Extreme Road Test - 2003 Hummer H2: Mail Call
From the August, 2002 issue of Truck Trend
I'm considering buying this truck, but with 10 mpg, I am thinking twice. Will there be a diesel engine?
Los Angeles, CA
Rumor has it that the 6.6-liter Duramax turbodiesel will be offered within the next couple of years. This engine would not only improve the fuel economy and increase the towing capacity, but it would make powertrain connection with the H1. Beyond this possibility, the near-future GM V-8 truck engines will employ new variable cylinder technology, allowing two or even four cylinders to be dormant during low-stress cruising. We'll probe these rumors in Indiana and share what we learn. --JB
I just finished an eight-day vacation stay in Anchorage/Valdez/Seward. Although I only drove 1500 miles in my 2002 Dodge Durango, I can attest to the remoteness, exorbitant prices, and mosquitoes. Thanks for the detailed report.
It doesn't seem you've put in many "rough" miles through the bush and back country. Let's read some true off roading! Enjoy the Taco Bell. Have they been paying you for all these plugs? I think you all deserve free food.
It all depends on how you define "rough." Tracking over 800 miles of off-pavement driving on the Dalton Highway in northern Alaska, with rocks assaulting the windshield and dust clouds obscuring vision seemed rough at times. We have ventured into two river beds and traversed a rocky terrain thus far in our pursuit of challenges. These more daring exploits were only caught on video and can be seen in the growing collection of clips. So far, we haven't found anything that truly challenged the impressive H2's off-road ability. But we will / Leg 2 begins with a sprint to Death Valley, where we'll find rock-strewn trails and massive sand dunes. As we head east, we're detouring to AM General's headquarters in Indiana, where we hope to put the H2 through paces on the H1's stomping grounds. And no, we don't have a deal with Taco Bell. We're just finding some humor and tasty food where we can. -JB
I have been following "Project Hummer" and have found article to be an enjoyable and informative read. I do, however, take issue with the Day 8 installment of this story; specifically John Kiewicz's reported inability (or unwillingness) to employ basic safety or even common sense while changing lanes. The fact that he could not see out the rear window of the Hummer does not give him license to bully his way to his destination. God forbid he utilizes the outside mirrors and/or his co-pilot's assistance to check for other motorists before completing such a maneuver. Mr. Kiewicz's "Might is Right" attitude is incredibly immature, more than a little frightening and, quite frankly, inexcusable. Sadly, personal experience has shown that many drivers of the full-size SUVs already on our roads demonstrate the same infuriating sense of entitlement. Nothing less than a Freightliner seems to intimidate them into driving (for the moment at least)with due caution and respect for others. Hopefully Mr. Kiewicz will never find himself "crushed in the process" for failing to avoid someone such as he moving unannounced into his lane.
San Diego CA 92104
Uhh, DJ... that was a bit of editorial humor. Quite obviously we did not (and do not) run our H2 over cars, people, buildings, endangered habitats, etc. Admittedly, our overstuffed H2 has visibility limitations, but we take measures to ensure we can safely log our targeted 10,000 miles. As responsible, daresay professional, motorists, we use our turn signals, mirrors, windows, and on this adventure, the co-driver to ensure safe maneuvering.
Did you really think that we actually bullied our way into a new lane of traffic and actually pushed people off the road? Thanks for following along with our Hummer H2 adventure...but c'mon...don't take things too seriously! - JK
Is there a planned trip itinerary for locations and towns to be visited along the way? I live in Seattle, and would love to stop by and see them -- which according to the map, appears to be a stop along the route.
Yes, we do have an itinerary, but we do not want to post specifics, due to the organic nature of the trip. We're meeting many interesting, colorful characters along the way, but honestly do not have time for special meetings if we're to keep on schedule. We appreciate your interest, and who knows? You might just see our dusty Hummer passing by. -JB
I love the concept of this exclusive! I have referred this story to friends who have regularly linked-in to check your progress and road stories. Will there be any video available of your trip? It would make a great documentary.
Thanks for the support, David. The story is meant to be a fun, behind-the-scenes look at the extreme effort going in to a future magazine report, taking our readers along for the ride. We're thrilled with the positive reception this has been receiving from readers. Indeed, we shot video along the way, with the goal to post it every couple of days. Videos have appeared regularly in our our Multimedia video section, and the complete archive can be found in the Motor Trend Auto Pass service with Real One.-JB
Having just driven the H2 and considering buying it, I would like to know more of the driving experience in the real world. Low mileage, high step-up, high gas prices, got it. Please talk more about the vehicle visibility, interior noise at highway speed, etc. Let's talk H2. I want to know everything you guys are experiencing.
Since we have so many days scheduled on the road, we have been intentionally trickling out vehicle-specific criticisms. Otherwise, it would be nothing but "motel and tacos" postings by the time we reached Florida! Actually, the motels we visited up north were experiences in themselves. Had we stayed at a traditional, 48-state off-highway franchise, it would have never come up. But the cramped, particleboard rooms at exorbitant rates deserved a little ribbing.
The rearward visibility has been compromised by our two spare tires. With the vehicle being engulfed in Desert Storm-grade dust layers, it is like driving a military vehicle, leaving us heavily dependent on the mirrors. The slightly unusual vehicle dimensions, with short front, vertical windshield, and thick A-pillars does take a little getting used to. But these elements are part of the core Hummer experience and have not been an inconvenience. With the aerodynamics of a cinder block on a skateboard, there is certainly some wind noise that intrudes. The auditory invasion is greater than other GM full-size vehicles, but far less that than the H1. In any other vehicle the noise would be the subject of biting criticism, but in the H2 it is almost forgivable as a character element. Looking around at the sharp, squared edges, auxiliary lights, roof rack, brush guard, and massive tires, it's no mystery what is causing air turbulence.
Don't worry. We'll touch on all elements of the vehicle's performance over the course of this rolling adventure, with a final, detailed report to appear in the February 2003 magazine. --JB
Since you have now tested the new Hummer H2, I think you should compare all of the real off-road vehicles together. I think you should include: Hummer H1 and H2, the new Range Rover, Mercedes-Benz Unimog, Toyota Land Cruiser, and a Jeep Wrangler to see how well a lightweight compares in terms of off-road ability. I'm one of the people who want to see any car, even if it is out of my financial reach, as long as there are still some that I can afford in your great magazine.
Ellicott City, MD
This test is only half over. We still have Leg Two, Los Angeles to Key West, to go. Your wish list sounds like the makings of another Torture Test! It goes without saying that an H2 comparison is inevitable.... What vehicles should we include? And where do test them? E-mail us your suggestions. --JB