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PERFORMANCE | 8 out of 10
Five-cylinder version is slow and ponderous
Car and Driver
Standard all-wheel drive and enough off-road ability to get a mountain goat's attention
Plenty of power to get up and over rocks
Vehicles that are meant almost exclusively for off-road driving should be judged on their off-roading abilities, and that's why the 2009 HUMMER H3T, which can be woefully underpowered on the street, still manages to rate so highly in the performance category.
The 2009 HUMMER H3T lineup offers two engine choices. According to Edmunds reviewers, base HUMMER H3T models "are powered by a 3.7-liter inline five-cylinder engine that makes 239 hp and 241 lb-ft of torque," while the HUMMER H3T "Alpha features a 5.3-liter V8 (with 300 hp and 320 lb-ft of torque)." Reviews read by TheCarConnection.com show that the base engine's five cylinders are disappointing on the road but more than capable off-road. On the road, Car and Driver says that "the five-cylinder version is slow and ponderous and makes quite a fuss getting up to speed," but the big V-8 on the HUMMER H3T Alpha "brings acceleration into the acceptable realm," though "the 5069-pound hulk is far from quick." Off-road is where these trucks, and engines, truly shine though. While driving on trails winding through the Sierra Nevada mountains, Autoblog reports that the HUMMER H3T "has plenty of power to get up and over rocks" and "simply plowed on" over a variety of terrain. The 2009 HUMMER H3T Alpha is even more impressive, and Jalopnik says that "when put into Crawl Mode the holding power of the gears and engine braking are enough to keep the vehicle under control on grades up to 60 percent."
There are two transmissions available for the HUMMER H3T, but some reviewers are disappointed to learn that the 2009 HUMMER H3T Alpha only offers one of those two. Edmunds reviewers say that "the standard transmission is a five-speed manual" on the base model, while "a four-speed automatic is optional," and the HUMMER H3T Alpha gets only "a four-speed automatic transmission." Autoblog writes that the automatic transmission on the HUMMER H3T Alpha is "the equivalent of fire-and-forget" since you simply "put the truck in Drive, and pick a good line." However, Cars.com cites the "V8 engine and four-speed transmission" combination as one of the major weaknesses of the HUMMER H3T. They go on to say that "it's disappointing only a four-speed automatic transmission is paired with the 5.3-liter V8, because if a six-speed gearbox was available it would likely benefit the H3T with improved fuel economy," as well as better off-roading credentials. The HUMMER H3T base model's standard five-speed manual is a hit with Car and Driver reviewers, who love that "the unbelievable crawl ratio provided by the manual makes it remarkably tough to stall, even when traveling less than half-a-mile per hour."
Like most heavy trucks, the 2009 HUMMER H3T sucks down gas like a thirsty camel. Even with the low-output five-cylinder engine, the EPA estimates that the HUMMER H3T will get just 14 mpg in the city and 18 mpg on the highway with either transmission. The V-8-powered HUMMER H3T Alpha fares even worse, scoring a measly 13 mpg city and 16 mpg on the highway.
Aside from its impressive off-roading abilities, the 2009 HUMMER H3T affords pretty decent on-road handling. Edmunds reports that the HUMMER H3T "performs admirably on pavement, with decent stability at speed." Despite its hefty curb weight, Jalopnik claims that the HUMMER H3T's braking system features "big discs at each corner [that] slow this thing down in a hurry."
It's hard to find a more capable stock off-roader than the 2009 HUMMER H3T.