Full 2008 HUMMER H2 SUT Review
What's New for 2008
The Hummer H2 SUT retains its familiar look for 2008, but adds more power under the hood and a much nicer interior. Highlights include a new 393-horsepower V8, a completely redesigned dashboard, new seats and revised door trim panels. There are also new comfort, entertainment and safety features.
Inspired by the massive military-derived Hummer H1 off-road ground pounder, the full-size Hummer H2 debuted five years ago as the go-to choice for the "look at me" crowd. Constructed of various bits and pieces from GM's full-size truck and SUV parts bin, the H2's rough-around-the-edges attitude were as much a part of its charm as its all-conquering off-road capability. Offered later was the SUT (Sport Utility Truck), which replaced the standard model's traditional SUV rear compartment with a small pickup-style bed.
More recently, however, the H2's popularity has suffered as a result of escalating fuel prices, an aging design, changing consumer tastes and its status as a favored target in the crosshairs of environmentalists and other social critics. In the beginning, driving a Hummer would produce a thumb's up. Today it could very well elicit another finger entirely. From Hummer's standpoint, there's not much that can be done about fuel prices and consumer wants, but it does have the ability to make the H2 better, and that was the mission for the updated 2008 model.
The 2008 Hummer H2 SUT retains its iconic cinder-block design and stout foundation, but has a variety of upgrades that address previous shortcomings. The interior, for instance, boasts better fit and finish, with a more upscale look and feel befitting a vehicle carrying its price tag. Front occupants face a redesigned instrument panel with soft-touch surfaces and a center stack housing new GM audio components. Carrying over is the SUT's innovative midgate design, which features a power rear window that descends into the folding center panel that separates the passenger compartment from the small truck bed.
Under the hood, a larger 6.2-liter V8 propels the H2 SUT through a new six-speed automatic transmission with manual shift control. The engine boasts 68 more horsepower than last year's V8 and fuel economy, though still terrible, is largely unchanged. Towing capacity has increased as well to a stout 8,000 pounds, and the H2 now has stability control for the first time. Outside, the H2's expressive and recognizable form has been only mildly updated, with larger grille slot openings and silver-painted lower bumpers.
Given that H2s are now a fairly common sight on the road, this year's massaged but visually similar model won't be turning many heads. But the major midcycle freshening has certainly made it the best one yet. Of course, potential buyers will still have to contend with its XXL size and heavy thirst. Meanwhile, competitors like the Land Rover Range Rover, Infiniti QX56 and Mercedes-Benz GL-Class offer more on-road refinement or country-club prestige. But if you're one in want of a premium SUV that's truly off-road worthy and not demure about its macho truck heritage, the revitalized 2008 Hummer H2 SUT is worth considering.
Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
Despite its classification as a truck, the 2008 Hummer H2 SUT is basically an SUV with an outdoor bed-style rear section rather than a wagon-type hatchback. It seats five people and comes in one trim level. Generously equipped for off-road conditions, the H2 comes standard with 17-inch alloy wheels, all-terrain tires, a driver-selectable locking rear differential and underbody skid plates. Inside, the SUT includes dual-zone automatic climate control, auxiliary rear climate controls, leather upholstery, power front seats with driver memory, heated front and rear seats, a trip computer, remote ignition, OnStar and a Bose stereo system with in-dash six-CD changer, satellite radio and an auxiliary audio jack.
The H2 Adventure Package adds more off-pavement functionality with a self-leveling rear air suspension, a front brush guard and a tool/first aid kit. The H2 Luxury Package includes polished alloy wheels, additional exterior chrome trim, tubular side steps, rearview camera system, a sunroof, a folding two-passenger third-row seat, a rear-seat DVD entertainment system and a premium MP3-compatible Bose surround-sound audio system. Most of these features are available as stand-alone options, along with a navigation system, and upgraded leather upholstery and interior trim.
Powertrains and Performance
The heart of the four-wheel-drive H2 SUT is a new 6.2-liter V8 engine rated at 393 hp and 415 pound-feet of torque. It's connected to a new six-speed automatic transmission with manual shift control. For help in the rough stuff, there's a dual-range transfer case, electronic throttle control with a more gradual calibration in low range, and a driver-selectable rear-differential locker. Hummer also says that the new six-speed transmission has improved the H2's overall crawl ratio by about 20 percent. Towing capacity is also enhanced this year, up 1,500 pounds to 8,000. EPA fuel economy estimates aren't available for vehicles this heavy, but suffice to say that even with the new powertrain, fuel "efficiency" remains quite dismal.
Safety has been considerably enhanced for the 2008 Hummer H2 SUT with the addition of stability control with roll mitigation technology and the brake assist feature for the antilock disc brakes. Also making their appearance are standard rollover-sensing head curtain airbags for all three rows and front-row safety belt pre-tensioners. As an enhancement, the H2's standard OnStar emergency communications system can now be augmented with optional turn-by-turn navigation.
Interior Design and Special Features
The highlight of the 2008 H2 SUT has to be its all-new interior, which features soft-touch surfaces and vastly improved fit and finish versus the hard plastics and questionable construction of previous years. There's a completely redesigned instrument panel, updated seats, revised door trim panels, new rear-seat climate controls and an overhead DVD entertainment system for backseat passengers. A new generation of premium GM audio equipment offers more selection and improved sound, and higher-quality switchgear further reinforces the impression of craftsmanship notably absent in past H2s. Despite its massive exterior dimensions, rear leg- and headroom can be tight, while the small truck bed doesn't offer much in the way of useful utility. The midgate feature does increase the cargo versatility, though. Folding the rear seats down and opening the midgate expands the cargo area to 56 cubic feet.
Weighing in at more than 6,600 pounds and fitted with truck-based suspension components and recirculating-ball steering, the 2008 Hummer H2 SUT is not exactly a prime choice for around-town errands. Unless, of course, your town is festooned with fallen tree trunks, huge boulders and several rivers in need of fording. The H2's off-road capabilities are easily best-in-class, with lots of ground clearance, radical approach and departure angles, generous wheel articulation and ample tire grip. The new, more powerful Hummer should be able to comfortably break the 10-second mark in 0-60-mph runs and offer better all-around performance and drivability than previous H2 models.