This article is from our archives and has not been updated and integrated with our "new" site yet... Even so, it's still awesome - so keep reading!
Published on Sun, Feb 5, 2006
By: The LACar Editorial Staff
Â© All photos by Harvey Schwartz
First there was the enormous Hummer H1, straight from the Department of Defense and only for the few brave enough to drive it. The subsequent H2 mitigated many of the driving and size problems, but now with gas prices in the high two dollar range, it's not very economical to drive. The all-new baby Hummer, the H3, is just right. It's the right size, and as long and wide as a midsize sedan or SUV - making driving and parking easy. The H3 is as versatile as any SUV, and gets 20 miles per gallon on the highway and 16 in the city (EPA rating). Yet, it retains the 'in-your-face' Hummer styling and outstanding off-road ability.
I really enjoyed my seven-day test drive behind the wheel of the all-new H3. It didn't matter whether I was maneuvering around slow city traffic, at speed on the freeways, or kicking up dirt off-road. The H3 never disappointed. This new Hummer has quickly moved to the front of the line with midsize sport utility enthusiasts, because it can do it all in style and with ease. The H3 is powered by the GM's 3.5-liter, all-aluminum, inline 5-cylinder Vortec engine, which features variable exhaust valve timing, generates 220 horsepower at 5,600 rpm, and 225 pound-feet of torque at 2,800 rpm. Although power is adequate, I'd like it even more if GM equipped the H3 with the more powerful 275-horsepower 4.2-liter inline six-cylinder engine found in the Chevy Trailblazer and GMC Envoy. Although much lighter than the H1 or H2, the 4,700 pound H3 is still a lot of SUV to move around. The H3 is the first Hummer to offer the choice of a smooth-shifting five-speed manual (the one tested) or the Hydra-Matic 4L60-E electronically controlled four-speed automatic. Whatever you specific needs may be, either transmission should prove to be satisfactory.
The H3 has a solid foundation, with a fully boxed, ladder-type welded steel frame for stiffness and strength. Body panels are electro-galvanized steel sheets for added strength. The bulging front and rear fenders are made of durable injection molded plastic. The H3 rides smooth on the highway, easily soaking up bumps on poorly paved roads. It is awesome off-road, just like a Hummer is supposed to be. The independent short/long arm torsion bar front suspension features aluminum upper arms, 46 mm gas-charged monotube shocks, and a 36 mm tubular stabilizer bar. The unique rear suspension features a Hotchkiss designed multi-leaf, dual-rate 34/47 spring setup with 46mm gas-charged monotube shocks and a 25 mm solid stabilizer bar. This unique setup returns excellent ride comfort, minimum lean in corners, and amazing off-road ability. The power-assisted rack & pinion steering system with tri-bushing mount design is a perfect match because of its quick response to my inputs and great feedback from the road. The H3 was engineered for off-road leadership among midsize SUVs. The heart of the truck's ability is its electronically controlled four-wheel-drive system. Always driving in Part-Time 4x4, just push a dash-mounted button to go into and out of 4x4 Hi, or 4x4 Low. The system is augmented with features such as traction control, underbody shielding, an optional rear locking differential, and StabiliTrak stability control (available with the automatic transmission). The H3 comes standard with the largest standard tires found on any midsize SUV: Giant 32-inch 265/75R16 all-terrain steel-belted Goodyear radials; or if you order the ZM6 Off-Road Adventure Package, 33-inch LT285/75R16. on/off-road Bridgestone radials. These huge tires wrap around unique Hummer styled 16x7.5 aluminum wheels.
Among its off-road capabilities, the H3 can traverse 16 inches of water at 20 mph (or 24-inch streams at 5 mph), climb 16-inch vertical steps and rocks, make its way through deep sand, and race over sandy surfaces. The H3's more maneuverable size provides advantages such as a 37-foot turning circle. That's comparable to a typical compact sedan, making easy work of parking lot maneuvers and tight turns when off-roading. The 9.1-inch ground clearance and maximum breakover angle of 25-degrees (with 33-inch tires) both make it possible to clear large obstacles in off-road driving. Serious off-road performance is also aided by a maximum approach angle of 40-degress and maximum departure angle of 37-degrees. These approach and departure angles allow the H3 to drive right into a hole and back out again, without getting hung up in front or rear. Quickly and safely slowing the all-new H3 down from speed or when off-road are large, electro-mechanical power four-wheel disc brakes. Up front are 12.4-inch vented discs, clamped with four-piston opposed (fixed) calipers, and 12.28-inch solid discs in the rear clamped with large, single-piston sliding calipers. Braking control is enhanced with both ABS and Dynamic Rear Brake Proportioning, standard.
Once behind the wheel, you'll agree that this new H3 is genuine Hummer all the way. The H3's bold looks make it readily identifiable as a Hummer. It's just a matter of form following function. Features such as its wide track, short overhangs, and huge tires provide stability, outstanding ground clearance and quick-rock climbing capability during off-road driving fun. The H3's flat, chiseled surfaces, upright windshield and tightly drawn windows; sigature seven-slot louvered grille, round headlamps housed inside square openings, massive front bumper with large round foglamps, two giant tow hooks and an easily seen full-size skid-plate below, along with pronounced fender flares, are all pure Hummer. Power and strength emanate from its cube-like metal billet form. The H3's roomy interior is inviting and modern, blending premium cues with world-class craftsmanship. Upscale touches include a beefy steering wheel, bright-accented instrumentation, brushed, machine-finished trim plates, chrome door release handles, power windows/door locks, cruise-control, intermittent-speed wipers/washers front/rear, a total of five grab handles above the passenger doors, power-adjustable sideview mirrors, swing-gate with full-size spare tire, underbody protection skid plates, 4.5:1 rear axle ratio, AC/heater, electrochromic self-dimming rearview mirror with outside temperature and compass heading readouts, map pockets behind the front seatbacks, dual front map lamps/rear lamp, AM-FM-CD six-speaker audio system, thick-pile carpeting, a center console with dual cupholders and storage bin with a padded top, and a chrome H3 emblem on the steering wheel center. Options include a beefy, perforated leather stitched steering wheel and automatic shifter knob with an aluminum bezel surround, heated and power adjustable leather front seats, a large power sunroof, a DVD-based navigation system with a premium AM-FM/CD/MP3 audio system and front/rear floor mats.
The rear 60/40 split rear bench seat is easy to fold out or up. The rear cargo section has a unique floor made of hard rubber that is not pinned down and easily removable. When in place it keeps cargo steadfast. You can also use the four tie-downs at the corners to insure that you cargo will not move around. With the rear seats down you have 55.7 cubic feet of space. At your Hummer dealer, you can outfit your H3 with accessories such as a black painted tubular brush guard, chrome running boards, and a custom roofrack storage system. A vehicle like the H3 is very safe to be in, with a standard reinforced passenger compartment safety cage utilizing steel beams in each door, strong, rigid steel structure that surrounds the passenger compartment from the A-pillars to the roof rail, back to the D-pillars and includes the bottom rocker panels, under-floor longitudinals, and frame. The all-steel body panels and exceptionally strong frame further help protect occupants in a collision. The fully welded, ladder-type frame optimizes crash performance, in addition to standing up to rigorous off-road requirements. Also standard are frontal dual-stage airbags, with front passenger sensor, three-point safety belts for all five seating positions, with front seat pretensioners/load limiters, Daytime Running Lamps, introductory ONSTAR communications system, LATCH child seat attachments, Low tire pressure monitor, and remote keyless entry with panic button. Optional roof rail-mounted side curtain airbags drop down to the belt line to help provide head and rollover protection for you and your front passenger.
Some said it couldn't be done, but Hummer has made a more civilized sport utility vehicle that just about anybody can drive and enjoy - whether on the road or off. The all-new H3 does it all. Â© All text and photos by Harvey Schwartz For more information on Hummer products, go to www.hummer.com. More photos from Harvey Schwartz can be found at www.autofotos.com
SPECIFICATIONS Name of vehicle: 2006 Hummer H3 Price: $28,205.00 Engine type: 3.5 liter DOHC all-aluminum inline 5-cylinder with dual balance shafts Horsepower: 220 at 5,600 rpm Torque: 225 at 2,800 rpm Drive configuration: Front engine/all-wheel-drive Transmission type: 5-speed manual/4-speed automatic optional Front suspension: Independent SLA torsion bar, 46mm monotube gas-charged shocks, 36mm stabilizer bar Rear suspension: Hotchkiss design multileaf, dual-rate 34/47 leaf springs, 46mm monotube gas-charged shocks, 25mm stabilizer bar Wheels/tires: 16x7.5 aluminum wheels; 265/75R16 Goodyear all terrain steel-belted radials/optional LT285/75R16 on-off road Bridgestone radials Brakes: Front: 12.4-inch vented rotors clamped with four-piston opposed calipers Rear: 12.28 solid discs clamped with single piston sliding calipers ABS and dynamic rear brake proportioning standard Overall length: 186.7 in. with spare tire Overall width: 74.7 in. Overall height: 74.5 in. Grade capability: 60 degrees Side slip capability: 40 degrees Curb weight: 4,700 lbs. (automatic transmission) Maximum towing weight: 4,500 lbs. EPA mileage estimates: 16mpg/city, 20mpg/highway