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July 17, 2007 > Automotive Column

Automotive Column

Hummer H3

By Dick Ryan

Last week we had a 2007 Hummer H3 for our test vehicle. The H3 is the smallest vehicle in the Hummer line. It looks big, but is actually about the same length as a mid-sized family sedan. The H3 It is easy to pick out on the street due to its rugged, boxy appearance. Ours was a steel grey color, so it didn't stand out like the yellow ones do.

First impressions are always interesting. At first glance, the H3 looked like a huge, slab-sided, truck. As I said, it isn't that big but then I climbed up about eight feet (only kidding) into the driver's seat. However, the H3 is low enough to get into most parking garages. Then you grab the steering wheel and it seems to be as thick as a big polish sausage. It is probably the thickest steering wheel on any production vehicle sold in the USA, and its feel complements the H3 perfectly.

The H3 came out in 2006, and for 2007 it got a new, more powerful engine. It is GM's Vortec 3.7-liter, 5 cylinder unit that puts out 242 HP and 242 foot pound of torque; powerful enough to push the 4700 pound H3 around with reasonable acceleration. My only complaint was that the Vortec engine sounded like a diesel. I must not have been the only one because someone put a label inside the filler lid that said, "Use only regular unleaded gasoline." Its EPA estimates are 15 city and 19 highway.

We didn't get to test it, but the H3 is reputed to deliver exceptional rock crawling and climbing performance. The heart of this capability is its electronically controlled four-wheel drive system. It features traction control, underbody shielding, a rear locking differential, and Hummer's StabiliTrak stability control. Our tester also had the 33-inch off-road tires that allow the H3 to ford 24 inches of water and climb 16- inch vertical steps and rocks.

The H3 is large enough that you probably do not want to dart around in heavy traffic. However, it's small enough and had reasonable visibility to allow you to be comfortable in that traffic.

Interior room is great and a long trip for 5 adults would be no problem. Designing the placement and operation of controls has been done very well. There is plenty of storage space behind the rear seats. If you need more, the rear seats fold flat to make more storage space.

The base MSRP was $29,405. Ours also included the $3,230 luxury package (leather seats, upgraded sound system, and other items), a $1,695 4- speed automatic transmission (a 5- speed manual is standard), a $1,720 navigation system, the $1,375 off-road equipment package and other options for a total of $42,530.

A new H3 model has been added for the 2007 year. The H3x adds a number of appearance items including a chrome front brush guard, chrome tube side steps, and a special spare tire cover. Its MSRP is $38,135. If you want a good, solid, distinctive SUV, the H3 is for you.


By Dick Ryan
Freelance Automotive Journalist
Member of the Western Automotive Journalists
RRYAN@FRK.COM



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