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By Jim Flammang
August 17, 2004
Vehicle Overview A significantly different breed of Hummer arrived as a 2003 model. The H2 promises offroad capabilities similar to its big brother, the H1, but in a more manageable size. Derived from the same design as Chevrolet’s Tahoe and Suburban full-size sport utility vehicles, the H2 is 5.3 inches narrower than the H1 model. General Motors has owned the marketing rights to the Hummer brand since 1999.
Instead of seating four people like the H1, the less-costly H2 holds five and promises an easier ride and more creature comforts. A Delphi navigation radio has been added for 2004.
Late in 2004, a new SUV/pickup truck “crossover” version of the H2 debuts. The H2 SUT, which features an open cargo bed, will be a 2005 model.
Exterior Styling cues such as giant tires and side latches on the hood are similar to those on the H1. The ladder-type frame uses many hydroformed components. Underbody protection includes skid plates, a fuel-tank shield, chassis-bolted rocker panel protectors and a protective shield for the optional onboard air compressor.
The H2’s 122.8-inch wheelbase is nearly 7 inches longer than the Tahoe’s, while its body is 9 inches shorter overall. The wheels are positioned at the extreme corners, and the H2 has a 69.4-inch track width. High approach and departure angles permit driving directly into a hole and out again.
Three grille appearance packages, a bright appearance package and a trailering group are available in 2004. More than 40 accessories, including tubular assist steps, a bike carrier, roof-mounted lamps, a brush grille guard and a front winch, are offered.
Interior Five people fit inside the H2. The 60/40-split second-row seats fold down, and a folding/removable third-row seat is optional. An eight-way power seat adjustment with a memory feature for the driver’s 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 GM’s OnStar communication system are standard.
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 BorgWarner four-wheel-drive system includes a Low range. It 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 four-wheel-drive modes are controlled electronically. A 33-1 crawl ratio is available for serious rock climbing.
Safety Antilock brakes with traction control are standard. The H2 has dual front airbags, but side-impact airbags are not available.
Driving Impressions The H2 is far more civilized than the company’s H1. The newest Hummer is almost like driving a regular, yet oversized, SUV. Its handling qualities aren’t bad, and it has good steering feel and feedback.
The H2 rides more tautly than most vehicles, but it’s tolerable even for ordinary motoring. Acceleration is pretty vigorous. You need to climb up to get inside, but this SUV is pretty comfortable. Storage space includes a large console between the front seats.