H2 capably fills shoes of 'big Hummer' predecessor

H2 capably fills shoes of 'big Hummer' predecessor
H2 capably fills shoes of 'big Hummer' predecessor
THE FLINT JOURNAL FIRST EDITION Thursday, May 25, 2006 By James M. Miller jmiller@flintjournal.com 810.766.6318 QUICK TAKE 2006 Hummer H2 SUT

BASE PRICE: $53,035

PRICE AS TESTED: $57,800

DRIVETRAIN: Front engine,

all-wheel drive

ENGINE: 6-liter V-8

HORSEPOWER: 325

MPG: N/A

CURB WEIGHT: 6,400 pounds

BUILT: Mishawka, Ind.

Soon the H2 will be the "big Hummer," now that General Motors has said it will stop selling the H1 - the original, massive Hummer.

The H1 was never very practical, and the H2 is nearly as capable off-road as its bigger brother. In fact, if you're going to do a lot of off-roading in Michigan, the H2 and the smaller H3 can squeeze through places the wider H1 can't, without a chain saw to chop out trees and brush to widen the trails.

The H1 is the civilian version of the military Humvee, which is still in use.

The SUT (pickup) version of the H2 reminds me of the GMC Envoy XUV. The XUV is a sport-utility vehicle with a sliding panel in the rear portion of its top, to open the cargo area for carrying tall items. But how often do you take your grandfather clock out for a drive?

In addition, behind the rear seat the now-discontinued XUV has a midgate, which seems more practical than that sliding roof panel.

The SUT also has a midgate, like the one in the XUV and the Chevrolet Avalanche. The power-operated rear window slides down into the H2's midgate before it can be folded flat.

With the gate up, the rear cargo area is 47 inches wide at the floor and less than 35 inches front to back.

When you put the rear seat down and fold the midgate, the cargo area expands to about 6 feet long. If you don't need a pickup very often, this may be big enough.

But it's not as big as the Avalanche, which can take 8-foot lumber with the tailgate closed.

And while the Avalanche can be driven with the tailgate down to haul longer materials, the H2 can't because of the rear-mounted spare tire carrier, which swings out of the way for loading.

When the seat and midgate are down in the H2, it does not form a flat floor; the back side of the gate is more than 3 inches above the cargo area floor.

With the midgate up and the window down, there's an annoying wind noise at even moderate speed, something I did not notice in the Avalanches I have driven.

Hummers have a high-sided, chopped-top look. In the front seat, I had a little over 4 inches of head room; in the back seat, a little more than 3 inches.

The H2 is quiet for a big SUV and rides smoothly on the highway. The test model had auxiliary lights and a roof rack on the top, which could snag branches it you do any serious off-roading.

The big 6-liter V-8 delivers good acceleration and a towing capacity of up to 7,000 pounds. The data sheet for the H2 does not list mileage. But this is one of those times when, if you own one of these, do you really want to know?

The mileage computer shows that in mixed city and highway driving, the H2 averaged 11.7 mpg.

That's not great, but then it weighs more than 3 tons and is big and square. If a buyer is going to worry a lot about mileage, smaller vehicles are available.

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