AutoTest - 2003 HUMMER H2.

Discussion in 'OT Driven' started by TriShield, Aug 28, 2003.

  1. TriShield

    TriShield Super Moderator® Staff Member

    Jul 6, 2001
    Likes Received:

    Humming a smooth tune: H2 can coexist even with Porsches


    You have to be a true Hummer fanatic to appreciate these unique vehicles. But it’s easier to be a Hummer fan since the arrival of the H2, which is much more civilian-like compared to its older, H1 sibling.

    Sporty-like, however, the H2 isn’t. Yet to our surprise a few H2 owners who contacted us were also Porsche car owners. These Porschephiles liked the H2, despite, or perhaps because of, their two vehicles’ contradictory driving experiences.

    A big attraction of the H2 driving experience, according to owners and staffers, is feeling unconquerable on the road. They also noted its grunt-work ability, including towing one reader’s race car, and off-roading, which AW’s hunter/outdoorsman did extensively. He was impressed enough to say H2 matches up in the rough with much-higher-priced Range Rovers. Furthermore, the H2 provides fun, and not just because you always get noticed. For cheap thrills, one staffer blasted through empty, flooded streets near his home. That same staffer observed, “It’s hard to drive this thing and not feel like the big bully on the block. It’s part of the H2’s appeal.”

    Another staffer asserted “GM has done a great job in keeping the personality of the original, from the giant tow hooks to the huge tires to the almost upright windshield (which only looks flat; it’s slightly curved). And inside, the flavor is serious off-roader too, with the ability to lock differentials and engage a real low range, and all the purposeful vents and grab handles.”

    Your second impression of the H2 (your first impression being the exterior’s size and rugged looks) comes as you climb high into the driver’s seat, where a rather industrial-looking interior greets you. That’s not to say it’s uncomfortable. The seats are fine and the controls are big and easy to find. Among the efforts to make the inside look more Rambo-rugged are the shifter, which one staffer said “is supposed to look milled from billet aluminum, but feels and sounds like the plastic it is,” and exposed bolt heads in the dashboard. For such a massive vehicle, interior storage space is small (the 17-inch spare tire in the back doesn’t help).

    Driving the H2 feels similar to other big GM trucks in that it’s smooth and the V8 provides decent power. But parking and changing lanes are much more difficult, and one driver called the H2 a “rolling blind spot.” The mass of this 6400-pound, aerodynamically challenged vehicle hinders acceleration beginning at about 70 mph.

    In our track testing at windy California Speedway (with the nearby airport reporting 40-mph winds), one of our testers said, “The H2 truly exemplifies the old stereotype of ‘having the aerodynamics of a brick.’” We had to perform brake testing downwind because in headwinds we couldn’t reach 80 mph in the space available (about a half-mile). All of our drag strip runs were downwind too, thus taking advantage of the added push.

    With the wind at its back, H2 did 0 to 60 mph in 9.73 seconds, 0.44 second slower than a similar, large shoe box-shaped vehicle we recently tested, the Ford Expedition (May 12). Being nearly 1000 pounds heavier, the H2 trailed the Expedition in all performance tests. In the quarter-mile, for example, H2 was 0.26 second behind the Ford. And on the 200-foot skidpad the H2 posted 0.64 g, vs. the 0.72 g of the Expedition.

    Observing the H2 running the skidpad, you could see clouds of rubber dust coming from the BFGoodrich All-Terrain T/As. At that point one of the testers said, “This has to be the epitome of inappropriate design for any on-road vehicle.”

    Yes, if its performance results are a report card, the mighty H2 would be afraid to bring it home. But so what? The H2 is about off-roading, heavy lifting and fun. For those categories, owners give it high grades.




    GM has done an outstanding job with the H2. I have taken it off-road on severe terrain and it performs as one would expect a Hummer to, yet it is as comfortable on the road as a Navigator or Escalade. There are, however, a few build quality and electrical gremlins that have cropped up, but I would still buy another. -Ryan Deady, San Diego

    I love driving the H2 and am glad I bought one even though there are many areas that could use improvement. Power is one area that could use some attention. I’ve added a performance chip, an intake and exhaust, but my Dodge diesel will still run circles around the H2 without much effort. GM should offer the diesel engine from its trucks, which would also solve the bad gas mileage. Space utilization could also be better, especially in such a large vehicle, the back seats are cramped and too upright, and the tires are average at best in the snow. But the H2 has the tough truck image and gets gawked at everywhere I go. Even with all these flaws—which a $50,000 truck shouldn’t have—I still enjoy it. -George Stauffer, Blue Mounds, Wis.

    Introverts and undercover agents need not apply. At more than 6000 pounds, the 12.3 mpg is probably not bad. I have 14,000 miles on the odometer and have had no problems whatsoever. The headlights had to be adjusted, and for some reason the front door will not stay open. Otherwise the build quality is excellent. It could use a diesel and XL option. More torque, gas mileage and interior space would make it even better. -Tom Wareham, Lorton, Va.

    I love this Hummer! Prior to this I owned 911 Porsches. It handles excellently, the power is there, it is tight, and it gets as many looks as the Porsche did, if not more. The only other SUV I considered was the BMW X5 4.6is, but that would not do well off-road and I do take my Hummer off-road. -Dan Alustiza, Kennedyville, Md.



    As tested: $54,780
    Owners paid; average: $49,750 to $55,850; $53,494

    Body-on-frame four-door sport/utility vehicle

    Wheelbase (in): 122.8
    Track (in): 69.4 front, 69.4 rear
    Length/width/height (in): 189.8/81.2/77.8
    Curb weight/GVWR (lbs): 6400/8600

    Fuel (gal): 32
    Cargo (cu ft): 86.6
    Towing (lbs): 7000

    Front-longitudinal 6.0-liter/364-cid ohv V8
    Horsepower: 316 @ 5200 rpm
    Torque (lb-ft): 360 @ 4000 rpm

    Compression ratio: 9.4:1
    Fuel requirement: 87 octane

    Four-wheel drive
    Transmission: Four-speed automatic
    Final drive ratio: 4.10:1

    Front: Torsion bars with gas-charged
    shock absorbers and antiroll bar
    Rear: Five-link trailing arm with variable-rate
    coil springs (or self-leveling air springs), gas-charged shock absorbers and antiroll bar

    Discs front and rear, ABS
    Aluminum 315/70R-17 BFGoodrich All-Terrain T/A

    0-60 mph: 9.73 sec
    0-100 km/h (62.1 mph): 10.43 sec
    0-quarter-mile (81.2 mph): 17.22 sec

    20-40 mph (first gear): 3.1 sec
    40-60 mph (second gear): 5.9 sec
    60-80 mph (second and third gear): 11.3 sec

    60 mph-0: 156 ft

    490-foot slalom: 34.3 mph
    Lateral acceleration (200-foot skidpad): 0.64 g

    Idle: 45
    Full throttle: 76
    Steady 60 mph: 66

    EPA combined: n/a
    AW overall: 11.29 mpg




Share This Page