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Up to now, the interior of the HUMMER H2 could be pointed to as a case study in how to make a vehicle interior as cheap-looking as possible. The salt in the wound, of course, is that such crap was attached to a vehicle costing north of $50,000.

Well, that's over, thank goodness. The 2008 HUMMER H2 gets a spiffy new powertrain in the 6.2L V8 with a 6-speed automatic sourced from the Cadillac Escalade, but the real story is the gigunda SUV's 100% improved passenger cabin. The '08 on the floor at the New York Auto Show is an orange H2 SUT, and when you open the door to look inside, the first thing you think is, "Why didn't it look like this in the first place?"

New, comfortable leather seats are the perches from which driver and passenger gaze upon an all-new instrument panel featuring clean, readable, chrome-ringed gauges, and a proper center stack that uses the General's top-shelf parts bin audio and HVAC controls. HUMMER product director Ross Hendrix takes great pride in the new analog clock installed in the middle of the dash. Costing an unbelievable $26 per vehicle, the clock was something he said he had to fight tooth-and-nail for. But Hendrix is an effective advocate for his brand, and he won in the end. Thought by some at GM to be "too Escalade" for the HUMMER, the clock in the H2 is, unlike the Cadillac's stylized time-teller, actually readable. The 2008 H2's dash covering and door panel tops are also made of soft-touch plastic that has a notable "give" to it when you press down. In short: much, much better. If you visit the show, compare the '08 to the red '07 H2 parked nearby, and we think you'll be in full agreement.


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