Best Used HUMMER Full-Size SUV - H1, H2
There are some vehicles which become a part of the collective unconscious thanks to the role they happened to play in history. Whether it's the Model T representing the first mass-produced automobile or the sheer beauty of the gull wing Mercedes-Benz 300 SEL, these cars become forever enshrined in automotive lore. However, it is rare that an SUV achieves this same level of consideration when compared against its automotive peers. While these trucks are definitely useful and have filled an important role in the lives of millions of families and workers alike, they are often treated as just another implement or appliance in the same way a tractor or other piece of heavy gear would be.
However, sometimes events conspire to turn even the most practical vehicles into coveted, must-have items. When the Gulf War broke out in 1991, the HUMVEE, a military SUV produced by the AM General company was seen in a starring role in the deserts of Iraq and Kuwait. This capable, square and generously proportioned vehicle quickly became known for its extreme off-road capabilities, fording deep water, tackling seemingly impossible grades and taking serious abuse with no ill effects. It wasn't long before private citizens were clamoring for their own civilian version of the HUMVEE, and in 1992 they had their way when the HUMMER H1 went on sale. The vehicle was barely distinguishable from its battlefield sibling, a little rough around the edges and certainly fuel hungry, but these factors didn't matter to those who had grown enamored of the vehicle.
Of course, the market interest in a vehicle like the HUMMER H1 was the definition of niche, and after General Motors acquired the rights to the HUMMER name in 1999 they were interested in the idea of a luxury go-anywhere vehicle that they could sell to a wider market. Creating a truck that had the same general capacity for action and dimensions as the H1 necessitated some compromises. The new suv, named the H2, was smaller and less utilitarian than the original HUMMER, but it also made use of a much more powerful and modern drivetrain, along with an interior that could finally compete with other luxury trucks. The H2 hit the scene in 2003 and was marketed as being the spiritual successor to the H1, which would depart at the end of 2006.
This article discusses the two best used suv's available from HUMMER, the H1 and the H2, and focuses on the details which can help potential buyers decide which vehicle would be better off parked in their driveway.
1998 - 2006 HUMMER H1
When it comes to full-size SUV's, there are certainly some over-the-top vehicles out there, but it is tough to get more macho than the 1998 - 2006 Hummer H1. Not only is the truck wide enough to take up almost an entire highway lane, but it has the most imposing presence and styling of any SUV available on the market. The H1 was designed to take no prisoners, and the 90 degree angles of its body work along with huge tires and a thick frame convey this message quite aggressively.
The 1998 - 2006 HUMMER H1 is available with a few different engine options. A 6.5-liter diesel V-8 engine is the primary weapon of choice in most vehicles, and it makes between 170 and 190 horsepower depending on the year. A 5.7-liter V-8 engine was also available, but given its low performance in such a heavy platform it is harder to find and not recommended. Later vehicles saw a turbocharged edition of the 6.5-liter diesel that boosted power above 200 ponies and also increased torque to the neighborhood of 400 lb-feet. A special 2006-only version of the vehicle called the H1 Alpha benefited from a 300 horsepower 6.6-liter turbo-diesel V-8 that also cranked out a whopping 520 lb-ft of torque. All editions of the H1 used a 4-speed automatic transmission, and while some of these power numbers might look impressive, the 1998 - 2006 HUMMER H1 is a notoriously slow beast. Acceleration to 60 miles per hour takes longer than 15 seconds, which combined with the vehicle's huge dimensions makes it a handful to navigate both in town and on the highway. Of course, on the trail is another story. When it comes to wilderness adventure driving, the 1998 - 2006 HUMMER H1 has few peers, and at the end of a long day of trail-breaking the HUMMER is usually well ahead of any other vehicles in the group.
The 1998 - 2006 HUMMER H1 is what it is. For buyers who need an attention-grabbing, oversized used full-size SUV, it's hard to find anything that will top the original.
2003 - 2007 HUMMER H2
Image is everything in certain segments of the car-buying spectrum, and no one was more aware of this fact than HUMMER when they released the 2003 H2. In order to broaden their horizons and get more people driving a HUMMER, the H2 is designed to be much better suited to the rigors of everyday driving than the H1. In addition to a more compliant platform and a better drivetrain, the H2 also features a seriously upgraded interior that provides all of the comforts that modern luxury truck buyers have come to expect.
Of course, these changes also mean that the 2003 - 2007 Hummer H2 is not quite as rough and rugged as its famous predecessor, but it's close. Close enough, in fact, that only true rock-climbing junkies will find reason to complain. The H2 maintains enough of the original vehicle's mystique to carry it forward to an entirely new generation of buyers eager to cash in on the HUMMER street cred.
Helping to polish the HUMMER image is a brand new engine, a 6.0-liter V-8 that generates a very healthy 316 horsepower and 360 lb-ft of torque. Power increased slightly as the model years went on, making later vehicles the ones to target for those who need as much get up and go as possible. However, while the HUMMER is well suited for towing or hauling heavy gear, it is certainly no speed demon, and the vehicle's substantial mass keeps it from providing any hair-raising levels of performance.
In the end, however, that is not what the H2 is about. The 2003 - 2007 Hummer H2 is meant to signal conspicuous consumption in a package that is practical and capable, if not economical from a fuel perspective. For those looking for a well-known used full-size SUV, the HUMMER H2 is one of the most surefire ways to make a splash.