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As a pickup, the 59-inch wide bed is more useful and versatile than it appears. Cargo volume is 22 feet, and the lined bed features drains for easy cleanup. The floor length is just under 35 inches but the SUT features a fold-down midgate that increases the floor length to just under 73 inches and cargo volume to 52.7 cubic feet. That’s helpful in loading lumber, motorcycles or other large cargo but the move also eliminates the rear seating and exposes the front occupants to the outside elements. Our test vehicle had a locking hard tonneau cover that could be removed for large items.

The SUT does like the outside air, however. A sunroof is standard, and the midgate window can be rolled down with the rear seat in place for extra ventilation. It’s a perfect atmosphere when going off road. I took the SUT for a spin around the dunes at Pismo Beach in Central California. I had driven an H1 Hummer a couple years earlier on the dunes. With its central tire inflation, wide track and long wheel travel, the H1 is completely in its element on the sand and an absolute thrill to launch over the crests. But I quickly learned the H2’s limitations. I didn’t air down the tires, so couldn’t go as deep into the dunes as I wanted. The H2 has an ABS/traction control system that helps provide power to the tires with traction. There’s also an electronic-locking rear differential that can be engaged only in 4-LO. On the sand, however, momentum and speed are more desirable so I couldn’t try it.

On a trail, the SUT should do well as it has been tested numerous times on the famed Rubicon. The approach and departure angles (40.4 and 36.5 degrees, respectively) and ground clearance (9.9 inches at the differential) are excellent. The truck is designed to ford water up 20 inches deep. However, the SUT tanks out at 6400 pounds and is over 81 inches wide (hence, the roof marker lights). It may not fit where a Jeep Wrangler or even Land Rover can squeeze through. The upcoming H3 will be a better suited for some extreme trails. The H2 does come with skid plates, tow hooks and rocker-panel protection. Also, there are receiver hitches fore and aft that accept an optional winch.

The H2 comes with a 4.10:1 axle ratio. Combined with a 2.64:1 low-range ratio in the transfer case, the H2 offers a final crawl ratio of just over 32:1 when the Hydra-matic 4L65-E automatic transmission in is first gear.

Our test vehicle had the optional air suspension package that lifts the vehicle a little higher to help clear trail obstacles. In fact, the ramp breakover angle increases from 25.8 to 26.6 degrees with the air suspension engaged. The air suspension is also self leveling to correct any attitude changes from cargo or trailer-tongue weight. Since our travels didn’t include a mountain trail this time, the option didn’t see action.

Even though the H2 is very capable off-road, it’s unlikely that many people would buy it for its trail ability. It’s just too expensive to scratch up. The practical approach would be to take the $50,000 and buy a Wrangler Rubicon, then have $25,000 worth of hard-core off-road parts installed. But then no one would notice you until you scaled the highest mountain.

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