- Distinctive style
- New interior
- Three-row seating
- Handling not as awkward as it could be
- Extreme off-road capability
- 1970s-era fuel economy
- Interior room
- Image problems
- Teensy truck bed on the SUT
The 2008 HUMMER H2 is more about image than about driving, but if you can swing the gas bills, do lots of off-roading, and don't mind the stigma (in some circles) of driving one, it's a singular choice.
The 2008 HUMMER H2 is a compelling case study in the auto industry. It based its reputation on military vehicles and was launched just before the start of the war in Iraq. It also was launched before gas prices reached their current heights. Because of the war and gas prices, the HUMMER H2 has gone from a patriotic symbol to a symbol of excess--completely separate from its performance as a hardcore sport-utility vehicle.
The HUMMER H2 full-size SUV shares platforms and powertrains with the Chevrolet Suburban. New this year is an upgraded V-8 engine. The 6.2-liter eight-cylinder is rated at 393 horsepower and gets teamed with a six-speed automatic transmission; together, they help the H2 and the SUT pickup version boost their towing capacity up to 8,200 pounds. It helps the H2 reduce its acceleration, but there's nothing quick about the big HUMMER (the military-grade H1 HUMMER is long gone from the market). GM's six-speed transmissions are among the best in the truck market, and this one's no exception.
The H2 drives all four wheels via a rugged full-time four-wheel-drive system. Low-range gearing and a locking rear differential are included across the line for off-road enthusiasts, and an air suspension is available to smooth the ride over both back roads and highways. TheCarConnection.com's off-road experiences in HUMMER H2s have ranged from the slick rock of Moab to the mud of northern Michigan--without a single instance of getting stuck.
The H2 SUT version has a midgate/bed system similar to the Chevy Avalanche full-size pickup for carrying cargo, as well as features such as power windows that can all be lowered at once, along with a standard sunroof. The pickup bed is barely useful enough to carry mulch home from the depot, but an available hard tonneau cover means it's not a total loss for luggage space.
Not that you'd want to drive the HUMMER H2 on a long road trip. Even with the brand-new interior featuring a redesigned dash, new squared-off seats, a third-row seat for two people, and features like a rear-seat DVD entertainment system, the H2 is cramped, and the effective use of space takes a backseat to the styling. A rear HVAC system is now standard, as is a Bose surround-sound system.
Because it's a large truck, the HUMMER H2's fuel economy does not have to be reported to the EPA. In our extensive driving of previous H2s, TheCarConnection.com's editors observed 10-12 mpg in highway driving. Likewise, the HUMMER H2 has not been crash tested by either the government or by the private Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) for the 2008 model year.
The strangest consequence of owning a HUMMER H2 is being the target of insults from green-minded drivers who object to its fuel economy and from drivers of a different political persuasion. No vehicle sold in this country relies so heavily on image and attracts so much attention because of it.