First Drive: HUMMER H3T Mule
By: Dave Vowell Posted: 02-01-08 21:10 PT
© 2008 PickupTruck.com, HMR Magazine

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We've teamed up with the crew at HMR Magazine - the experts in HUMMER trucks - to bring you this first drive review of the all new H3T pickup. HMR spent time last year testing the H3T's off-road chops in the Sierras. This is their story.

When the engineers at HUMMER decide to do something, they don’t fool around.

They know that they not only have to be true to a brand name that is iconic and the mark by which all other 4X4’s are measured, but they also have to please a customer base that has extremely high standards when it comes to comfort, style, and quality.

So it's no surprise that when it came time to develop the H3T, a pick-up truck version of the popular "go anywhere" H3 to meet growing demands in the market place, they started with the mantra, "It's a HUMMER, it's a HUMMER, it’s a HUMMER." Keeping with their famous tagline the trucks purposeful design is truly, "like nothing else."

Bigger than a midsized truck, yet smaller than a full-sized truck, the H3T will be just right with buyers who love the H3, but need more cargo capacity.

The cab from the B-pillar forward is all H3, with four doors, seating 5 adults comfortably in a level of luxury that has become the signature of the brand. However, from the cab on back, it’s a whole new world. Fitted with a five-foot bed, which is separate from the cab making it a real truck, the H3T is the perfect weekend warrior.  Now you can finally haul family and friends out into the wild and bring your favorite toys (i.e. motorcycles, snowmobiles, bicycles or camping gear) to play with once you get there.

Of course, wearing the HUMMER badge, dictates that it has to perform like a HUMMER.  According to HUMMER’s Director of Design, Carl Zipfel, "Form following function is at the core of HUMMER’s design philosophy and the H3T’s capability reflects that."  In fact, the H3T is the only midsize truck that comes standard with full-time four-wheel drive, 32" tires and functional skid shields.  It’s also the only midsize on the market to offer front and rear locking differentials.

Any truck can haul your stuff, but can it haul it where you want to go? That’s the question the H3T answers with an emphatic, "Yes!"

Last fall I had the opportunity to take the 3T out for a test-drive to Swamp Lake, in California's High Sierra, along with a few of GM's Engineers and Mechanics who were there to make sure everything went smoothly.  While our trucks were test-mules equipped with the Adventure Package, they represented the production vehicle at its roots minus things like backseats, radios and other associated frills.

At first glance looking down the side of the H3T...it's long! Sporting a 134.2" wheelbase the 3T is 4.2" longer than a Suburban, even though its overall length is about 12" shorter. While this kind of length might give reason to question its off-road capability, the truck has a whopping 10.2" of ground clearance with an approach angel of 38.7-degrees, a departure angle of 31.0-degrees and a 21.2-degree breakover angle. Couple all of that with front and rear lockers and you have a truck that will do anything and go anywhere short of walking on water, which by the way it can ford to a depth of 24".

The Swamp Lake trail is like most trails in the Sierra, narrow in some places and steep in others with Volkswagen-beetle sized boulders strewn about just to keep it challenging.

I must admit, having spent a considerable amount of time off-roading in the Sierra, I had concerns about the length of the H3T. I was expecting to spend the majority of our days making 3 and 4 point turns around trees and boulders or dragging the spare tire (which is mounted under the bed) on the ground. To my surprise, that wasn't the case at all!  In fact, the H3T performed better on the more difficult sections of the trail than its sibling H3. Its longer wheelbase and locking diffs proved to make the trail almost effortless with the truck easily swinging around tight turns and bounding over large boulders like a Yellow Lab looking for a tennis ball.  Even without the use of the lockers the trucks traction control system was more than ample to move the 3T along the trail.

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