By KBB.com Editors
If you're attracted to the Hummer look and capabilities, but don't want the stigma or expense of thirsty fuel consumption, the 2008 Hummer H3 might be your candidate. It's an H2 look-alike built from the same sensible foundation that's shared with the Chevrolet Colorado pickup. The H3 is reasonably sized, rather roomy inside and quite good off-road. The addition of a more powerful V8 in the new H3 Alpha should effectively silence critics of the original five-cylinder model, although fuel economy does suffer at the hands of added horsepower and torque.
Without losing appreciable off-road capability, the H3 produces a far more civilized experience than bigger Hummers, especially when compared to the original H1. If you seldom venture off-road (which is true of almost all SUV owners), the gentlemanly ride and tamer responses are sure to satisfy rather than annoy highway riders.
Fervent off-roaders, who savor the brutishness of the traditional Hummer, could be put off by the H3's more refined nature. But if smoothness is a top selling point, note that, on five-cylinder models, automatic-transmission operation can turn rough when trying to accelerate at low speeds and lethargic when passing or merging.
A new model, the H3 Alpha, joins the Hummer line and features a 300-horsepower V8 engine. Head-curtain side airbags become standard on all models, as does StabiliTrak stability control and traction control.
Driving Impressions With a suspension that's surprisingly springy and reacts quickly to bumps, the H3 delivers an impressively easygoing ride. Cruising with the optional XM radio playing, you can even forget you're...inside a Hummer. This Hummer also handles more adeptly than its bigger brothers. Still, pavement irregularities will not go unnoticed. Acceleration with the automatic isn't bad from a standstill, and the 3.7-liter engine provides a marked improvement in passing power over the previous 3.5-liter version. Unfortunately, low-speed downshifts can produce a harsh jolt, and passing and merging can seem to yield more noise than action. Quiet on the highway, the H3 emits only a little driveline drone at low speeds.
External Spare Tire
Not only does the gate-mounted spare look rugged, it releases substantial space behind the rear seat for additional cargo. The gate swings out easily, too, revealing a sizable luggage area.
Dead-Square, Upright Profile
An H3 might be smaller and gentler, but it still doesn't pretend to be anything other than what it is: A capable, traditional Sport Utility Vehicle that looks the part of a serious off-road machine.
Five passengers enjoy reasonably abundant space, though getting there requires a substantial upward climb. Side steps may help less-agile riders with that chore. Optional leather upholstery adds a dash of richness to the Hummer experience. Bright-accented instruments are small but easy enough to read. Side bolstering and support are modest, but the front seats are comfortable. Despite a slight knees-up position and so-so headroom, outboard rear-seat occupants should be satisfied. The rear center spot is simply awful, thoughhigh, hard and with minimal headroom. Visibility isn't as impaired as the squat windows might suggest, and is helped by no-nonsense rectangular mirrors.Exterior
Dimensions are more moderate than its brothers in arms, but the H3 exhibits the unabashedly boxy profile that Hummer fans praise and critics love to denounce. Built on a 111.9-inch wheelbase, with a wide track and short overhangs, the H3 rolls on huge tires and looks taller than its actual height. Like its larger mates, the H3 promises impressive rock-climbing prowess, with the ability to clamber into and out of deep holes. Round headlamps set within square openings flank the H3's "signature" seven-slot louvered grille. Towing capacity is 4,500 pounds (6,000 with the V8) and ground clearance is 9.1 inches. A full-size spare is rear-mounted on the swing-out tailgate.
GM's OnStar communications system is standard, along with cruise control, remote keyless entry, head-curtain side airbags, StabiliTrak stability control, four-wheel anti-lock disc brakes (ABS) with traction control, OnStar Safety and Security package, a heavy-duty trailering/suspension package, 16-inch wheels, and cloth upholstery. Either 32-inch Goodyear all-terrain tires or Bridgestone 33-inch off-road rubber may be installed.
Popular H3 options include the Off-Road Suspension Package, which features a fully-locking rear differential, off-road suspension and LT285/75R16 on/off-road tires. Stand-alone options include XM Satellite Radio, power sunroof, Monsoon stereo, chrome wheels and leather upholstery. Heated leather seats and DVD navigation are also optionally available, as is the Rear Vision system and OnStar. Dealers can install a wrap-around brush guard and side steps in a choice of three styles.
The 3.7-liter in-line five-cylinder engine provides good and low-end torque, and should be well-suited to the needs of most H3 owners, providing a 4,500-pound towing ability, strong acceleration and power to pass, along with respectable fuel consumption. With the five-speed manual the H3 can be quite spirited. Of course, those not worried about fuel costs will want the added horsepower and towing provided by the 5.3-liter V8.
3.7-liter in-line 5
242 horsepower @ 5600 rpm
242 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4600 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 13/18 (manual), 14/18 (automatic)
300 horsepower @ 5200 rpm
320 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 13/16
By nana52 on Tuesday, March 04, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 18,500overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Great driving and all round vehicle."
Cons: "It's not really a family vehicle for little kids."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"We purchased our H3 new. We have loved it! It is a one of a kind vehicle. You feel safe in it. I drives so good and I love the turning radius of the H3. If I did not have health issues-we would not sell our HUMMER. Any vehicle is only as good and the care you give it."
By Bricky on Saturday, March 01, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 126,000overall rating 6 of 10rating details
Pros: "4 wheel drive in snow, road handeling, gas mileage"
Cons: "no leg room, discomfort on trips, interior design,"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 6
"I love the car as far as reliablity, road handeling, driving in snow, fuel economy but as far as comfort, narrow between seats and door panels hard to get hand in there with door closed to adjust seat etc., no 12 volt plug in rear for electronics for kids to use, cheap interior design for a expensive price tag,the 4 door jeep has more room inside and a lot less price tag and will do just as good or better on road handeling that is going to be my next vehicle for sure. Just overall dissatisfied with Hummer great looking car but no interior room for a family with kids and a discomfort for taking longer trips"
By Carma on Saturday, December 07, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 73,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Fun, solid, unique"
Cons: "Not compatible with rear facing infant seat"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"Best vehicle I've owned since my 1976 Gran Torino. Solid, handles like a dream. Goes anywhere. Parking is easy. Only problem is room for a rear facing car seat for the grand baby is tight when the driver seat is positioned for a taller person."
4 people out of 5 found this review helpful
By Granbug on Sunday, December 01, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 29,656overall rating 8 of 10rating details
Pros: "dependable snow machine;easy to park"
Cons: "shifts too much on uphill highway"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8
"Over all, just a great vehicle. the best for downhill on a snowy/icy driveway w/a sharp S curve. In 4Low & 1st gear. I don't use brake or accelerator. Excellent tight turning radius. Have had almost zero maintenance expense.But, even the V-8 shifts a lot, & somewhat noisily, on an uphill highway w/variable speeds due to traffic."
By mark on Sunday, September 15, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 155,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "girls like it."
Cons: "see comments stated below"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 7
"1.) in 7 years of ownership,i went thru (4) radiators,plastic radiators cant handle the heat. 2.) the a/c connection under passenger dash board, overheats, and melts the plastic coating on the wires, i have to constantly scrap the melted plastic off, reattach, then its fine. 3.) other than that its been a great car."
2 people out of 2 found this review helpful
By Jenny on Monday, September 09, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 47,500overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Cons: "Gas consumption, but its worth it!"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I love this vehicle even more than my Mercedes convertible & more than the Corvette, Camaro, Kia, Buick Skyalark, and other vehicles I've owned previously. It drives great. I never have problems with it. The leather interior is a must for the most awesome comfort! The sound system is wonderful. It great for travel or just getting back & forth locally. Lots of room for friends, family, groceries, luggage etc! I highly highly recommend this vehicle!"
2 people out of 2 found this review helpful