Thursday, June 4, 2009

2009 HUMMER H2

. Thursday, June 4, 2009

2009 HUMMER H2 Vehicle Overview


Few vehicles on the road make a statement quite like the Hummer H2. Patterned after the stalwart military transport Humvee, the H2's dimensions and Tonka-like profile give it the aura of a playground bully. But as with many goliath/bully narratives, the mighty are being challenged by the meek, becoming victims of their own audacity. An uncertain future looms for the Hummer brand due to rising fuel costs, changing public opinion and dwindling sales. Despite all of this, the 2009 Hummer H2 remains the iconic, in-your-face leader of the pack. The off-road capabilities of the H2 are legendary, while its brash reputation appeals to image-conscious urbanites.

As with most of the GM lineup, the Hummer H2 shares much of its underpinnings with other models. Its rugged frame is similar to that of the previous-generation Chevrolet Tahoe, though the H2 boasts short overhangs and massive ground clearance that help bolster its off-road credentials. Underneath the hood is a robust 6.2-liter V8 that's powerful enough to motivate all of the H2's 6,600-plus pounds. Meanwhile, it's all wrapped up with bold exterior styling that still makes the H2 one of the most distinctive-looking vehicles on the road.

While these brash qualities are certainly admirable in today's politically correct world, there's no getting around the H2's obvious faults. Its bulky exterior dimensions are at odds with the cramped rear seating and limited cargo room, and its dismal fuel economy will put greedy smiles on the faces of oil execs. For daily use, SUVs like the Land Rover Range Rover, Lincoln Navigator and Mercedes-Benz GL-Class will be much more pleasing to own and offer additional cachet and prestige as well. Unless you're truly in need of something that can traverse 2-foot-deep streams, the 2009 Hummer H2 is probably one full-size luxury SUV you can pass on.

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options

The 2009 Hummer H2 is a full-size luxury SUV. Besides the generously appointed standard H2, two options packages are offered -- the H2 Adventure and H2 Luxury. Standard H2 equipment includes 17-inch alloy wheels, dual-zone automatic climate control, auxiliary rear climate control, leather seating, power front seats with driver memory, heated front and second-row seats, remote engine start, OnStar, Bluetooth and an eight-speaker Bose audio system with in-dash six-disc changer, satellite radio and an auxiliary audio jack.

The H2 Adventure package includes all standard equipment and adds more off-road might with a front brush guard, self-leveling rear air suspension, first aid kit, portable lamp and toolkit. The H2 Luxury package is geared decidedly for on-road splendor, opting for opulence over utility by foregoing the rough-and-tumble Adventure gear for 20-inch chrome wheels, chrome accents, third-row seating, a premium Bose surround-sound audio system, a navigation system with real-time traffic and a rearview camera, and a rear-seat DVD entertainment system. Those who would rather pick and choose are in luck, since most of these add-ons are available as individual options. Second-row captain's chairs are also an available option across all variants.

New for 2009 is the Black Chrome package. Limited to a production run of only 1,300, the package substitutes the bright chrome trim with black chrome as well as body color-matching wheel flares, rocker moldings and hood louver. Exclusive to the Black Chrome package is the Sedona Metallic body color and matching interior.

Powertrains and Performance

Pushing the 2009 Hummer H2 down the road is a 6.2-liter V8 producing 393 horsepower and 415 pound-feet of torque. Power passes through a six-speed automatic transmission with manual shift control on its way to turning all four wheels. When the pavement runs out, the H2 conquers the wilderness with the help of a dual-range transfer case, electronically controlled throttle calibrated for the low range and driver-selectable rear differential locker. For those expecting to haul more than the Hummer can store internally, towing capacity maxes out at 8,200 pounds.

Because the H2 has a GVWR (gross vehicle weight rating) of more than 8,500 pounds, the EPA does not provide fuel economy estimates. Obviously, your fuel card is going to take a hit when it comes time to fill up the 32-gallon tank.


Standard H2 safety equipment includes antilock disc brakes with brake assist, stability control with rollover prevention, traction control and full-length side curtain airbags. OnStar is also included with emergency communications and turn-by-turn navigation.

Interior Design and Special Features

The H2's interior, updated last model year, is furnished with surfaces that are soft to the touch and clearly superior to the hard plastics found in lesser cabins. The H2's passenger capacity now ranges from four to seven thanks to this year's newly optional second-row captain's chairs. Rear-seat accommodations include climate control and an optional entertainment system to keep passengers cool, comfortable and occupied. Despite an exterior that gives the impression of an echo-inducing cabin, interior space is surprisingly modest. Rear legroom is limited for taller passengers and the optional third-row seat is less roomy than a Toyota RAV4's. Meanwhile, the 86.6 cubic feet of cargo space is smaller than other full-size luxury SUVs.

Driving Impressions

The 2009 Hummer H2 excels off-road with its lofty ground clearance, steep angles of approach and departure, long suspension travel and tenacious tire grip. Among luxury SUVs the H2 is quite literally the off-road king of the hill. Back on city pavement, however, the H2's demeanor is a bit like an overloaded rolling suitcase in a crowded hallway being pushed by an NFL linebacker -- unwieldy and awkward, but its massive proportions are enough to intimidate its way past nearly anything else. Despite its size and mass of 6,614 pounds, it should reach 60 mph in less than 10 seconds. It's no sloth, and like the aforementioned linebacker, it's doubtful anyone would be challenging the hefty H2.