A significantly different Hummer breed arrived as a 2003 model during the summer of 2002. General Motors has owned the marketing and distribution rights to the Hummer brand since late 1999; prior to that, the Hummer was branded as an AM General vehicle. As a result, the brand-new H2 is smaller than past models and based on GMs full-size pickup/sport utility vehicle design. Instead of seating four occupants like the current Hummer H1 does, the H2 holds five. In addition to a more civilized ride, the H2 promises what Hummer calls more creature comforts. It also costs about two-thirds as much as the big H1 model.
The first H2 SUV concept appeared in January 2000 at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. In April 2001, muscleman-actor Arnold Schwarzenegger, who serves as an enthusiastic company promoter, drove a concept Hummer H2 SUT an SUV/pickup crossover through Times Square to a special media presentation held prior to the opening of the New York International Auto Show. This is a daring product . . . a true Hummer, said Hummer Marketing Director Michael DiGiovanni at that time.
The H2 is a conventional SUV if any Hummer can truly be called conventional, that is. According to DiGiovanni, the H2 is designed for a younger, more mainstream group of buyers. Marketers advise that the H2 should appeal to rugged individualists as well as successful achievers.
Production began in the second quarter of 2002. The H2 is built at a new AM General plant in Mishawaka, Ind., which the company says is capable of turning out as many as 40,000 vehicles each year.
Derived from the same design as the Chevrolet Tahoe and Suburban, the newest Hummer is about 6 inches narrower than the larger H1. Styling cues such as giant tires and side latches on the hood are similar to those on the H1. The ladder-type frame uses a number of hydroformed components. Underbody protection includes a skid plate, a fuel-tank shield, chassis-bolted rocker panel protectors, molded wheel flares and a protective shield for the optional onboard air compressor.
At 122.8 inches, the H2s wheelbase is about 7 inches longer than that of the Tahoe. At the same time, its body is 9 inches shorter overall than the Tahoes. The wheels are positioned at the extreme corners, and the H2 has a 69.4-inch track width. High approach and departure angles the highest of any GM full-size truck permit driving directly into a hole and out again. Including its exterior mirrors, the H2 is 81.2 inches wide. A new self-leveling rear air-spring suspension is included in the offroad suspension package.
Partly because the huge driveline hump can be eliminated from the cabin, the H2 seats five occupants. The 60/40-split, second-row seats fold down, and a folding/removable third-row seat is optional. Eight-way power seat adjustment with a memory feature for the drivers seat is standard. Cloth upholstery is standard, and heated leather seats are optional. Dual-zone automatic temperature control, a nine-speaker Bose audio system with Radio Data System (RDS) technology and GMs OnStar communication system are also standard.
Acknowledging the vehicles dual-pronged appeal, two distinct equipment packages are offered. One includes chrome appearance items as well as a luggage carrier, tubular side steps, leather seats and a six-CD changer. Targeting offroad users, the other has a roof rack and a CD changer but adds a brush guard, a first-aid kit, a tool kit with a portable lamp, and an offroad suspension system.
Under the Hood
Rather than a high-torque turbo-diesel engine like that in the H1, the H2 gets a GM 6.0-liter Vortec gasoline V-8 that cranks out 316 horsepower and 360 pounds-feet of torque. The four-speed-automatic transmission incorporates a Tow-Haul mode. The Borg-Warner four-wheel-drive (4WD) system also hails from GMs light-truck stable and includes a Low range. The 4WD system provides a 40/60-percent front/rear torque split in High Open mode, which changes to 50/50 percent when the transfer-case differential is locked. Five 4WD modes are controlled electronically. A 33-1 crawl ratio is available for serious rock climbing.
Antilock brakes with traction control are standard. If necessary, the H2 can achieve traction through a single wheel. A new TC2 function provides for greater wheel slippage when operating in sand and desert conditions. The H2 comes equipped with dual front airbags, but side-impact airbags are not available.
From the cars.com 2003 Buying Guide
Posted on 10/23/02
Cars.com Expert Reviews
|Joe Wiesenfelder||Cars.com National||January 1, 2003|
|Jim Flammang||Cars.com National||April 29, 2003|
|Warren Brown||washingtonpost.com||December 8, 2002|
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|Royal Ford||Boston.com||October 13, 2002|
|Matt Nauman||TheMercuryNews.com||September 6, 2002|
|Tom Strongman||KansasCity.com||August 17, 2002|
|John O'Dell||Los Angeles Times||August 14, 2002|
|Anita And Paul Lienert||The Detroit News||June 26, 2002|
|Anita Lienert||The Detroit News||June 26, 2002|
|Jim Mateja||chicagotribune.com||June 9, 2002|
|Anita Lienert||The Detroit News||January 2, 2002|
|Tom Strongman||KansasCity.com||February 7, 2001|
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