Rugged Refinement for Midsize Market
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No matter the size or configuration, a vehicle adorned with the HUMMER name must deliver the best-in-class capabilities that have made the brand the standard against which other off-road vehicles are measured.
That's certainly the case with the dynamic H3T, a midsize truck that infuses all of HUMMER's military-derived DNA into an efficient, refined package and carves a new niche in the midsize truck market.
HUMMER introduced the ruggedly refined H3T concept vehicle at the 2004 Greater Los Angeles Auto Show, providing a glimpse at a growing family of expressive, versatile vehicles.
"The H3T concept expresses a vision of the potential of future HUMMER vehicles, targeted at enthusiasts who desire the HUMMER image and capability, but in a smaller, non-SUV configuration," said Clay Dean, design director for small trucks and HUMMER. "It also provides a visual clue to the evolution of HUMMER's design."
Innovative features abound in the H3T: The pickup box incorporates side-access doors, along with drop-down assist steps that also double as weather-tight storage compartments. The H3T's unique tailgate forms an unbroken load surface when down, contributing to the H3T's versatility.
There's also a large, power-operated folding canvas sunroof and drop-down rear window that combine to offer an open-air driving experience.
There wouldn't be a HUMMER badge on the H3T if it didn't have the capability to dive into twisty terrain that would leave lesser 4x4s spinning their wheels. Its wheels-at-the-corners stance, along with 34-inch-tall tires and 11.5 inches of ground clearance, gives the H3T a 51-degree approach angle and a 50-degree departure angle - critical measures on HUMMER's internal "off-road performance metric" of capabilities.
And while the H3T delivers on the promise of its familial looks, it does so with a youthful, masculine flair.
"Regardless if you're a man or woman, it brings out a rebellious side to you that harks back to younger days," said Dean. "It's an irreverent vehicle - a bad boy in a black tie."
Riding on a 118.6-inch wheelbase and measuring 74.5 inches wide, the H3T embodies the classic HUMMER proportions - wide stance, low roofline, and wheels at the corners - that have made the H1 and H2 instantly recognizable around the world. And like the H1 truck, the H3T incorporates the cab and bed in a single structure for enhanced strength and an integrated appearance.
"This is a different size vehicle, but it's a HUMMER throughout," said Dean. "The cab configuration is personal and the smaller size makes the H3T more manageable and less intimidating to some drivers than larger vehicles. The smaller size also gives the H3T a more sporting and dynamic driving sensation."
To complement the H3T's solid structure with a "go anywhere, do anything" aesthetic, GM and Nike designers collaborated on several key aspects of the vehicle's design.
The H3T's tires evolved from discussions between GM Design and Nike Design regarding the question of off-road performance footwear influencing off-road performance tires. The result is the innovative ACG TA tire, which addresses multiple traction environments with sand paddles, traction pads and multiple durometers of rubber defined by different-color breakouts - much like the design of Nike's ACG trail and hiking shoes. BFGoodrich partnered to engineer and build the striking, groundbreaking tires.
Nike's influence on the interior includes the use of its Sphere material on the H3T's seats. The lightweight material, used by Nike in specialized clothing, can cool or warm the body without mechanical means. It also conveys a technical aesthetic that looks perfectly at home in the H3T. The seats also are enhanced by Nike Epic backpacks, which are integrated into seat-back clamshells and released with elastic bungees.
"The Nike collaboration is unique and exciting," said Dean. "It allowed us to share ideas and thoughts, while comparing our design process with a world leader in design innovation. The experience has enhanced the whole H3T project."
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