- Off-road prowess
- Unmistakable style
- Respectable handling
- Abysmal fuel economy
- Outward visibility
- Cabin space
If you’re a serious off-roader, the 2009 HUMMER H2 is the perfect vehicle. If you’re not, the HUMMER is nothing more than an expensive, gas-guzzling fashion statement—or an image liability.
The HUMMER has softened from its original role as a military vehicle to the current H2 version (the military-grade H1 HUMMER is long gone from the market), but with three production-class wins at the Baja 1000 with only minor differences separating the racing vehicles from models found in HUMMER dealerships, the 2009 HUMMER H2 maintains its position as the most hard-core off-roader atop SUV mountain. However, the HUMMER’s image of excessiveness combined with the uncertainty surrounding gas prices, as well as our economic slump, has put the future of HUMMER on shaky ground.
The 2009 HUMMER H2 relies so heavily on image and attracts so much attention that it has become the target of aspersion from green-minded drivers who object to its fuel economy to drivers of a different political persuasion—both of which are certainly dissuading many consumers from considering the HUMMER H2 as viable transportation.
For 2009, GM is looking for whatever advantage will help lure consumers nervous about a shaky economy into HUMMER dealerships. One thing it found and quickly implemented was FlexFuel capability into the 2009 HUMMER’s 6.2-liter V-8; the H2 won’t get any better mileage, but it will burn a blend of up to 85 percent ethanol, if it’s available where you live.
The 393-horsepower V-8 is mated to GM’s 6L80 Hydra-Matic six-speed automatic transmission, and it provides smooth and surprisingly responsive—though not quick—performance. Because it's a large truck, the HUMMER H2's fuel economy does not have to be reported to the EPA, but in our extensive driving of previous H2s, TheCarConnection.com's editors have observed 10-12 mpg in highway driving and 8-9 mpg in the city. The engine/transmission combination puts the towing capacity of the 2009 H2 and the SUT in the neighborhood of 8,200 pounds.
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 2009 HUMMER 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. Handling is a bright spot; the big H2 is surprisingly well planted in cornering and doesn’t respond negatively to abrupt changes in direction, within reason.
Further changes to the 2009 HUMMER H2 are aimed at increasing comfort and convenience and include features such as available second-row captain's chairs, Bluetooth phone connectivity, a heated, power-tilting steering wheel, XM Satellite Radio with NavTraffic real-time traffic advisement, OnStar Destination Download, and third-row seat storage that frees up more storage space in the H2 SUV’s interior. Not that you'd want to drive the HUMMER H2 on a long road trip—the H2's interior 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.
Like the Chevy Avalanche, the H2 SUT version has a midgate/bed system for carrying cargo. The pickup bed is barely large enough to carry mulch home from the depot, but an available hard tonneau cover means it's not a total loss for luggage space.
The 2009 HUMMER H2 has not been crash-tested by either the government or by the private Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).