2006 H3 SUV New Car Test Drive
The 2006 Hummer H3 is an all-new, mid-sized, five-passenger sport utility vehicle that carries the military-inspired design cues and amazing off-road capabilities of the Hummer H1 and H2, but puts them in a smaller, more affordable package. The H3 provides the level of equipment that luxury-vehicle buyers expect, even though this Hummer's base price is less than $30,000.
In an era of high gasoline prices, the appeal of the Hummer H3 is increased by its fuel economy ratings. While its larger siblings average only 10 or 12 miles per gallon, the H3 is rated at 20 miles per gallon on the highway with its standard five-speed manual transmission or 19 mpg when equipped with an optional four-speed automatic. Both transmissions are rated at 16 mpg in city driving.
The H3 draws its power from a 3.5-liter, inline five-cylinder engine that generates 220 horsepower, which we found a sufficient output to accelerate this vehicle smartly up to freeway speeds.
The H3 delivers serious off-road capability. But it also offers comfortable and quiet performance on the highway and is as capable at squeezing into tight parking spaces as it is picking its way over boulders on The Rubicon Trail. It's an impressive balance. And the pricing is compelling. Many H3 buyers will want the Luxury Package with its leather seats and upgraded audio system, the automatic transmission and electronic stability control technology. Even with side-curtain airbags and satellite radio you're looking at a vehicle that retails for less than $35,000.
The 2006 Hummer H3 comes as one model ($29,500). Two major option packages are available that allow a buyer to focus on more luxury or on serious off-roading.
The base price includes cloth-covered seating for five with manual lumbar adjustment for the front seats and a second-row seat that is split 60/40 and can be folded down to expand the cargo floor. Also standard are a tilt-adjustable steering column, power windows and locks, remote keyless entry, an audio system with a CD player, cruise control, air conditioning, an electronic rearview mirror with temperature and compass readings and a year's subscription of the OnStar telematics system. Also standard: 265/75R16 Goodyear all-terrain tires mounted on 16-inch wheels, a full-size spare tire, daytime running lights, fog lights.
Safety features that come standard include antilock brakes (ABS), traction control, frontal and side-impact airbags (torso protection) for the driver and front-seat passenger, and a tire-pressure monitoring system. Side airbag curtains ($395) are optional and we recommend them for the head protection they can provide to you and your passengers in the event of a side impact or rollover.
Leather seating with seat heaters and power adjustments for both front seats and a leather-wrapped steering wheel are included in the Luxury package ($3,125), which also includes a Monsoon audio system with an in-dash six-CD changer, upgraded sun visors with extenders and special floor mats.
The Adventure package ($1,025) includes a rear-locking differential and high-ratio transfer case for enhanced off-road traction, unique 33-inch, 285/75 BFGoodrich off-road tires and special front and rear floor mats. The off-road suspension setup can be added to the Luxury package for $925.
Stand-alone options include a four-speed automatic transmission ($1,625) that comes with StabiliTrak anti-spin technology, a navigation system ($1,995), XM Satellite Radio ($325), the Monsoon audio system with single CD player ($695), a power sunroof ($800), a chrome appearance package ($850), towing equipment ($150), chromed wheels ($800), an underbody protection package ($385) and roof-mounted off-road lamps ($590). Hummer dealers offer many additional accessories, including a brush guard ($680) and chrome gas cap ($185).