The H2's underpinnings are significantly different from those found beneath a stock Tahoe. In fact, the front third of the new Hummer is all 34-ton Suburban: driveshaft, axle, frame, suspension, brakes, A-arms, etc. Out back, the H2 also uses the same 2500 Suburban (14-bolt) solid rear axle and offers a choice of an adjustable, load-leveling air-suspension system or a more traditional coil spring/five-link setup. We're told all H2s will get monotube shocks, but final valving is yet to be determined.

Even though H2 team engineers know most drivers won't get anywhere near its limits, they knew their four-wheel-drive system had to be one of the most competent sold in the U.S. Besides the aforementioned transfer case, the H2 will have a selectable locking rear differential, dual-mode four-wheel traction-control system (for high and low speeds), and a progressive throttle program that makes the truck more controllable when driving in low range. And at the outer edges, huge 32-in. (standard) or 34-in. (optional) tires put all that tractive force to the ground. It's worth mentioning that a robust air compressor is included as part of the airbag suspension option, perfect for filling up those inflatable boats and mountain-bike tires.

From a style and comfort standpoint, the original Hummer's interior is appliance-like at best-and an ergonomic nightmare. The H2, being an all-new rig designed for consumer use from the get-go, is worlds better in just about every way. Engineers reclaimed several inches of additional width by reworking the wheel offsets. That translates to more interior width, which is quite noticeable with what seems like much more hip and shoulder room than anything in its class (and we're not yet quite sure what that is!).

Dash and gauges are clearly General Motors, with a center console stack that includes a new radio/six-disc CD changer, A/C, its new hands-free phone, and On-Star setup; a nav system will follow soon. We believe six-way-adjustable seating will be standard, possibly with a rear-area bucket-seat option. Finally (and amazingly), even with a vehicle this large, the only place to put the full-size spare was inside, which takes away a significant portion of overall cargo capacity.