HUMMER and Moab -- the high road
Page 1: Intro
"Like Nothing Else." HUMMER appropriately chose this phrase to advertise its line of vehicles. Encounter one on the road, and there is no doubt of the HUMVEE roots. The only remaining question is which model - H1 or H2 - is present. For 2005 this question will become a bit trickier as a new model, the H2 SUT, will surface. The SUT, or Sport Utility Truck, is based on the H2 but gains an expandable pickup bed, similar in design to the Chevrolet Avalanche and the Cadillac EXT.
New HUMMER versatility
The H2 SUT will carry five passengers, with three along in the 60/40 split rear seat. With this configuration, about 30 cubic feet of cargo space is still available in the pickup bed behind the cabin. Sometimes, however, cargo precedes passengers. In this case, the rear window retracts into the Midget, the rear seat folds forward, and the Midgate follows by also moving forward. As a result, a 4-by-6 foot pickup bed appears, offering over 52 cubic feet of space. The bed is ideal for slimy, leaky, or gritty items, as it can be hosed out and is designed to drain quickly. To secure gear, four tie-down anchors can support 500 lbs. each, or a hard tonneau cover is available.
Old HUMMER styling
Since HUMMER has distinguished itself from other brands via large mass and somewhat militaristic, bold styling, it clearly preserves these qualities in its newest offering. The same chiseled, flat surfaces of the H2 SUV define the SUT version, as does the prominent seven-slot grille and heavy-duty bumpers front and rear.
Both of these bumpers have trailer hitch access holes, to allow both pulling and pushing. Six separate front lamps handle headlight, daytime running, and turn signal duties. Optional exterior details include chromed stainless steel tubular steps, aluminum roof rail handles, chromed hood handles, a chrome brush guard, and even a polished fuel door.
Inside, several features bring pleasure and convenience. Open-air sensation is available at the push of a button - a single switch lowers all four side windows plus the rear glass. A standard sunroof provides even more airflow. The front seats are powered in eight directions and feature three-stage heaters. Dual climate controls allow a 25-degree difference between driver and passenger. In the back, the seat cushions are heated while passengers are treated by auxiliary HVAC vents.
Two types of leather - standard Medium Wheat and optional Ebony - are offered. Both are meant for optimal comfort, with the Ebony creating an all-black appearance. The leather treatment on the instrument panel, console lid, door trim armrests, and door trim surrounds is contrasted by aluminum door sills and metallic inside door handles.
Two Bose audio systems - a single CD or a six-disc changer - offer premium sound. An optional DVD-based Navigation Radio displays directions through its 5.8-in. display screen.
H2 SUT uses the same drivetrain as its SUV sibling. The 6-liter Vortec V8 summons 325 hp. at 5,200 rpm and 365 lb.-ft. of torque at 4,000 rpm. Mounted longitudinally, the engine is bolted to a heavy-duty 4-speed automatic transmission with overdrive. Torque is delivered to all four wheels, as 4WD is employed full-time.
Page 3: Brakes
A complex 4WD provides five operating modes, allowing the H2 SUT nearly unlimited capability on and off the pavement. For example, 4 HI Open is used for normal, everyday driving on dry surfaces, while 4 HI Locked is engaged for semi-slippery surfaces such as snow or sand. Another mode, 4 LO Locked, is used on severe terrain (like when crawling over rocks). Even more crawling ability is provided via "4 LO Locked + Rear Diff Locked" which locks the rear differential, to provide even greater traction and pull. Finally, Neutral allows the vehicle to be towed and is activated by holding 4 LO Locked and 4 HI Open simultaneously for ten seconds.Four-channel disc brakes with ABS at all four corners accentuate off-road ability, as they detect the road surface and adjust to loose conditions such as gravel. The traction control system is used in conjunction with the 4WD hardware, creating the best possible potential for movement. Consider the versatility: three transfer case selections, two rear differential modes, and two Traction Control settings together provide several driving configurations.
Independent front suspension uses torsion bars and monotube gas shocks. Extra firmness is provided by the 36-mm stabilizer bar. A five-link trailing arm, air springs, and a stabilizer bar suspend the rear of H2 SUT. The air suspension is variable, from soft to hard for on- and off-road, respectively. HUMMER will provide coil springs later this year.
HUMMER's appeal has relied largely on its uniqueness. There really is nothing like one. And now that the uniqueness of the HUMMER appeal is beginning to fade in the face of declining sales, the H2 SUT should provide some needed novelty. Time will tell how long the novelty lasts, and whether the H2 SUT becomes a mainstay in the truck/SUT market.
Page 4: FAQs
What is the new HUMMER SUT and how many does parent company General Motors hope to sell?
Designed for "rugged individualists", the new H2 SUT is a Sport Utility Truck based on the Hummer H2 that gains an expandable pickup bed, similar in design to the Chevrolet Avalanche and Cadillac EXT.How does it handle?
We drove the new H2 SUT over approximately 200 miles of highway, and over some of the country's most-challenging 4WD tracks- the slick rock trails, of Moab, Utah. Its ride and handling is exactly like the H2, which we have driven before-comfortable and maneuverable on the road and highly capable off the road. Although tall to get into, interior ergonomics give it an easy-to-navigate interior, with a high level of comfort and an extra outside feeling, with a sun roof and rear-opening glass, as well. Large, tough rubber underneath along with great gearing enables the H2 SUT to crawl up and down steep inclines and its wide wheel base helps it maintain stability on sidehills.
What is the best thing about the new H2 SUT?
The new pickup bed adds versatility to an already capable backcountry and around-town truck. Lockable rear exterior storage bins, four tie-downs that can hold up to 500 lbs. each; and more than 52 cu.ft. Of stowage (when the midgate is down) add to its 4WD capability. Also unique is its auxiliary air compressor that allows you to inflate items that range from tires to camping gear.
While far easier to maneuver on the road than it looks, this truck is nonetheless big and wide and not always easy to park. It's also a "trucky" ride. Additionally, it's a very tall step-up to get in, although is aided by plenty of grab handles placed in just the right positions. Not for anyone with arthritis!
What about fuel economy?
Weighing in at 6, 400 pounds and sprinting from zero to sixty in 10 seconds, the H2 SUT's fuel economy is rated at 10 mpg city and 13 mpg on the highway.
Base price: $52,845 (destination charge included)
Engine: 6-liter V8 (325 hp @5,200 rpm, 365 lb.-ft. @4,000 rpm)
Transmission: 4-speed automatic
Wheelbase: 122.8 in.
Length: 203.5 in.
Width: 81.2 in. (without mirrors)
Height: 78.5 in. (without roof rack); 81.2 in. (with roof rack)
Head/hip/legroom: front: 40.5/63.7/41.3 in.; rear: 39.7/62/38.6 in.
Curb weight, lbs.: 6400
Fuel economy: 10 city/13 highway mpg
Safety equipment: front airbags; 4-way adjustable headrests, armrests, and lap-shoulder belts for frontal passengers; four-wheel disc brakes with ABS; traction control system; OnStar system