Some might think 220 horsepower isn't enough for a mid-size
sport utility vehicle that weighs 4700 pounds, but we did
two stints at the wheel of the Hummer H3, one in increasingly
inclement and icy weather, and found the powertrain more
than adequate, whether we were just driving around town,
cruising at speed with left-lane traffic on the Interstate
or crawling our way over big boulders on a very difficult
Like other Hummers, the H3 was built not for its
zero-to-60 mph acceleration time but for its ability to
climb 60 percent (31-degree) grades, to handle 40 percent
side slopes, and to ford 24 inches of water. But the Hummer
H3 isn't at all sluggish when you enter a freeway on ramp
and the engine emits a nice growl as you accelerate to the
The capabilities engineered into the H3 for off-roading
also are beneficial in city
driving, and especially in parking, where the tight steering
and 37-foot turning circle combine to make parking, even
parallel parking, a simple maneuver.
We were concerned that the upright windshield might
impede the view of stoplights that hang above an intersection,
but we experienced no such problem. But we did like the
secure feeling you get driving or riding in a vehicle that
gives you the sensation of being in a rolling fortress.
A suspension system designed to deal with extreme hazards
of off-road driving improves on-road performance as well,
whether it's in the way the traction-control operates on
slippery surfaces or the way the shock absorbers and secondary
jounce bumpers make smooth work of potholes in the pavement.
Engaging low range readjusts the computer mapping to
provide the slower
throttle progression needed for safely stepping over boulders
and other obstacles; low range also changes shift points
in the automatic transmission to allow for higher torque
in lower gears and linear rather than snappy shifts.
We were amazed how the stock Hummer H3 tackled a
trail normally reserved for modified off-road vehicles.
General Motors says its engineers and designers created
the H3 to have best-in-class off-road ability. Our experience
indicates that they achieved their goal. The H3 is an authentic