2008 Hummer H2

2008 Hummer H2 2008 Hummer H2
Short Take Road Test

Over at our sister publication Tank and Turret Gunner, they are huge fans of the H2. They don’t see it as a paramilitary poseur but rather as an affordable and practical alternative to the mil-spec original Hummer, which is once again only available to the public through special order and costs nearly as much as a laser-guided bunker buster. If we were going to lay out that sort of cash on something, we’d want it to blow up our neighbor’s garage, and maybe half the block, too. Advantage: bunker buster.

Tank and Turret Gunners biggest complaint about the H2 launched for 2003 is that it is too slow. With a max payload of just under 2000 pounds, its relatively limited armor capacity means it is best suited to quick-strike and reconnaissance missions for which its 325 horsepower and correlating 10.7-second wheeze to 60 mph are simply insufficient.

“Insufficient” is not a word taken lightly by a company proud of the H1’s 16 inches of ground clearance, 60-percent grade capability, and Central Tire Inflation System that allows on-the-fly pressure adjustments for optimized traction over any surface. A brief rummage through GM’s closet turned up the 6.2-liter V-8 also found in the Cadillac Escalade and GMC Sierra Denali. Why not?

Higher-Caliber Weaponry

Even in a vehicle weighing 6620 pounds, the now-standard 6.2-liter’s 393 horsepower and 415 pound-feet make for reasonable quickness. With a six-speed automatic replacing the old four-speed, the 2008 H2 will zip in and out of strip-mall battlegrounds faster than you can sing “Oh, beautiful for unwav’ring might and viral jingoism.” We recorded 0-to-60 mph in 7.1 ticks, an improvement of 3.6 seconds over the ’03 H2. The quarter-mile arrives in 15.7 seconds at 88 mph, a trip during which you’ll be serenaded by the bellowing V-8, which sounds fantastic even over the torrents of wind noise generated by the H2’s flat, upright windshield.

More important than quickness is the tremendous improvement to highway behavior with the additional power and gears. The old drivetrain struggled against the H2’s weight, not to mention aerodynamics that approximate those of MC Hammer’s parachute pants. At highway speeds, any grade or application of the throttle would necessitate a lurching downshift accompanied by much frenzied intake whoosh. With more power and refinement from the engine and two more cogs in the automatic, the need to downshift is greatly reduced, and what shifts remain necessary are much smoother. Also welcome on the highway is a revised steering gear that endows the H2 with a semblance of on-center feel.

The six-speed has a manual mode controlled by buttons on the steering wheel, but we can’t figure out why anyone would need it. We might have used it during an ice race we planned to attend, but the session was canceled when the weather got warm enough to raise concerns about the thickness of the ice. True, the H2 might have broken through regardless of temperature and ice thickness, but we wanted to see if the 315/70-17 BFGoodrich tires would keep us afloat. Now we’ll never know.