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2008 Hummer H3 Review

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2008 Hummer H3 SUV H3X
MRSP: $44,890 (as tested)

Ok, the folks at GM are officially crazy now. They gave me the keys to a 2008 Hummer H3 SUV H3X and let me go to town. It was the first time I got behind the wheel of the H3 (any Hummer actually) and it was quite an experience.

This SUV is a fun drive and it will fill your minds with thoughts of mud holes and camping trips and early morning drives to the lake with a boat in tow. I can taste that lake trout now. It's also not bad when going to get groceries, taking a trip to the hardware store or picking up the kids from school either.



What's it like to drive?
What can you say about a H3? Yeah, it's fairly big at just under 5,000 lbs, but not as big as it's big brother the H2, it's a bit more civilized. It does look like it's ready to do some serious off-road battle though. I imagine that most H3s that are on the road, stick to the road. It's got room for seven with the 3rd row seat and a decent amount of cargo room behind it, although cargo seems like an afterthought on the design. The seats are comfy and roomy and you do sit up high so you've got a commanding view of the road.

Now, if you've spent any time in any other GM Truck or SUV, you'll have to fight the urge to directly compare them to the H3. They're different vehicles, designed for a different buyer and a different purpose. Things are tighter inside the H3, but not cramped, you don't have as much extra "lounge" space like you'll have in the Tahoe or Suburban. The knobs and vents and gauges are different too. I just can't see the target market for the H3 being soccer moms going to the grocery store. Yes, I'm sure there are quite a number of soccer moms driving around in H3s, but overall I see this as a guy's vehicle.

The H3 gives you a more stiff ride, that's for sure, it has to because of the off-road capable suspension system. It takes more effort to complete movements (although the turning radius is incredible!) and you lose some of the sightlines or vision of the road as the H3's got less glass than most SUVs I've been in ... It's got a lot less glass, you'll notice that in your first 2 seconds. I found I had to duck down a little to see stoplights through the H3's windshield. Once you get past that, buckle up and get ready for a nice cruise. Acceleration was responsive, but not fast, steering was deliberate but not stiff. You're in a club now, and be prepared to wave at other H3s (and H2s) going down the road.

All in all? It's fun to drive and you'll get noticed. No, scratch that. It's a blast to drive. Cruising down the road, letting the 3.7L I-5 get you where you want to go.

How's the 4WD work?
Who can get into a Hummer and NOT go off-road? I took a detour to a local off-road site and took the rubber off the pavement. Never had to worry for a second, even when I drove up into what turned out to be about 10 inches of mud. The H3 powered right though it without breaking a sweat and we got back onto dry pavement without missing a beat. This is one area where the H3 shines hands down.



Off-road it simply performs and provides a smooth but capable ride, thanks to the suspension. I only wish I could get one for a couple of weeks and take a trip off-road a few dozen miles. Maybe find a remote lake and do some fishing.



What’s it like to sit in?
The H3 delivers on comfort just as well as it does on off-road capability. The overall layout is fairly simple for such an impressive looking exterior. The knobs and switches are all handily within reach and there is plenty of comfort room for the average sized person to sit comfortably. Big and tall: However, just like other sized-down vehicles, you'll have to watch your legroom and headroom if you start to get into the upper categories of height/weight. Adult passangers shouldn't have any atypical problems in the front or second-row seats. The third-row is designed for smaller riders however.

Toys and Gadgets
Ok, I'm hooked on the XM, built-in DVD system and GPS navigation system. I've been a fan of XM for the past year and having a built-in system can offer some advantages. I have been impressed with all of the factory packages so far, but the top-end system is worth the money in my opinion.



Overall impression?
It took a short while for the H3 to grow on me, and grow on me it did. It's a fun little ride with a decent amount of performance and loads of style. At the end of my review I had to turn the keys back into GM, but I can still dream of driving up to the lake to pull a couple of trout out of the water can't I?

Comments

  1. retired2001's Avatar
    Sounds like you had a good time. The only thing I didn't like was not being able to see out very well. It seemed to me that the windows were very "short". I'd like to try the one with the V8, now that would be a blast!
  2. Steve's Avatar
    Yeah, it was a good time. Sad thing is that interest went way down with the gas prices going way up. It was a VERY capable ride though.