There are some companies for whom the term 'compact SUV' seems almost like a contradiction. HUMMER is one such organization. After rising to prominence thanks to building heavy-duty SUV's for the U.S. military, HUMMER entered the civilian market and was eventually purchased by General Motors. While their rugged off-road vehicle sold well amongst the well-heeled who enjoyed the plus-sized dimensions of the truck, the company would eventually civilize their offerings so as to attract a wider range of buyers. The HUMMER H2, a Tonka-like take on the original H1's industrial chic quickly became a favorite amongst buyers eager to take advantage of a vehicle with similar capabilities to its military forerunner but which also featured a much more plush interior.
Part of the company's long-term strategy was to leverage the HUMMER brand name across a number of different types of vehicles in order to reach parts of the market that had previously been ignored by their large-SUV focus. The most natural direction for the company to head was the compact SUV market, where their 4x4 reputation would lend them credibility amongst buyers who were tired of some of the more cookie-cutter sport-utility vehicles which tended to be popular in that segment. HUMMER realized that while they might not be able to become a sales leader in the compact field, they could definitely target a profitable client base with a near-luxury suv.
A significant factor in designing what would ultimately become the HUMMER H3 SUV was the decision incorporate as many styling cues as possible from the much larger flagship H2 model. Instead of producing a distinct vehicle, the H3 bore the same chunky, over the top styling as its bigger brother, and in fact the two vehicles were quite difficult to tell apart, especially at a distance. Only the difference in wheelbase and vehicle width would help to make the H3 distinguishable from the H2. While this made the compact SUV appear to be much larger than the other vehicles in its class, it also attracted buyers who were happy to pay less for a vehicle that had the same look as the much more expensive full-size option, in essence giving them access to a status symbol at a lower price.
This article examines the best used compact SUV from HUMMER, the H3, and discusses its capabilities, its features and the commonalities it shares with the other vehicles in both the HUMMER and General Motors lineups.
2006 - 2007 HUMMER H3
While from the outside the 2006 - 2007 HUMMER H3 might resemble a three-quarter edition of the hefty H2, underneath the compact SUV shares the same platform as the less glamorous small pickups offered by General Motors. Of course, steps have been taken to ensure that the H3 stands apart from these more pedestrian vehicles. For one, the H3 demonstrates much of the same off-roading prowess that HUMMER has become known for - the vehicle can handle trips through up to two feet of water, thanks to a high air intake. It can also drive up 31 degree embankments and remain stable even when driving on a steep side slope, features that are worth their weight in gold out on the trail. Of course, the vehicle's four-wheel drive system acts as the keystone holding all of these impressive abilities together. The majority of compact SUV's offer only a fraction of what the HUMMER H3 demonstrates when the going gets tough and the roads disappear.
There is only one engine option available in the 2006 HUMMER H3, a 3.5-liter 5-cylinder unit that is tuned to provide 220 horsepower and 225 lb-ft of torque through either a 4-speed automatic or 5-speed manual transmission. In 2007 a 3.7-liter edition of the engine was made available that bumper added another 22 horses to the equation. While the H3 is certainly heavy, the 5-cylinders do a good job of motivating the SUV and drivers certainly won't feel as though traffic is leaving them in the dust.
The final piece of the H3 package is the vehicle's interior. Leather, well-positioned trim pieces and features such as keyless entry, power everything and a high-powered stereo system help to add a touch of exclusivity to the compact SUV. Cargo capacity is a bit tight at around 55 cubic feet, but passengers generally have a good amount of space in every seating position.
The 2007 - 2007 HUMMER H3 is definitely different - a sport-utility vehicle which straddles the world of both comfort and capability - but it does make a compelling used compact SUV option for those not interested in vehicles like the Toyota RAV4 or Honda CR-V.