The embargo was set to expire tomorrow, but
The HUMMER H2's position as the preferred piñata of alarmist environmentalists will be further solidified next week at the New York International Auto Show when GM's Jeep-hunting division pulls the wraps off the revised 2008 edition of the big SUV. From the outside, the changes are very subtle. The H2's grillework now incorporates larger openings for better breathing, and the lower bumpers are now painted silver instead of being left black. To the average person, these changes won't even be noticed. The major upgrades to the '08 H2 are inside and under the skin.
Read all about them after the jump.
2008 HUMMER H2 interior
Open the door and one thing is immediately apparent: the cheesy, ridiculous and very dated-looking old interior is history. Good riddance. It's been replaced by an updated cabin environment that shows that the "new GM's" attention to vehicles' interior spaces extends to the gigunda ute. Thank God. Gone are the massive round heating and cooling vents. Ditto for the delivery-truck-grade steering wheel, instrument cluster and super-80s-GM-look center stack. Proper blue backlit gauges dressed up with chrome bezels stare back at the driver, who now grasps a steering wheel out of the GMT900 parts pin, while sitting in a completely redesigned seat. The reorganized center stack incorporates an analog clock, and the available navigation system and new HVAC controls are the same ones we saw in the Cadillac SRX we tested. The heater vents are all square (yay!) and aluminum-look trim adorns the stack and the vent surrounds at either ens of the dashboard. second row occupants get their own climate/audio controls, as well as heated seats. GM also says there's a proper third row, but we won't know if it's suitable for non-amputees or children until we plant our butts in them at the Javits Center. Features like a rearview camera are now optional as well.
6.2L V8: 393 hp/415 lb-ft
The new accommodations are coupled with an increase in underhood grunt. Pop the hood on the new H2 and you'll be greeted by the same 6.2L all-aluminum V8 used in the Cadillac Escalade and GMC Yukon Denali. In the H2, it's tuned to dish out 393 horsepower and 415 lb-ft of torque. In terms of power, this slots it above the Denali and below the 'Slade, and just as with the GMT900s, the H2 now channels that power through GM's 6L80 six-speed automatic with tapshift. Towing capacity grows from 6,500 to 8,000 pounds, and a new intake and exhaust are said to make the driving experience quieter. Based on our experience with the Escalade, something tells us that the H2's exhaust will still emit a very satisfying burble at idle, despite the new plumbing.
Safety features include now-standard roof rail curtain airbags for the second and third rows, standard stability control, traction control, panic brake assistance that helps maximize the effect of the stoppers in an emergency situation. The H2's the first GM truck to get this, and we expect that it'll ultimately be featured on all the other big vehicles as well. Oh, and everything we just told you applies to the H2 SUT as well.
Whether you love or hate the H2, there's no denying this: for 2008, it just got a whole lot better.
Complete details in the press release below.
2008 HUMMER H2 DELIVERS GREATER CAPABILITY AND COMFORT, RETAINS ICONIC DESIGN
- All-new interior features refined, premium appointments, all-new instrument panel and all-new, more comfortable seats with a full third row
- New standard safety features include new electronic stability control system with rollover mitigation technology, panic brake assist and roof rail head curtain side air bags with rollover sensing system
- All-new 6.2L V-8 and six-speed automatic combination delivers more power and efficiency
- Towing capacity increased to 8,000 pounds (3,629 kg)
"The 2008 HUMMER H2 represents a major step in the evolution of this iconic vehicle," said Martin Walsh, HUMMER general manager. "From performance to comfort to safety and overall refinement, the new H2 lineup delivers more of what customers expect from HUMMER; they will be especially impressed with the new, more refined interior."
HUMMER revealed the 2008 H2 at the New York Auto Show. The powertrain, interior and exterior changes also are included on the H2 SUT. The '08 H2 and H2 SUT go on sale later this year.
The new powertrain combination consists of a 6.2L all-aluminum small-block V-8 engine, rated at 393 horsepower (293 kW)* – an increase of about 20 percent over the previous engine – and a Hydra-Matic 6L80 six-speed automatic transmission. Performance-optimizing engine technologies, such as variable valve timing, and the six-speed's wide gear ratios, including a "tall" overdrive gear, enable the improved performance and efficiency over previous models.
"This is one of those rare instances where enhanced performance is matched with improved efficiency," said Walsh. "More power in the H2 helps make highway maneuvers, such as entering from a freeway on-ramp, feel effortless while simultaneously bolstering towing capability."
All-new, luxury-appointed interior
While drivers will feel the '08 H2's improved performance on the road, they'll appreciate it more while experiencing it in the all-new interior. It features a completely redesigned instrument panel, new seats – including a full third-row seat for two passengers– new door trim panels, new controls, new rear-seat heating/air conditioning system, new rear-seat overhead DVD entertainment system and a new family of premium radios.
"The new interior delivers a refined, premium feel while maintaining HUMMER's trademark ruggedness," said Dennis Burke, interior designer. "Everything from the flushness of the controls to the feel of the materials exudes craftsmanship in the H2's new interior, while the fine details, like leather seat piping, create a consistent, premium interior design style across the entire HUMMER family."
Seats in the H2 have a new, chiseled appearance and offer improved comfort. In fact, HUMMER engineers focused on every detail to improve interior comfort. For example, the front seat safety belts are now mounted to the vehicle's B-pillars rather than to the seats themselves. This change enabled engineers uncompromised comfort tuning for the seats. Front seat safety belt pretensioners are new, too, and are standard.
Complementing the new seats are new door trim panels and an all-new instrument panel and six-gauge instrument cluster that features a more refined appearance and better tolerances. In fact, the new interior is designed with interior gap tolerances of one millimeter or less. Soft-touch materials and new, more tactile controls enhance the feeling of craftsmanship. A new center stack houses the climate controls and a new family of GM radios – including a standard premium Bose audio system and an available surround sound system. The instrument panel also features new vents that enhance heating or cooling comfort throughout the vehicle – particularly for the second- and third-row seats.
Numerous available comfort and convenience features are either new or carried over into the '08 H2, such as a new rear-seat overhead DVD entertainment system, a navigation system, a rear-view camera system and heated windshield washer fluid. OnStar and XM Satellite Radio are standard.
The '08 H2 also offers a remote starting system that enables the vehicle's interior to be heated or cooled prior to driving.
The heart of the '08 H2 is a new, 6.2L V-8 engine that uses variable valve timing technology to maximize performance and fuel efficiency. It is rated at 393 horsepower (293 kW)* and 415 lb.-ft. of torque (574 Nm)*. The engine also features lightweight materials, including an aluminum cylinder block, which helps reduce the vehicle's overall mass.
The 6.2L V-8's technologically advanced features also help it meet new federal emissions standards a year before mandatory implementation.
A new six-speed Hydra-Matic 6L80 RWD electronically controlled automatic transmission backs the 6.2L engine. The six-speed automatic has a wide, 6.04: 1 overall ratio – including two overdrive gears – that helps deliver an excellent balance of performance and fuel economy. Also, the 6L80 has a "tap up/tap down" capability that allows the driver to manually select upshifts and downshifts with a button on the column shifter.
The new powertrain combination helps the 2008 H2 and H2 SUT deliver an additional 1,500 pounds (680 kg) in towing capacity – an increase from 6,500 pounds (2,948 kg) to 8,000 pounds (3,629 kg). A host of additional powertrain revisions also contributes to the H2's improved performance and efficiency, including:
• Larger-capacity cooling system complements larger, more powerful engine
• Electric engine cooling fans reduce "drag" on engine, enabling more horsepower
• Regulated voltage control maximizes fuel economy by charging electrical components only when necessary
• New LAN electrical architecture is more efficient and uses less electrical energy
• Standard 3.73 rear axle ratio
Off-road acumen also was enhanced with the new powertrain system. The 6L80 transmission's tap up/tap down feature provides more control on grades and it offers automatic grade braking. It also improves the off-road crawl ratio to approximately 39:1 – an improvement of about 20 percent.
The transfer case is improved in the '08 H2; it is stronger with improved performance. A new traction control system also is standard, which helps ensure sure-footed traction in most driving conditions.
Driving performance off the road or on is enhanced by a revised steering gear that has a quicker ratio and improved on-center returnability. The driving experience also is quieter and more refined, thanks to new, tuned air intake and exhaust systems.
Complementing the H2 lineup's performance and comfort changes are enhancements to the safety system. They include several new standard features:
• Roof rail head curtain side air bags for first-, second- and third-row passengers with rollover sensing system
• Safety belt pretensioners (first-row seats)
• Electronic stability control system with rollover mitigation technology
• New traction control system
• Tire pressure monitoring system
Also new is a panic brake assist feature – the first application for a full-size GM truck or SUV – which detects emergency braking situations and maintains maximum brake pressure to help stop the vehicle more quickly and with more control. It is a standard feature on all H2 models. Also, the standard OnStar system now offers the optional Turn-By-Turn navigation system. Additional optional features that contribute to a safer driving experience include HUMMER's Rear Vision System – a rearview camera system – and a navigation system.
All 2008 H2 models are distinguished from previous models with functional changes that maintain HUMMER's instantly recognizable design identify. The iconic, seven-slot grille features larger openings and the lower grille also is enlarged, accommodating the cooling needs of the more powerful 6.2L V-8 engines. The lower bumpers on '08 models are painted silver (previous models had black lower bumpers).
The soul of a HUMMER
While the '08 H2 is offered with a new powertrain and interior, its foundation remains the same: a fully welded ladder-type frame that features a modular, three-piece design incorporating a number of hydroformed components. This design delivers outstanding strength, stiffness and dimensional accuracy.
The H2 has short overhangs for radical approach and departure angles, and exceptional ground clearance for minimal impact on trails. Standard 17-inch wheels, heavy-duty independent front suspension and a five-link rear suspension provide superior handling, carrying and towing capability. The solid rear axle ensures durable sure-footedness, particularly in tight, off-road situations. Also standard is underbody protection and rocker protection. These elements help the H2 deliver on HUMMER's mantra of capability, including traveling through streams 24 inches (508 mm) deep, climbing 16-inch (406-mm) steps and rocks and paddling through deep sand or snow.
A new, four-channel anti-lock braking/traction control system (ABS/TCS) provides optimum control on slippery surfaces. In addition, the ABS can detect and adjust its braking capabilities to rough off-road surfaces like gravel and potholes. The TCS also includes the ability to gain traction through a single wheel, if necessary, and more wheel slip in a second traction control mode for sand and desert racing conditions.
A self-leveling rear air spring suspension system is available for extreme off-road and towing requirements.
H2 SUT – maximum utility and fun
Like the H2, the H2 SUT carries passengers and cargo, but does so with a twist: an open cargo bed enables convenient storage of larger items. When cargo requires more space, a 4-foot by 6-foot (122-cm by 244-cm) pickup bed can be created by powering the rear window into the Midgate, then folding forward the Midgate and rear seat. With four passengers on board, the bulkhead at the rear of the SUT's passenger compartment remains upright, still providing ample cargo-carrying capacity.
Practicality aside, the H2 SUT also offers an open, invigorating driving experience. At the push of a single button, the driver can lower all four side windows and the rear window. Using a separate switch, the standard sunroof can also be opened, giving SUT a truly open-air feeling.
*Pending SAE certification.