• Aug 8, 2008
Click above for hi-res gallery of the HUMMER H3T

If HUMMER had a theme song, it'd probably be the Allman Brothers' Whipping Post -- the one that goes "Sometimes I feel, sometimes I feel, like I been tied to the whipping post..." The brand has been the go-to effigy when something needs to burn on the altar of eco desecration. But HUMMER doesn't have a theme song, it has the tagline "Like No Other." It also has a new pick-em-up truck we had the chance to drive recently in the High Sierras: the H3T. Follow the jump to find out if it's another HUMMER like no other, and check out the gallery of hi-res images below.



Before we get into the truck, we'll spare a few more words for the HUMMER brand itself. GM is openly considering selling it to companies from China and India, is in talks with dealers about an amicable breakup, and is amenable to turning the brand's lights off and sending everyone home. In July, HUMMER's sales were down 65-percent. This year, HUMMER sales are down 30.7. Apparently, in the rest of the world, nymphs swim in rivers of milk and honey, gas prices are up to two songs and a dance, and the lure of the big chrome H is still strong. And GM is hoping it that lure will be even stronger with the H3T.




The H3T is square in the mid-size truck range -- a little longer than a Chevrolet Colorado and a little shorter than a Dodge Dakota. From the B-pillar forward it's an H3 and has the same I-5 and V8 engines. An instant advantage over the H3 is the full-size rear door, meaning no highly attentive sideways entries are required to get behind the front seats. It's got plenty roomy, but although HUMMER says the rear bench is good for three people, we wouldn't want to be the guy in the middle for a long haul.

But underneath and out back, it is its own beast. It has a bedliner with built in storage and a highly flexible cargo management system built right in. There are four underbody skid shields. Standard equipment also includes Hill Start Assist, Traction Control, Electronic Stability Control, three recovery hooks, and Bluetooth connectivity.



The 5-cylinder H3T will run you $30,750, with the Alpha version going for about $5K more. Throw down for the Adventure Package at an additional $2,570, and you get a 4:03:01 transfer case, electric front and rear locking differentials, tuned shocks out back, and 33-inch Bridgestone tires. There's a Luxury Package for the 5-cylinder that gets you the leather goodies and stereo from the Alpha, and there's an X package that adds chrome and shiny bits, too.



If you're thinking of buying a HUMMER then you should be thinking about gas mileage. We'll fill you in: the I-5 is EPA-rated at 14/18 and the V8 is rated 13/16. Both vehicles have a combined rating of 16 mpg, which is the same as the Wrangler, Commander, Touareg, and Tacoma.

For the first time you also can get the H3 Alpha with a cloth interior. However, the cloth is applied to the bolsters. The center seating panels are a mesh-like material, which looks good and is damn comfy. And despite the heat, we never stuck to it.



HUMMER's quirky rear-view camera no longer slides out of the mirror housing. The camera image now shows up directly on the left side of the mirror face itself. We only had a look at it once, and in bright light it could take a second to orient your eyes to the lack of contrast, but for our money it's a much more graceful arrangement than the previous pop-out version. The rear-vision camera is a $550 option... after you buy the tow package, which is a $420 option.

We started off in the 5-cylinder manual. On city streets and highways, the truck is fine. As has been said often enough, it doesn't have a lot of power – I think "anemic" has been hurled at it once or twice – but once up to speed, there's nothing wrong with it.



On the flats, at least. Head up a steep incline, as we did making our way up to the trailhead, and the engine turns into that guy at the gym whose moaning lets everyone know how hard he's working. We were told that the sweet spot for power is about 4,500 RPM, but by the time you get up there, engine noise is filling the cabin. It wasn't awful – and in fact, by the end of the day we still would have stumped for the 5-cylinder – but a well placed turbo would do wonders for it. HUMMER says it can tow 4,400 pounds, but we don't even want to imagine what that would be like.



Once at the trailhead, things got better. The folks in charge said they picked out a tight technical trail at the upper end of the amateur level. Every fourth boulder had been tagged by some unfortunate underbody or defaced with rubber tread graffiti, and nearly every tree had sacrificed a pound of bark to other trucks' grille guards and mirrors.

When not trying to drag itself up steep hills, the 5-cylinder is AOK. The truck has plenty of power to get up and over rocks, aided by those 33-inch Adventure Package tires. The electronic locking front diff, which was called into use a couple of times, was effective at getting the truck over or through anything on the trail. Even when we picked the wrong line, there was an occasional crunch on the rock guards, but the truck simply plowed on.



Speaking of plowing on, yours truly missed the part of the H3T walkaround that explained the 4:1 low gear. Our last manual off-roader was an '86 Trooper II, which was unstoppable but liked the throttle to help it get over serious stuff. Not so with the H3T. Unaware of this, we soon filled the woods with the smell of burning clutch. We'll be signing autographs at the trailhead, folks, please hold your applause.

A gentle talking to clued us in to the 4:1, and then we simply let the truck meander over the rocks on its own. It would bog on occasion, but wouldn't quit. You could apply a dash of throttle or you could let the truck tiptoe over on its own. A half mile using that technique, and we could smell nature again.



On the way back down, we swapped out for the automatic H3T Alpha, which we found was the equivalent of fire-and-forget. Put the truck in Drive, and pick a good line. Every once in a while you might put the truck in first gear, or low-range, and then go back to... letting it go. No questions. No drama. There's really not much more to say. Just stay alive. And steer.

HUMMER has made its bread and its bed by providing a certain kind of vehicle for a certain kind of person. Fill in any blanks you want. The H3T looks like a HUMMER, there's a big V8 and leather on offer, it's aimed at men, in stock form it will go nearly anywhere you point it, and there are enough accessories to make Barbie and Ken faint. If you just want a pickup truck, go somewhere else. If you want a pickup truck that says something and can do nearly anything, well, there isn't much else out there.



It's not for everyone, and, as even HUMMER will tell you, that's the point. We'll start finding out how many midsize pickup people HUMMER can get to join its party in September, when the truck arrives on dealer lots. If we were invited, we'd still take the 5-cylinder manual, give it a little under-the-hood help, and be on our way.


Travel and lodging for this review was provided by the automaker.


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  • 29 Comments
      • 6 Years Ago
      had this come out in the 1998 era, I thinkHummer would have been very happy.

      the US market right now is not going to take well to this, but I can see plenty of thrid world coutries where this would be the vehicle of choice, and not for fun (how people in the US tend to use it, ala rock climbing, etc)
        • 6 Years Ago
        If gas prices keep dropping (wheres all the $6 a gallon prediction whiners now that gas is under $4 and 3.86 average nationwide?) people have short memories and JeepHummer sales could easily rise again. Some of us just don't care.
      • 6 Years Ago
      If only the Inline5 had variable intake valve timing.

      and where is that damn 6L50 6 speed automatic.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Isn't it "Like Nothing Else" ?

      Good review. Hummers are incredible machines. Theres a new section on their website that lists a bunch of owner experiences with their vehicles. "Nightmare Gulch" is a pretty good read, check it out.
      • 6 Years Ago
      It'd be nice if they made a diesel version with some electric capabilities.

      or just dropped in the V8 from the Yukon Hybrid
      • 6 Years Ago
      "Like No Other" is trademarked by SONY and they'd sue the very last dime and more out of HUMMER if they used that tag.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Cool truck looking (only cosmetic gripe is the boring dash). If the est highway mpgs could have at least said 20, then I think people would "downgrade" to this, but it gets worse than a fullsize Chevy Silverado. The gas mileage is probably the only thing that will hurt this truck.
      • 6 Years Ago
      They needed this 5 years ago when the HELOC ATM was still turned on.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Im confused. I thought the I6 was to be the standard motor in these starting in 09, no? I would NEVER look at an H3 again with the I5, it does not cut it, regardless of any review because I owned one and thats why I no longer do. I dont mind pushing the gas pedal, i do mind constantly pushing it hard.
        • 6 Years Ago
        I'm pretty sure the I6 still will not fit in the little frame. The 3.6 DI is planned in the next 2 years and the 2.9L VM diesel might make it if Hummer stays with GM.
        I'm a little turned off by diesels for new off-roaders. The thought of bashing all that expensive emissions equipment over rocks and dunking it in the water just doesn't sit well.
        Q: why is there a damn kayak strapped to the roof of the darn thing???
      • 6 Years Ago
      Not bad at all.

      Good modest size, while still useable, good looking.

      A diesel engine with manual transmission, and I would be intrigued.

      I don't have the need for a truck enough to validate buying ANY of them new, but if someone else does, I'd probably be right there to prop up your resale value when it's used.

      An engine that is fine, except when it really needs to be used, is not fine.

      A v8 makes sense, it pulls when you need to pull, and it turns over slow at cruise, for economy.

      If it were a diesel V8 or I6, or something, it would be even better. Better torque AND better mileage.

      This product seems really cool, for the people who can use it. I really hope it isn't a day late and a dollar short. THIS is the kind of truck people who don't need full size have been looking for.

      This is what Ford should be building as the F100, not trying to handicap an additional version of the F150.

      Roof racks, cargo management built in, robust cloth interior, etc... are all right on the money, and I am sure there are more little details that could be done to make it an even more versatile vehicle.

      Trucks like this are supposed to be like swiss army knives, (Can do lots of things in a pinch, and can be carried every day.) not machetes (bigger with fewer uses, but better at those uses.)
      • 6 Years Ago
      hahahaha!
      this reminds me of all the "hd dvds" that can still be purchased.
      • 6 Years Ago
      I have been one of those self-righteous Hummer-bashers from the start but this truck actually makes sense. it looks like a giant Honda Ridgeline, and if Honda built their truck this big and capable, it may have found more buyers.Who knows? I am not an automotive analyst, just another blogger. I may very well trade my 1st gen Tundra with its off-road limitations for one of these. At the very least, I hope gets Hummer going again; Hummer, like our soldiers over there, deserve better than what they have been getting.
      • 6 Years Ago
      I like the rear view camera integrated into the mirror. The "T" versions of the Hummers look best in my opinion. (Hummer 4 Man Hardtop, H2T & H3T)
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