Even though the new and smaller Hummer H2 is on the market for 2003, the original Hummer H1 will surely continue to capture attention. The H1 is the most noticeable and most forbidding of all the sport utility vehicles on sale, and it is considered by many to be the biggest and toughest SUV of them all whether its rumbling down a paved road or through the most demanding offroad trek. No wonder its been the vehicle of choice for celebrities such as muscleman actor Arnold Schwarzenegger, who has served as an eager company spokesman. The manufacturer bills the H1 as the worlds premier offroad vehicle, rugged enough for Baja, refined enough for the country club.
An optional Eaton rear ELocker differential is available for 2003. Operating at the push of a button, it promises optimum slow-speed capability when climbing over big rocks or up long, steep grades. A larger radio face contains cassette and single CD slots, along with a 12-CD changer. A new heavy-duty brush guard has also been installed.
Both the military and civilian versions of the Hummer continue to be built at AM Generals plant in Indiana, but General Motors owns the marketing and distribution rights to the Hummer brand. GM continues to market the larger H1 alongside the H2.
The H1 comes as an open-top model or a four-door wagon. Because of its gross vehicle weight, which is well above 8,500 pounds, the H1 falls into a heavier-duty category than other SUVs and does not have to meet the usual federal safety, emissions and fuel economy requirements. Sales of the H1 dipped a bit recently, from 875 vehicles in 2000 to 768 in 2001, according to Automotive News.
Not only does the Hummer present a massive appearance on the road, but versatility is one of its hallmarks. Thats why you can buy one with or without a solid roof. With an overall length of 184.5 inches, a 130-inch wheelbase and a 72-inch track (the width between the wheels), the overpowering H1 is easy to spot from a distance. Two fuel tanks that hold 25 and 17 gallons are installed. Run-flat tires on 17-inch aluminum wheels are standard.
The H1s 16-inch ground clearance is more than twice as much as most SUVs. In fact, the company claims that the H1 can run through water as deep as 30 inches without a mishap. A 72-degree approach angle and a 37.5-degree departure angle intensify its climbing capabilities.
Four seats are spread around the perimeter of the H1s interior; occupants are separated by a massive center tunnel that houses the transmission and drivetrain components. Despite its militarylike external appearance, the H1 offers an appealing selection of comfort and convenience features, which include an optional Monsoon sound system.
Under the Hood
The H1s 6.5-liter turbo-diesel V-8 engine is based on a GM design and develops 195 horsepower and a burly 430 pounds-feet of torque. The V-8 works with a GM four-speed adaptive automatic transmission and a permanently engaged four-wheel-drive system that has a Low range and locking differentials. Hummer claims the H1 can climb grades as steep as 60 degrees.
Antilock brakes are standard. Because the H1 falls into a heavy-duty vehicle category, airbags are not required.
Nothing else comes close to the experience of driving an H1, whether its on an ordinary highway or through the most daunting terrain. Nothing else looks like an H1, which makes it an ideal vehicle for owners who like to be noticed.
What might really surprise the first-time rider is the close quarters inside the vehicle. Despite the H1s mammoth exterior dimensions, the interior layout places each occupant into an almost claustrophobic individual compartment.
Not for a moment do you forget that youre inside a truck and a mighty big one at that with all the sounds and drones to demonstrate that fact. With the ability to power its way up astounding grades and lean way over on its side to get across rocky terrain, the H1 isnt your typical ride to the grocery store. Despite an impressive ground clearance, its by no means impossible to get stuck, as more than one offroad driver has learned when pushing past the vehicles abundant limits. Fortunately, theres a winch at hand to help pull you out of trouble spots should the need ever arise.