Build QualityBuild Quality Key Points:
Talk about your lowered expectations. Thanks to the quality issues found in the larger and more expensive Hummer H2, the H3 could have been built out of cardboard, with egg crate seats, and it would have been an improvement.
Kidding. But only just. The surprise is that the 2006 Hummer H3 is a well done truck, with plastics that feel like they’ll stick around for awhile, comfortable seats and a spacious interior. Whether it reaches its final sticker depends on your expectations, but it just may be better than you think. On the outside, panel gaps are pretty consistent, though there is far too much plastic attached to various spots, especially the large black plastic hood insert. Things break down a bit up front and in the back, where the rear swing-out tailgate doesn’t look like it lines up very well, and the gap between the bumper and the bottom of the gate is larger than any other side of the door. The rear bumper, in fact, suffers all the way around, with at least a quarter-inch gap between the metal and the plastic. That’s in back, and while build quality is better up front, it’s not much better. While we loved the chrome grille, the most disturbing thing about the front was the cheesy plastic insert on the hood, which on ours looked a little off. Side trim, however, looked like it was evenly installed, and the door handles had a nice, firm feel, as if they would last a long time.
Overall, on the outside, designers did an excellent job of bringing Hummer signature touches down in scale to fit the H3 size. The seven-slot grille, the round headlights and slab sides all shout Hummer style, and, in fact, look cooler in the H3 application than on the larger trucks.
Inside, the H3 borrows nits and bits from other GM vehicles, namely the Chevrolet Colorado, adding its own Hummer touch. An especially nice touch, in fact, is the vents: GM designers worked to make the vent flaps close flush – a small touch, but one that matters to the overall environment of the cabin. The seats, with leather piping, were very comfortable and supportive – but buy up and get the eight-way power seats, as a vehicle this large takes a little futzing on the inside. Once you find your spot, controls feel nice to the touch and well-placed, though a little more heft would be nice in the stalks. The brushed aluminum trim goes nicely with the bright chrome H3 insignia and trim. Fit and finish inside the cab is consistent, though we wish for tighter tolerances. Case in point: where the plastic and brushed metal meet in the center console area, the gaps are consistent but could be tighter. Among the highlights, however, is the two-tone choice of materials up front: the plastic looks nice and feels like a quality grade.
For the dollars, this is a more livable interior compared to the more expensive H2, and beats lower-priced competitors such as the Toyota FJ Cruiser and the Nissan Xterra. It’s a poor cousin to the new Chevrolet Tahoe in terms of quality, however, so one would be wise to check out that vehicle. All together, however, it’s a well done truck – with a little help from its friends.