2009 H3T Pickup - First Drive

Story By Michael Cohn
Photos By Michael Cohn , GM

Send this article to a friend!

The last time we covered HUMMER, we raved about the 2008 H3 Alphas.  We loved the 5.3L V-8 and all the other Alpha trimmins that came with it. For 2009, the H3T pickup debuts.

In December of 2003, HUMMER showed a concept called the H3T. While it was really just a styling exercise, based on the H2, it raised a lot of eyebrows and got a lot of people asking GM to actually build the thing.

In the midst of HUMMERs questionable future with GM (and GM's own future), they are answering that call for a pickup and they brought us to the Sierra Mountains of California for a first look at the ready-for-production 2009 HUMMER H3T.


The H3T is based on the standard H3 SUV. From the B-pillar forward, it’s pretty much the same.  However, behind it, you get a crew-cab  and a five foot truck bed.

Coming in bigger than a mid-size truck (think Dodge Dakota) but a little smaller than, say, a Silverado, the H3T is a really nice size.  It’s practically full-size, but without the extra heft.

The base model is still powered by the inline 5 cylinder. We’re not a fan of this engine in this application on the road at all. There, we’ve said it. But if you want your H3T with a 5-speed manual, it will be your only choice.

On the trail, however, the 3.7L I-5’s 239hp and 241 lb.-ft of torque work quite nicely with the stick shift. Engine compression rocked and the truck creeped over obstacles with nary a jerk.  But once we left the trails and hit the roads back to town, it proved anemic on the mountainous roads of the Sierras. “Hey you, minivan, get off my butt! I’m tryin!” Perhaps closer to sea-level in flatter areas of the country, it wouldn’t be so bad.

HUMMER H3TAs we mentioned earlier, though, the V-8-equipped Alpha models are the real gems here and the only ones worth a serious look if you plan to actually use your truck or get out of your own way on the roads.

Producing 300hp and 320 lb.-ft of torque, the V-8 had enough grunt to get us where we wanted in a hurry. Oh, and we did try, too. The roads toward the trail were very rural, hilly and curvy and pushed it hard to see what it would do.

My co-pilot and I both noticed how compliant the truck was around the tight turns and how little body roll there was.  The heavy-handed steering wheel kept us going where we aimed and we never freaked out as oncoming trucks came our way and we had to stab the brakes. Very well, done, guys.

For the most part, on the highway, the H3T was a smooth cruiser with one exception. There was a grated bit of highway we traveled that caused a good bit of harmonic bed shake that we both noticed and disliked. This was the only time, though. On “normal” roads, it handled very well with little disturbance. Inside was surprisingly quiet for a truck and the seats were very comfortable – some of the best we’ve saddled up to.

Speaking of the interior, I’m a big fan of GM anyway, but they just keep getting better. The rubbery, tactile feel of the knobs and the dash and door panel plastics are all very nice and feel good to the touch – not like some others we’ve been in that still feel like cheesy thin plastic. Most of the fit and finish was good with only a few not-so-perfect lines and edges to be seen. While these were built on the assembly line in Louisiana, they were not final production models, though, so hopefully they’ll tighten up a few tolerances here and there.

We mentioned how comfy the front seats were already. What we didn’t talk about yet was the rear seating area. While the H3 SUV’s doors have to deal with becoming part of the fender well, getting in and out can be a little tight for adults. The H3T, due to its additional 22.3” of wheelbase, gets full rear doors. Getting in and out was a piece of cake and there was plenty of room for adults to ride in the 60/40 split back seat all day.


Moving to the business section of the pickup, the bed, as mentioned, is 5 feet in length – long enough to park a couple of dirt bikes back there. With the removable tailgate down, you can also easily carry that all-important stack of plywood, too.

If you have to carry more than what fits in the bed, the 3.7L can tow 4400 lbs. while the V-8 Alphas can pull 5900 lbs.

The H3T’s bed comes with a plastic bedliner and two storage compartments on each side to hold small items.  An optional bed rail system similar to the Silverado’s can be had for additional cargo security.

But wait, there’s more!  We rode with a member of the Boomerang development team, in an H3T sporting one of their accessory racks. Still in development, the rack was set up to carry kayaks, but we gave them plenty of other ideas to work on since they’re not done yet.

HUMMER is already promising more than 75 dealer-installed accessories and, of course, the aftermarket will bring many more. You can bet this pickup will have plenty of different configurations once it hits the streets.



ON TO PAGE 2 --->>>


Michael Cohn

Michael Cohn is the founder and Editor of ROCKCRAWLER.com. Michael finds great pleasure in driving other peoples' vehicles and doesn't always drive with his mouth open. To volunteer your rig for abuse, please contact Michael at comments@rockcrawler.com.




Help spread the ROCKCRAWLER world!           Share on Facebook

©1997-2015 ROCKCRAWLER 4x4 and Off-Road Magazine. All Rights Reserved.

RockCrawler.com   -   IH8MUD.com