2008 Hummer H2 Preview – New York Auto Show: With more power from a new 6.2-liter V8 engine and six-speed automatic transmission, along with a refreshed interior and enhanced safety features, the 2008 Hummer H2 is ready to do perhaps even more damage to the asphalt, your wallet, and the ozone. On a more positive note, if you buy one, you’re sure to be widely envied – or reviled – in your neighborhood, thanks to the largess of the car and the statement it makes. But who cares what people think: you’ll also be able to tow 8,000 pounds, up from a paltry 6,500 pounds, which means you can tow almost three of those little Prius wiener mobiles.
If what GM says is true, the 2008 Hummer H2 increases its power output and its fuel efficiency. On paper, the inclusion of an efficiency-minded six-speed automatic transmission, along with a more refined engine, would certainly do the trick. We’ll see when we drive the upgrade. All in all, however, the new H2 is good news for those who like the look of the Hummer brand and need or want a large vehicle, and it’s even better news for serious off-roaders, who will appreciate the increased output and 39:1 crawl ratio, up 20 percent from the 2007 model.
The H2 is all about the get, as in getting more power, safety and sheer presence. To that end, the 2008 model offers significant changes under the hood. A new 6.2-liter V8 engine and six-speed automatic transmission start things off with a rating of 393 horsepower and 415 lb.-ft. of torque. The transmission also has a “tap up/tap down” function from a button on the column shifter. The powertrain combination also increases the H2’s tow capacity to 8,000 pounds, from 6,500 pounds, and off-road performance is upgraded with a crawl ratio of around 39:1, an improved transfer case and a new traction control system. Other safety features include a panic brake assist feature, which detects emergency braking situations and maintains maximum brake pressure.
Messing with the look of a Hummer is sort of like making an elevator go sideways. What’s the point? People buy it precisely for the look – so straying far from it is a recipe for disaster. Of course, it’s okay to tinker, and GM did just that, slightly reshaping the snout in order to accommodate the larger engine, making bigger slots in the grille and giving the H2 a silver bumper.
If there’s one area where the H2 needs the most help, it’s the interior, and it looks like GM put some significant time and effort into making the 2008 version a more usable and hospitable place from which to drive. New for 2008 is a redesigned instrument panel, new seats – including a full third-row – and a new rear-seat heating/ac system, plus more.
“The 2008 Hummer H2 represents a major step in the evolution of this iconic vehicle,” said Martin Walsh, Hummer general manager. “From performance to comfort to safety and overall refinement, the new H2 lineup delivers more of what customers expect from Hummer; they will be especially impressed with the new, more refined interior.”
With more power, a refined interior and especially an improved off-road experience, the Hummer H2 seems to be tilting toward the people who really do need these giant vehicles and away from the suburban moms and pops who just want to look cool. Considering that most in suburbia are shying away from that H2 image, GM’s decision to make the H2 even more of a Hummer than before seems like a step toward lower, but more consistent, sales.