bio-fuel capable powertrain by 2010. This further confirms talk of wider diesel engine availability, including the new 4.5-liter for the H2 and perhaps the H3.
Compared to the H3, the HX concept is shorter by approximately 10 inches, but the HX's track is slightly wider than the H3’s, giving it a squat look that should prove exceptionally stable off-road. Engineers on hand wouldn't comment on whether the HX was built on a shortened H3 chassis, but the likelihood is strong.
While clearly a HUMMER in terms of overall design, the two-door HX concept introduces some stylistic touches uncommon to other HUMMER vehicles. The hard-top roof, for example, has removable panels and a removable rear roof that converts the HX from hardtop to an open-air vehicle with a short truck bed. The doors and fender flares are removable, too. A winch is integrated into the front bumper assembly.
Mechanical details of the concept vehicle include 35-inch tires mounted to 20-inch rims with bead locks, coil-over shocks, and a fully independent rear suspension. Power comes from an E85 version of GM's 3.6-liter direct-injection V-6 (similar to the top V-6 in the 2008 Cadillac CTS).
Inside, the theme supports the "go anywhere capabilities" of the HX. Materials include brushed aluminum, painted sheet metal, and ballistic nylon. Space that would otherwise be wasted by traditional door trim panels now holds a shovel on one side and a first aid kit and flashlight on the other.
Stay tuned for more pictures and details on the HX concept as TheCarConnection.com covers the Detroit show debuts through January 15, 2008. — by Rex Roy and Marty Padgett
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