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The price of a Hummer H3 Luxury is $60,990, excluding options, accessories, dealer delivery and the various statutory charges.

ROAD TEST:   Hummer H3 Luxury

by Stephen Walker

2nd August, 2009

Home > Road Tests > Hummer

Some people say you can tell much about a person by what type of car they drive. This over generalisation is sometimes true, but quite often not even close to the mark.

However, the Hummer H3 is a vehicle that is likely to galvanise opinion. That being the case, the facts should be reviewed to determine what you can tell about a Hummer owner.

Firstly, we'll look at the physical size of the H3 before moving onto other aspects of this American designed and South African assembled 4x4.

The length of the Hummer H3 is measured at 4,782 mm (including the externally mounted spare wheel). This means the H3 is shorter than the new 4,815 mm long Toyota Camry. On that basis it must be stated that the "small" Hummer isn't a long car by any means. The width of the H3 is 1,989 mm (at the mudguard flares rather than the external rear view mirrors), whilst the height is 1,904 mm (with roof bars). These figures determine that the Hummer is wide as well as tall. In fact, it is wider than the new Toyota Land Cruiser 200 series and it is a similar height to this large 4x4 too.

The styling of the H3, like the larger Hummers (the H2 and H1) which are available in North America, suggests strength is an attribute of this 'car'. And, certainly, that "tough look" styling makes the H3 look larger than it is in reality. Yet it is that same styling that makes the Hummer H3 popular or, alternatively, unpopular. The styling highlights of the Hummer are the bloated mudguards with flares, a 'flat-top' roof, small side windows, slab sides and the chrome grille with vertical slots. So it seems perceptions formed by the styling is what sells the Hummer. The "tough look" is admired by some and rejected by others. Not that that matters, we're all different and we are drawn towards what we each find personally attractive. (copyright image)

The off-road abilities of the Hummer H3 have been put to the test in off-road sporting events in North America and the brand has established a tough reputation to perfectly match the "tough" appearance of this unique 4x4.

Our experience with the Hummer covered on-road city and suburban traffic conditions only, 'clocking up' some 390 kilometres around Melbourne.

In driving the H3 we found the presentation of the Hummer a pleasing package. Although it isn't perfect. The thick steering wheel adds a tough approach inside, whilst the light coloured leather trim fitted to the test car makes an attractive statement towards the interior appeal. Yet somehow it seems the interior isn't an integrated design. For example, the back seat is mounted quite low. Additionally, the foot room is adequate for two rear seat adult passengers but the entry and egress manoeuvre isn't as easy as it should be for a car this size. One reason for the restrictive access is the "B" pillar, which is positioned right alongside the driver which also means vision for lane changing and checking for traffic coming from the right can be obstructed in too many circumstances.

Another example of poor design is the retro styled (tongue-in-cheek) hand brake. It is mounted under the dash like some cars of the 1950s. A foot operated parking brake would make more sense to me. Further, the steering wheel is height adjustable, but there is no 'reach' adjustment.

On the road the Hummer performed quite well, although the steering seemed somewhat sloppy. The 5 cylinder in-line petrol engine produces 180 kW from the 3.7 litre displacement. The ride is compliant and the seating position puts you 'high in the saddle'.

Fuel consumption for the 4 speed auto is rated at 13.5 litres/100 km (combined cycle), whilst the CO2 emission level is a high 348 grammes/kilometre. The manual version is slightly better on both counts. The big fuel tank swallows 87 litres of petrol. A diesel version is planned for the future and this is likely to spark additional interest in this American styling statement on wheels.

Towing capacity is 2,040 kg for a braked trailer with the automatic Hummer H3. The manual version has a lower capacity.

Stephen Walker with the 
Hummer H3 (copyright image)

Standard equipment for the Hummer H3 includes 5 alloy wheels, four-wheel disc brakes, electronic stability control, traction control, four airbags, a swing-open tailgate, rear step, front fog lights, roof rails, air conditioning, power windows, auto dimming interior rear view mirror, carpet and floor mats in the passenger compartment, cruise control, central locking and remote locking. Under body protection is included, too. In fact, each of the three Hummer H3 models are well equipped to position them well for the Australian market. Metallic paint is optional.

The future of Hummer has been the subject of some speculation. That is a natural reaction to the financial difficulties that Hummer's parent company, General Motors, put itself in earlier this year. GM found itself bankrupt and needed a quick fix to the problems facing the company. One aspect was to off-load assets where possible. A Chinese firm had expressed an interest in acquiring Hummer. Expectations are that Hummer will become a Chinese owned entity later this year. That means the "tough" look of Hummer will continue with even a thought that the new owners want to maintain the way of the past for this 'newish', yet well known brand.

Pricing for the Hummer is quite competitive. There are twenty one Hummer dealers in Australia.

Whilst the Hummer H3 isn't for everyone, it will more than satisfy its target audience. The distinctive styling, the off-road capability and the pricing will make it attractive for those who can overlook its shortfalls.


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