Its off-road capabilities are as good as the best out there; Jeep and Land Rover and maybe the 2010 Ford F-150 SVT Raptor. Except that the Hummer's long wheelbase means it can't handle severe breakover angles as well as a Wrangler. Like the Jeep, the H3T gets better the farther away you are from any pavement.

"The extra weight of the wheel-and-tire combo that works so well at high speeds on the sand wash are just the opposite on pavement," Williams says, speaking again of the Alpha, "especially with any speed that involves cornering. Steering is also vague and slow to respond, much more than I'd expect."

Every staffer preferred the I-5 stick to the Alpha automatic. Even with its less sophisticated 4x4 system, the base I-5 "feels, and is, lighter than the Alpha," Kiino says. "Engine is anemic and course; GM's 3.6-liter V-6 would be a big improvement."

Markus says, "The I-5 engine seriously sounds like it might explode at the redline. Some horrible vibration at that frequency renders the redline on the tach unnecessary. Nobody could tolerate driving with that noise."

The general feel and quality of the cabin didn't help, much. While we like the white contrasting double stitching on the leather seats of the overpriced Alpha, the blocky, chopped-top look of the Hummer brand works no better on the H3 than on the H1 or H2.

Our biggest complaint is outward visibility. Its low, wide windshield is the kind that requires most drivers to crane their necks to see stoplights. The A-pillars and blind spots seem blown out of proportion, just right for those "get out of my way, I've got a Hummer" drivers, not for those of us who want to be kind to other traffic.

It might seem like we're piling on, but turning the HMWWV civilian is one idea some of us didn't take to in the first place. It was too easy to predict that Hummer would develop into an environmental pariah, overcoming its popularity as a war hero. GM has come around to the same thinking, and wants to find a buyer for the whole division. And so, this is likely to be the last new Hummer you'll see for quite some time.
- Todd Lassa


2009 Hummer H3T
Base price range $31,495-$36,760
Models tested H3T H3T Alpha
Price as tested $32,340 $45,195
Vehicle layout Front engine, 4WD, 5-pass, 4-door pickup Front engine, 4WD, 5-pass, 4-door pickup
Engine 3.7L/239-hp*/241-lb-ft* DOHC 20-valve I-5 5.3L/300-hp*/320-lb-ft* OHV 16-valve V-8
Transmission 5-speed manual 4-speed automatic
Curb weight (dist f/r) 4833 (55/45%) 5139 (55/45%)
Wheelbase 134.2 in 134.2 in
Length x width x height 212.7 x 78.3 x 72.1 in 212.7 x 78.3 x 72.1 in
Actual payload capacity 1168 lb 961 lb
Max towing capacity 4400 lb 5900 lb
0-60 mph 8.8/23.2 sec** 8.8/21.4 sec**
Quarter mile 16.7 sec @ 81.8 mph/22.0 sec @ 59.0 mph** 16.7 sec @ 83.5 mph/22.4 sec @ 61.0 mph**
Braking, 60-0 mph 151 ft 143 ft
Lateral acceleration 0.69 g (avg) 0.67 g (avg)
EPA city/hwy econ 14/18 mpg 13/16 mpg
CO2 emmisions 1.25 lb/mile 1.37 lb/mile
RATINGS
Engineering **
Design **
Interior **
Performance *
Hauling **
Safety ***
Value *
BOTTOM LINE
Like its military couterpart, it's an overpriced, overweight Jeep substitute.
*SAE Certified
**Towing 3300-lb (H3T) or 4400-lb (Alpha) trailer