What's New for 2002
More minor upgrades have been added for 2002, along with a commemorative tenth anniversary package. A new Torque Biasing Ratio (TBR) differential provides even better traction along with two-piece 17-inch forged aluminum wheels and new Goodyear MT/R tires. Inside, front passengers get more legroom, the driver gets an express-down window and all passengers get improved seatbelts. A new steering wheel design, LED marker lights and a revised "H1" badge round out the changes.
The Hummer is the ultimate off-road warrior. Designed as an all-purpose vehicle for the U.S. Armed Forces (where it's known as the Humvee), the military version has been in production since 1985. The civilian Hummer became available to the public in 1992, and it has seen some success, thanks to people who've found that there are some things a Jeep Wrangler just can't do.
Available in two body styles (four-door Open Top and four-door Wagon), the Hummer has a style for everyone -- that is, everyone interested in such a beast. Our favorite is the Open Top, truly the bulkiest convertible in the world. The best feature on this convertible, however, is that the wind won't muss your hair: the Hummer goes from 0 to 60 in a lollygagging 16 seconds, and its top speed is only 83 mph.
Don't expect car-like, or even truck-like, handling either. The Hummer lumbers and wallows its way around town the way you might expect a 15-year-old military vehicle would. The brakes have a tough time managing to bring the 3-ton beast to a stop, and the non-adjustable steering wheel often feels like it has lost its connection with the rest of the suspension.
Of course, urban commuting was never intended for the utilitarian bruiser. To comprehend its true capabilities, the Hummer needs a road covered in dirt or mud, preferably with a little rain or snow tossed in for good measure. In these conditions, the Hummer's full-time four-wheel drive, fully independent suspension and 16-inches of ground clearance make it undoubtedly the most capable off-road machine money can buy. A new Torque Biasing Ratio differential, gear-reduction wheel hubs and the TT4 traction control system further add to the Hummer's astounding off-road prowess.
A long, and expensive, list of options are available, including a Central Tire Inflation System that can inflate and deflate all four tires at the touch of a button, a Monsoon stereo system to compensate for the relentless drone of the huge 36-inch tires, and new 17-inch two-piece forged aluminum wheels. Standard items include the usual assortment of power accessories along with a four-speed transmission and an overburdened 6.5-liter 195-hp diesel V8 under the hood.
To commemorate its tenth year on the civilian market, a special anniversary package has been added to the options list for 2002. These limited edition Hummers wear exclusive Desert Sunset paint on the outside, while tan leather covers the interior. A heavy-duty brush guard, black fender flares, color keyed wheels, and commemorative badges complete the exterior enhancements. The interior gets wood grain accents on the dash and steering wheel along with heated seats embroidered with the tenth anniversary badging.
Ergonomics in the passenger compartment have been improved, but still lag far behind less expensive luxury SUV competitors. The seats are anything but comfortable, with a strange system of multi-lever adjustments that never really give you the position you're looking for. For 2002, a reshaped console gives front passengers better legroom and drivers now get an express-down window. Even with these improvements, however, the Hummer still possesses a unique personality that plants it firmly in the love it or hate it category.
If you live on a farm, a ranch or in the deserts of Afghanistan, the Hummer is one unstoppable and indestructible machine that makes a great off-road companion. However, if you live anywhere near a city, like 99 percent of the people in this world, the Hummer's usefulness is limited to getting you the front spot at the local valet.