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POLITICALLY INCORRECT

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, May 4, 2008

By: The LACar Editorial Staff

© All photos by Harvey Schwartz

AND PROUDER THAN EVER By Harvey Schwartz

The off-road warrior Hummer H2 roars into 2008 with a long list of changes, starting with a completely redesigned interior that combines luxury features and appointments with Hummer's legendary ruggedness. Under the hood is a new, more powerful engine that is mated to a new, smooth shifting, six-speed automatic transmission. The signature H2 styling remains the same except for new option packages, similar to the Luxury Package that my test H2 came with. These changes represent a major step up in the evolution of the H2 that hasn't seen any significant changes since it was introduced five years ago. From performance to comfort to safety and overall refinement, the new H2 gives consumers more of what they expect in a modern sport utility vehicle.

While you will appreciate the new improved performance on or off the road, the big news is the all-new interior. It is all Hummer, with a completely redesigned dashboard, new instrument panel, new seats, including a full third-row seat for two passengers, new door trim panels, new controls, a new rear-seat heating/AC system that comes standard, a new rear-seat overhead DVD entertainment system, and a new series of premium audio systems. I am very impressed with the redesign and the new, refined, premium feel that also maintains Hummer's trademark ruggedness. Everything from the flushness of the controls to the feel of the materials shows craftsmanship in the new interior, while the fine details, like leather seat piping, creates a consistent, premium interior design. No more GM parts-bin switches and dials. Hummer H2 has its own distinct interior, first seen inside the smaller H3, which helped make the H3 such a success. The leather/power adjustable, seats in the H2 have a new, chiseled appearance and offer improved comfort. Engineers also mounted the front seat safety belts to the vehicle's B-pillars rather than to the seats themselves, as before. This change enabled engineers to fine-tune the seats. Front safety belt pretensioners are new too, and are standard. Complementing the new seats are new door trim panels, and an all-new instrument panel with a six-gauge cluster that features a more refined appearance and better tolerances. In fact, the new interior is designed with interior gap tolerances of one millimeter or less. Soft-touch materials and new, more tactile controls further enhance the feeling of craftsmanship. A new center stack surrounded by real aluminum, houses the climate controls, 4-wheel-drive controls and a new line of GM radios-including a standard Bose premium audio system and an available surround sound system. The dashboard also features new vents, surrounded by aluminum trim, that enhance heating and cooling comfort throughout the H2. A new, round silver signature Hummer analog clock is smack in the middle of the dashboard. Round vents located in the headliner direct heated or cooled air into the second-and third-row seats. Even the dual cup-holders on the center console are now ringed in chrome.

Options include heated/leather seats with power adjustments including lumbar support, four-heavy-duty Hummer signature carpeted floor mats, new rear-seat overhead DVD entertainment system, a navigation system, power sliding sunroof, AM-FM stereo with MP3 compatible CD/DVD player, AutoTone Radio Data System with Auxiliary jack, premium Bose Audio System with 9-speakers with surround sound, third-row seat, 17-inch polished aluminum wheels, a rear-view camera system remote starting system enabling the H2's interior to be heated or cooled prior to driving off, and heated windshield washer fluid. OnStar and XM satellite radio are standard. The heart of the 2008 H2 is the new, 6.2 liter V8 engine that uses variable valve timing technology to maximize performance and fuel efficiency. It is rated at 393 horsepower at 5,700 rpm and 415 pound-feet of torque at 4,300 rpm. The all-aluminum engine helps reduce the vehicle's overall mass. These technological advanced features help it meet new federal emissions standard a year before mandatory implementation. A new six-speed Hydra-Matic 6L80 RWD electronically controlled automatic transmission backs the new V8 engine. The six-speed automatic has a wide 6.04:1 overall ratio-including two overdrive gears-that help deliver smooth shifts and an excellent balance of performance and fuel economy. Also, the 6L80 has a 'tap up/tap down' capability that allows you to manually select upshifts and downshifts with buttons on the steering wheel. The new powertrain gives the H2 an additional 1,700pounds in towing capacity. A host of additional powertrain revisions also contribute to the improved performance and efficiency, including a larger-capacity cooling system that complements the larger, more powerful engine; new electric engine cooling fans reduce drag on the engine enabling more horsepower; a regulated voltage control maximizes fuel economy by charging electrical components only when necessary; a new LAN electrical architecture is more efficient and uses less electrical energy, and a standard 3.73 rear axle ratio. What a thrill to drive off-road as the new H2 gets is better with the new tap up/tap down feature providing more control on grades. It also improves the off-road crawl ratio to approximately 39:1-an improvement of about 20%. The electronic transfer case is now stronger with improved performance and quicker 4X4 changes. A new traction control system also is standard and helps ensure sure-footed traction in most driving conditions.

Driving performance, both on, or off-road is still further enhanced by a revised steering gear that has a quicker ratio and improved on-center returnability. The driving experience is also quieter and more refined thanks to more sound deadening material placed around the cabin, and a tuned air intake and exhaust systems. Keeping you safe on your on-road or off-road journey's is a new Electronic Stability control system with rollover mitigation technology and new tire pressure monitoring system with a readout in the standard Driver Information Window. 2008 H2 models are distinguished from previous models with functional changes that maintain Hummer's instantly recognizable overall design identity. The iconic seven-slot grille features larger openings and the lower grille is also enlarged to accommodate the cooling needs of the more powerful 6.2 liter V8 engine. Both front and rear lower bumpers are now painted silver, where previous models were painted black. While the new H2 is offered with a new powertrain and interior, its foundation remains the same: a fully welded ladder-type frame that features a modular, three-piece design incorporating a number of hydroformed components. This design delivers outstanding strength, stiffness and dimensional accuracy. The H2 has short overhangs for radical approach and departure angles and exceptional ground clearance for minimal impact on trails. Standard 17X9 wheels, a heavy-duty independent front suspension featuring torsion bars, 46 mm monotube shocks and a 36 mm stabilizer bar; and a 5-link rear suspension featuring variable-rate coil springs, (optional self-leveling air springs), 46 mm monotube shocks and a 30 mm stabilizer bar; provide superior handling on or off-road, and towing capacity is now rated at 8,600 pounds. The solid rear axle ensures durable sure-footedness, particularly in tight, off-road situations. Also standard is underbody protection, front and rear tow hooks, and rocker protection. These elements help the H2 deliver on Hummer's mantra of capability, including traveling through streams 24 inches deep, climbing 16-inch steps and rocks, and plowing through deep sand or snow.

Quickly and safely slowing the H2 down from speed are new, stronger, four-wheel disc brakes, 13 inches at each wheel and each clamped with dual-piston calipers. Also new this year is a panic brake assist feature-the first for a full-size GM truck or SUV-which detects emergency braking situations and maintains maximum brake pressure to help stop the H2 more quickly and with more control. This new standard feature works with the standard ABS and traction control systems that allows the driver to use a two-foot driving technique (one foot the brake, the other on the throttle), which is best when negotiating a steep, rocky trail. The traction control system also includes the ability to gain traction through a single wheel. New safety features include roof rail head curtain side airbags for first-second and third-row passengers, three-point safety belts for all passengers, and new front-seatbelt pretensioners. Other standard safety features include front dual airbags, remote vehicle start, remote keyless entry, auto headlamps, daytime running lights, theft-deterrent system, and OnStar. Standard features not mentioned above include heated second-row seats that have a pull-down center console with cup holders and fold-flat, cruise-control, auto dual zone climate control, rear-seat climate control, one-touch express down for all windows, leather wrapped steering wheel, rear window defogger, intermittent wipers/washers/rear wiper/washer, thick-cut pile carpeting, dual map lamps, grab handles all-around, chrome door handles, rear spare tire carrier, chrome fuel filler door, power-folding, heated mirrors, self-dimming rearview mirror with outside temperature/compass heading and huge, LT315/70R17 off-road tires. My test H2 came with the following options: luxury package with chrome aluminum hood handles, chrome aluminum hood latches, bright door sill plates, carpeted floor mats, front and rear, rear vision camera, power sunroof, rear seat entertainment system, Bose Surround Sound System for a total price of $63,640.00. H2 carry's a base price of $55,510.00. You can't beat the looks, off-road capability and ruggedness of the new 2008 Hummer H2, and now it is as comfortable, luxurious and safe as any of the more expensive sport utility vehicles on the market.

© Words and pictures by Harvey Schwartz SUMMARY JUDGMENT It may not be PC in this era of fuel-sipping greenmobiles, but the H2 unabashedly accomplishes what it sets out to do very well. For more information about Hummer products, go to www.hummer.com More photos from Harvey Schwartz can be found at www.autofotos.com

SPECIFICATIONS Name: Hummer H2 Price: $55,510.00/base, $63,640.00/as tested Engine type: 6.2 liter Vortec, all-aluminum V8 with VVT Horsepower: 393 at 5,700 rpm Torque: 415 lb-ft at 4,300 rpm Drive configuration: Front engine/all-wheel-drive Transmission type: Hydra-Matic 6L80, 6-speed automatic transmission Front suspension: Independent with torsion bars, 46 mm monotube gas-charged shocks, 36 mm stabilizer bar Rear suspension: 5-link variable-rate coil springs, optional self-leveling air springs, 46 mm monotube gas-charged shocks, 30 mm stabilizer bar (coil), or 32 mm (air) Wheels/tires: 17X9 cast aluminum wheels/LT315/70R all-terrain tires Brakes: Front:12.8 in. vented rotors, dual-piston calipers Rear: 13.0 in. solid rotors, dual-piston calipers Overall length: 203.5 in. Overall width: 81.2 in. Overall height: 79.2 in. coil springs/78.5in. air springs Curb weight: 6,614 lbs. EPA mileage: 10 mpg/city, 12 mpg/highway

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