Buyer's Guide / Hummer / 2008 Hummer H2 SUT



Since its 2002 introduction, incremental improvements have failed to make the first-generation Hummer H2's interior meet consumer expectations. For the 2008 model year, a restyled H2 remedies that with a high-quality interior befitting a model of its price. The seats are new, and the H2 SUV includes a full third row that seats two people, in place of the single seat offered on previous models. The H2 SUT (sport utility truck) still has an open pickup-truck bed with a folding midgate that extends the 2.9-foot-long cargo floor into the cabin, to a 6-foot maximum. Powertrain changes are claimed to update the truck functionally, and minor cosmetic enhancements will set it apart from the 6-year-old first-generation H2.

The main styling changes are to the front end, where the grille openings have grown and the Hummer logo has migrated downward from the grille segments to the bumper immediately below. The formerly black bottom third of the bumper is now finished to match the brushed-metal skid plate, which remains embossed with an H2 logo. The rear bumper received the same treatment below the spare-tire carrier, where the recovery hooks and hitch receiver emerge.

The H2's boldness and offroad capabilities have always been recognized, but when Hummer positioned it as a luxury vehicle, its insides begged to differ. Following the Chevrolet Silverado's lead, the H2's interior is now vastly improved. In addition to its more sensible, refined shapes, the dashboard features glowing blue gauges and trim that's among the best faux-metal finishes on the market, first seen in the H3.

The new seats are said to address complaints about the earlier ones' comfort levels. Though the goal of the backrest-mounted shoulder-belt retractor was a noble, safety-related one — meant to keep it a set distance from the occupant no matter how the seat was adjusted — it has been a flop with buyers across all GM brands. The 2008 H2 locates the front seat retractors on the pillars, where people seem to prefer them, though the third-row seats' are still incorporated for ease of seat folding and removal.

Among the notable interior features are a selection of new stereos — including a standard Bose system with XM Satellite Radio and optional surround sound — a new backseat DVD video option and OnStar. Remote start is also new, so you can warm up or cool down the H2 — and guzzle gas — without even leaving your home.

Under the Hood
The standard V-8 engine has grown to 6.2 liters, and its output has jumped from 325 to 393 horsepower. The torque rating is 415 pounds-feet, up from 365. Lower gas mileage would be no surprise, but Hummer says engine efficiency and a new six-speed automatic in place of the long-standing four-speed result in improved mileage despite the performance increase. (Being a Class 3 truck, the H2 is not required to carry an EPA fuel economy rating, but the improvement is estimated to be 10 percent above the current model's numbers, which are around 11 to 12 mpg.)

The upgraded drivetrain increases the H2's towing capacity from 6,500 to 8,000 pounds. Along with the additional gears comes a sequential-shifting control on the gear selector and a wider overall range of gear ratios, resulting in a lower crawl ratio for off-roading. The truck's capabilities are the same: It can still climb a 60 percent grade, traverse a 40 percent side slope and ford water up to 24 inches. The ground clearance is 9.9 inches, but the H2 can climb steps or boulders 16 inches high.

The four-wheel-drive system is mostly unchanged, employing permanent 4WD with locking center and rear differentials. Hummer has upgraded the antilock braking and traction control systems, though, which ensure mobility even if the differentials aren't locked. The main improvement is the ABS's ability to intuit what surface it's on and adjust its braking action accordingly.

Hummer wisely replaced the engine-mounted cooling fan with electric types, as I suggested in my original H2 review. (I suspect they had other reasons, too... .) They reduce drag on the engine and improve efficiency, but the advantage will be more tangible on hot offroad trails where low engine speeds caused the earlier model's air conditioning to fall behind demand.

Among the standard airbag complement are new side curtains that deploy downward along the side windows for all three rows of seats. They're designed to deploy if a rollover is sensed, in order to protect occupants and prevent their ejection. Tire pressure monitoring and electronic stability systems are also standard.



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6.2-liter V8
393 hp
415 lb-ft
@5700 rpm
@4300 rpm

- Six-speed automatic

Fuel Economy:

6.2-liter V8

NHTSA Safety Ratings:

IIHS Safety Ratings: