Since its intro for 2003, the Hummer H2 has wowed the weekend GI Joe and Jane set with its battlefield DNA and three-day-pass demeanor. While this brute is most often sighted prowling streets, freeways, and cruise nights rather than venturing into the wilds it's built to tame, its take-no-prisoners posture is undeniable. One kink in the armor has been the H2 SUV's limited cargo capacity. The inside-mounted spare tire was part of the problem, and a new H2 variant is the cure: Move the spare outside, take the roof off the cargo area, and--bam! The H2 sport/utility truck, or SUT. Its factory swing-out tire carrier reportedly will be an option for the SUV as well.
Combining the comfort of a sport/utility with the cargo moxie of a pickup isn't a new idea. Ford introduced the Explorer Sport Trac for 2001, and the convertible Midgate bowed on the 2002 Chevy Avalanche/Cadillac Escalade EXT. This Hummer now shares that GM innovation, taking convenience up a notch with a power rear window and a torsion spring in the Midgate hinge for an easier transformation between troop transport and cargo hauler. The H2 SUT rides on the same platform as the SUV, and therein lies the irony. Once you remove the spare tire and optional single third-row seat from inside the SUV, it actually has more covered cargo capacity than the new SUT (even with the SUT's optional hard locking tonneau cover in place).
So what's the net gain with the new model? There is that rolldown rear window to bring you closer to the great outdoors, the open truck bed for cargo that's taller than the roofline, and the versatility to give your muddy huntin' hounds a well-ventilated ride home without trashing your carpet and upholstery. Drains in the lined cargo bed make for easy cleanup with a garden hose.
For 2005, Hummer is taking both H2s more upmarket. Gone are standard cloth seats; base models now come with leather in Medium Wheat, or there's an optional Ebony interior with additional leather appointments and brightwork. A moonroof also is standard in the SUT, along with a one-touch five-window global down feature. Available XM Satellite Radio ensures news, talk, and music even in the most remote regions of the lower 48 (except while spelunking), and there's more grunt from the 6.0-liter Vortec V-8: up nine horsepower and five pound-feet of torque over the 2004 model.
When similarly equipped, the H2 window stickers are nearly the same for the SUV and the new SUT. For Hummer fans, the choice likely will boil down to a style preference: the boxy Brink's truck outline of the SUV or the push-me-pull-you profile of the new SUT.