The Big One - HUMMER H2
While the H2 has become the poster child for the Green movement*, HUMMER engineers have been working hard to improve the beheamoth's overall performance and efficiency. Replacing the 6.0L V-8 used through 2007, the H2 will get the aluminum block 6.2L V-8 from the current GM lineup. The 6.2L not only produces more power than the 6.0L but it is also lighter and meets federal emission standards a year early.
Coupled to a new six-speed Hydra-Matic 6L80 automatic transmission (the 2007 has a four-speed), the 6.2L pumps out 393 hp at 5700 rpm and 415 lb-ft at 4400 rpm. The 2007 model produced 325 hp @ 5200 rpm and 365 lb-ft at 4000 rpm. So while the new motor is more powerful, the power does come in at higher rpms. An additional bonus of the extra power is an increased towing capacity of 8,000 pounds (+1,500 over 2007 model).
Driving the H2 through Colorado and New Mexico, the new motor honestly didn't feel all that much more powerful to me, though it has been a while since I have driven an H2 on the road. While you'd expect those numbers to put out a great amount of power, the H2 is still dragged down by a curb weight of 6,614 pounds and it's still shaped like a shoe box. Nimble is definitely not a word you'd use when describing the H2.
But let's be honest here, shall we? Anyone buying and driving an H2 isn't really concerned with that are they? The H2 is an image vehicle first and foremost. People buy H2s to be noticed and if you're going too fast - well - that just won't happen. That said, the power is not completely unusable. Stepping on the gas enough to downshift the tranny will get you going just fine and the six-speed does a fine job picking gears while cruising the countryside. If you're so inclined, there are also "tap up/tap down" buttons on the wheel for "manual" shifting.
Also new for 2008 on the H2 are a new electronic stability control system with rollover mitigation, panic brake assist and roof and rail head curtain side air bags with rollover sensing system. All great stuff for both on and off-road driving.
Inside the H2 is a big story. The entire interior has been redesigned and I mean completely redesigned. The dash is completely redone. Gone are the giant round a/c vents but the aircraft shifter stays. Materials have all been upgraded to the current GM style with many of the controls out of the same parts bins. Radio/NAV and HVAC modules all will look familiar to anyone who's seen the current crop of GM trucks and SUVs (this is a good thing). Even the instrument panel gets a beautiful new treatment.
The seats are absolutely wonderful. Gorgeous leather adorns them and they are plenty comfortable. In other words, it's like the H2 went to town for a makeover by a stylist that knew what they were doing.
Also updated for 2008 is the relocation of the spare tire to the rear door exterior. Gone is the single third row seat. The H2 can now fit two people in the wayback - as it should be.
Driving the H2 off-road is not a whole lot different, however, there have been a few significant changes for 2008, including the new traction control system. The tap up/tap down transmission shift function works in low range so picking your gear off-road can be done on the wheel. We tried this, but the buttons turn with the wheel and are only on one side, so we found that the buttons were turned away whenever we wanted to use them. We reverted back to the floor shifter.
The 6L80 transmission does improve off-road crawling by offering better grade braking and also an improved crawl ratio of 39:1. That's a 20% increase in the crawl ratio and we sure like that a lot - especially with the automatic.
Four-wheeling an H2 is a lot of fun. It's an extremely capable vehicle and can climb and crawl over most of what you'd throw at it. The traction control systems and the rear differential locker make the truck nearly unstoppable unless you get caught up on something or the trails get too tight. We've 'wheeled the H2 on some pretty good trails - both dry and rocky and slathered in mud and it does great - as long as it fits. It's still plagued by its size and its blind spots and you can forget about leaning out and seeing your corners or your tires. Get a spotter before backing up.
The H2 continues the tradition of big beefy SUVs. With the extra third row seat you can now fit more of the family and the powertrain upgrades are nice, too. The real show-stopper for 2008, though, is the fab new interior.
If you want to roll big or need three rows of seating, the H2 is your HUMMER of choice. Bigger power, an awesome new interior and added safety features make the 2008 version worth a look.
Michael Cohn is the founder and Editor of ROCKCRAWLER.com. Michael finds great pleasure in driving other peoples' vehicles. To volunteer yours, please contact
Michael at firstname.lastname@example.org.
* The Live Earth Global Warming Survival Handbook: 77 Essential Skills To Stop Climate Change tells the reader to not even be caught riding in a HUMMER and has an illustration of an H2.