2005 Hummer H2 SUT (Sport Utility Truck) (516)

Overview:
This week I tested the 2005 Hummer H2 SUT (for Sport Utility Truck). Ok, so I make a big thing about excessive use of fossil fuels. But it is so cool to be decadent and irreverently suck up more than ones share of gas. And because the Hummer owner is not swayed much by the price of gas at the pump, any alluding to being responsible goes right over their head.

When you step into the Hummer, you are captivated by the immensity of the machine. You get the sense you are in a “Bunker” of WWII vintage where you are peering out of narrow windows. It makes an unforgettable statement in its dominant road presence because of its shear size and weight (6500 pounds). So is that why people put up half a hundred thousand dollars to own one?

This H2 is a look-alike of the original Hummer (H1 if you wish) that made a name for itself in the Desert Storm war in Kuwait. Most will know that, but more will equate the Hummer image with Rambo behind the wheel fighting the good (Hollywood) fight. But this is the powder puff, citified version that is more comfortable on Beverly Hills’ Rodeo Drive where the tough go shopping.

The original as you may recall was acro-named (hey, a new word) HMMWV or Humvee, and stands for High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle. I wonder if this madness will continue in sequels like the Hollywood movies that made the Humvee so popular. There likely will be an H3 and who knows past that. With sagging sales and production of 34,000 units in 2003 model year, and even less in 2004, sales will dictate the future. Gas prices are sure to play a role even more since not everyone will want to pay the prices and get 10 miles per gallon. H3 however is planned for 2005 and so we’ll see.

And I wonder how sales will be affected by the changes in world terrorism. Will there be an increased demand for this wartime vehicle? Will optional equipment include a 50-caliber machine gun? Will they put rifle racks inside? If they do all that, I’ll buy one. That adds a whole new dimension self defense against terrorists or simple “Road Rage”. You can bet you’d be treated with some respect. Boy I already miss Rodney Dangerfield.

General Info:

Parts –  USA

Assembly – USA

Class:  – Special purpose SUV / Truck

Cars:  – Hummer H1 and H2

Handling & Performance:

The ride is remarkably comfortable and smooth. The power is even more surprising. This huge hunk just shouldn’t be so responsive. And it is an odd feeling to look down at the speedometer and find you are doing 65 while the feel is that you are only traveling at about 40 mph. You won’t want to buy one to zip around town in a snappy way or run up to the store for a quart of milk. It fills the lanes and more than fills a parking space in most malls. You really need to take two spaces. Parallel parking is a challenge for many and impossible for others, especially if they find themselves behind the wheel of a Hummer.

Styling:

Although it is a Powder Puff version of the serious military machine, it is still equipped for serious off road use. That means it will ford a river four feet deep and not reach the air intake high on the hood. Such functional things make a style statement apart from any ordinary or even extraordinary SUV. Land Rover is the image of off road capability from the bloody Brits. But this Hummer is uniquely Americana. It is what we’re all about. Rebels with or without a cause. We have always had that pioneer spirit. We not only want to be different, we ARE different.

Standard design includes a tan interior but black is optional, and in my opinion black is more attractive and also more practical for a SUV / Truck.

Fit and Finish:

Smoothly rugged but generally better than it needs to be for the image.

Cost:

50 odd thousand is not really all that bad, considering you’d pay about $40,000 for a Jeep Grand Cherokee with none of the flamboyance.

Conveniences:

Just enough for a Beverly Hills celebrity and too much for transportation in the “Out Back”. But it is a truck, of sorts, and you can put the rear seat down and much like the Chevrolet Avalanche you can extend the small rear truck bed space – 4 by 2.9 feet to provide a 6 foot long bed.

Consumer Recommendation:

If you are looking for a third car for the hell of it, this is one fun experience to drive. I’ve tested several beginning with the original Hummer and if you want the real thing you’ll have to pay twice the money for even more inconvenience. Consider another impracticality of the Hummer for off road use. Until you are out there, most people don’t realize that most dirt roads are not wide enough for this H2 to pass through, and forget the H1 if there are trees along the road. In any case the H2 it is too pretty to mess up in rugged conditions.

The Competition:

You know what? There is no competition, not really. That’s what makes it so exciting to drive. But if you had to list some close alternatives I guess these would be the closest: Chevrolet Avalanche $33-38,000, Cadillac Escalade EXT $53,000, and perhaps the Land Rover Range Rover $72-84,000.

Good News:

You will be in a very small private and unique club with sales of about 25,000 on average, and you will have all the comforts of most luxury vehicles. Surprisingly smooth road vehicle.

Bad News:

Poor fuel economy, small trunk / cargo area with rear seat up. Overall it is impractical for city, and even freeway use. It is difficult to park and grandma will have a tough time getting up into this behemoth not to mention most others too. Driving it is not for the faint hearted and your garage may not accommodate it. You’ll notice some road noise on the highway.

Standard Equipment:

8600 pound GVW rating, 6.0 316 horsepower Vortec 6000 V8 engine, 4-speed electronic heavy duty automatic transmission, AM/FM sound system with cassette and 6-in-dash CD changer, air conditioning, power leather seats for 5, dual air bags, traction control, ABS Brakes, 17” chrome wheels, XM Satellite radio with 100 channels, remote keyless entry, power windows door locks and power moon roof.

Gas Stats:

10 City and 13 Highway MPG

Pricing:

MSRP $51,995.

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