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2006 Hummer H2 SUT Review

Hey, Look at Me!

In short: The pick-up-style version of the controversial mega SUV.

There seem to be three schools of thought on any vehicle with the letters HUMMER emblazoned in chrome on its grille.

One, you love the Hummer H2 and couldn’t care less about all its flaws or deplorable gas mileage. You want the image, the size and the empowering feeling that comes along with everything on the road getting out of your way—except for the occasional Freightliner. Two, you consider the Hummer a scourge on the planet, uselessly taking up space and serving no real purpose other than helping to turn Antarctica into a tropical destination. You also probably think we’re ecocriminals just for testing the thing for a week. Then there are those in the middle who are simply curious about this controversial automotive icon. For most intents and purposes, this review is for you.

The H2 in question is the SUT, which stands for Sport Utility Truck, but feel free to pronounce it phonetically. With a rather limited truck bed, it utilizes the same design found on the Chevrolet Avalanche and Cadillac Escalade EXT, where the rear window and bulkhead fall forward onto the back seats creating a cavernous pass through. This does provide additional space, but the whole process requires at least two orbits of the massive beast to drop the 60/40 rear bench and a good wallop on the bulkhead to put it back in place. Also, whatever crud was sloshing around in the truck bed will end up in the passenger compartment after any abrupt stops.

But let’s be honest here, these extended-haul capabilities are realistically only going to be used for that occasional trip to Ikea. If you’re going to be routinely needing pick-up or even large-SUV space, forget the Hummer, a Ford F-150 crew cab or even an Avalanche would be far more useful. Yet, being useful really isn’t the Hummer’s forte. It’s all about the chrome, the mighty monolithic proportions, the feeling of invincibility and the surprisingly comfy interior that coddles its occupants with leather, touchscreen navigation, headrest DVD screens and other “Pimp My Ride”-friendly accoutrements.

The interior materials aren’t the best, but ergonomics are decent and you’ve gotta love the beefy airplane-throttle gear selector. Our test car’s optional navigation system isn’t the most intuitive example on the market, but its touchscreen does make it easier to program. And although you can do so while driving, it is an extremely ill-advised maneuver which, when attempted in a vehicle this gigantically wide, could result in running over a curb or the odd Miata.

Speaking of the H2’s width, driving this goliath around city streets often feels like piloting the Carnival Crown Princess down Hollywood Boulevard. At 81.2 inches wide (the departed H1 Hummer is the only vehicle wider), staying in one’s lane is often more of a guessing exercise than anything else. Its loose, lifeless steering doesn’t help matters, but all that width at least counteracts the H2’s top-heavy nature. There is surprisingly not that much body roll in turns and maneuvering this behemoth is actually not that difficult—as long as there are no tight spaces or an abundance of other cars involved.

Although the brakes certainly get the job done, the brake pedal had an irritating amount of dead pedal travel to it. The 6.0-liter, 325-horsepower V8 gets all 6,400 pounds of Hummer moving, but with a 0-60 time of around 9.5 seconds, don’t expect anything brisk. And really, if the engine were any more powerful, you’d be able to count its miles per gallon on one hand.

This brings us to the Hummer’s biggest detractor. Because of its weight, the H2 is actually considered a heavy-duty truck and doesn’t have to be tested using standard EPA testing. Regardless, its estimated fuel economy of 10 city and 13 highway is poor to say the least. If your daily driver is a Camry Hybrid, for example, then by all means, the H2 is the perfect second car for showing off on Saturday night while cruising the Sunset Strip or South Beach with friends. But when it is scientifically proven that carbon dioxide is causing global warming, and considering the H2 serves no purpose other than being a ginormous fashion accessory, it becomes very difficult to rationalize the everyday driving of one.

When the Hummer H2 was introduced, it elicited enthusiastic honks and a thumbs up. Today, it brings about the raising of a different finger. With truck sales heading south, perhaps it was simply born at the wrong time and place. In fact, the H2 would be quite a lot of fun if lanes were 50 percent wider and its guzzling V8 belched out potpourri rather than C02. But no matter which of the three schools of thought you belong to, the Hummer certainly succeeds in one area: getting attention.

Warranty/Service: 4-Year/50,000 Mile Limited Warranty; 6-year/100,000 mile corrosion protection warranty.

Base Price: $53,035 / As Tested $62,995

Technical Specifications

Performance Data

Vehicle type: front-engine, 4-wheel-drive, 5-passenger, 5-door truck

Engine: 6.0-liter V8
Horsepower: 325 bhp @ 5200 rpm
Torque: 365 lb-ft @ 4000 rpm
Transmission: 4-speed automatic

Curb weight: 6,400 lbs
Wheelbase: 122.7 in
203.6/81.2/79.2 in
Turning circle: 43.5 feet

Brakes: four-wheel disc with ABS
independent front,
live axle rear, optional automatic load leveling
traction control, locking differential

Safety: front air bags, optional rear parking assist, OnStar

0-60 mph: 9.6 seconds

Top Speed: 99 mph (governed)

Estimated city: 10 mpg
Estimated highway: 13 mpg
* Considered a heavy truck, does not comply with EPA testing

Likes: Making Suburban drivers get out of your way; design details, surprising lack of body roll; undeniably macho looks; SUT better looking than SUV

Dislikes: Feels like piloting a Carnival cruise liner; fuel economy of a Carnival cruise liner; poor rear seat headroom; limited bed space; pricey; the possible wrath of Al Gore

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Photography: AlphaMedia

(Updated: 12/15/11 NW)

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