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Though it possesses an attractive combination of off-road capability and everyday comfort, the distinctive 2007 Hummer H3 is mainly let down by its lack of power.
Very capable off-road, smooth highway ride, stable handling, stylish interior with simple controls, comfortable seats.
Tepid performance, low tow rating, lousy outward visibility for shorter drivers, below-average cargo space.
Available H3 Models
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The Hummer H3 sees both aesthetic and functional changes for 2007. A new "H3X" trim level includes chrome accents (including front brush guard and wheels), embroidered headrests and unique colors. Stability control becomes standard, the engine becomes more powerful and the powertrain warranty is extended to five years/100,000 miles.
Trading on the tough truck styling cues of its much larger H2 brother, the 2007 Hummer H3 is a lot more reasonable in terms of size and cost. Based loosely on the midsize Chevrolet Colorado/GMC Canyon pickup platform, the H3 is more suited to tackling narrower trails than the broad-of-beam brutish H2.
Although it shares only about 15 percent of its components with the Colorado/Canyon, the H3 does have the same five-cylinder engine. This year sees a sorely needed boost in output, with horsepower increasing by 22 to 242 hp and torque increasing by 17 pound-feet, for a total of 242 lb-ft. Still, with a weight of 4,700 pounds, the portly H3 could really use a more powerful V6 or even a V8. As it stands, the H3 is downright sluggish compared to rivals such as the Nissan Xterra, Toyota FJ Cruiser and Jeep Grand Cherokee V8.
Although it may not be speedy, the 2007 Hummer H3 is not without its charms. Full-time four-wheel drive is standard with a two-speed transfer case. Available for hard-core off-roaders is an optional 4:1 low-range that allows the junior Hummer to creep down seriously steep trails without using the brakes. Lots of ground clearance, aggressive approach and departure angles, standard skid plates and optional 33-inch off-road tires further emphasize the H3's go-anywhere demeanor. Although outward visibility is compromised for style, the H3 seats five in relative comfort.
Logic would dictate that most of the H3's rivals are better choices due to their stronger performance, better fuel mileage, more generous cargo capacity and greater features availability. But the car-buying process has a heavy element of emotion as well. For those seeking a vehicle with impressive off-road capability and the image that only a Hummer can provide, the H3 is a solid choice.
The 2007 Hummer H3 is a midsize SUV that's available in two trim levels. The standard H3 comes with air-conditioning, cruise control, OnStar telematics, keyless entry, full power accessories, a six-speaker CD stereo, 16-inch alloy wheels and full skid plates. The fancier H3X adds a Monsoon audio system with CD changer, leather seating, power and heated front seats, a host of chrome accents and 18-inch chrome wheels. There is also a pair of packages available for the base H3. The Adventure package adds an off-road suspension, a shorter-geared transfer case for better hill climbing and descending, a locking rear differential and 33-inch off-road tires. The Luxury Package adds leather upholstery, power/heated front seats and an MP3-compatible Monsoon stereo. Individual options include an in-dash six-disc CD changer, a navigation system and satellite radio.
A 3.7-liter inline five-cylinder engine that makes 242 hp and 242 lb-ft of torque is the sole power plant for the H3. It sends its power to all four wheels via a standard five-speed manual transmission or optional four-speed automatic. Although that output is respectable for a five-cylinder, the H3's near-5,000-pound mass takes its toll on performance, so acceleration is leisurely at best. Towing capacity is rated at 4,500 pounds and EPA fuel economy estimates for the automatic are 16 mpg city, 19 mpg highway.
Antilock disc brakes, traction control, stability control, a tire-pressure monitor and the OnStar communications system are standard. Full-length side curtain airbags are optional. In NHTSA crash tests, the 2007 Hummer H3 scored five stars (out of five) for the driver and four stars for the front passenger in frontal impacts. Side impact testing by that agency resulted in five stars (without the side curtain airbags).
Surprisingly, the Hummer H3 has one of the best layouts we've seen in a GM vehicle. A two-tone color scheme, metallic accents and contrasting piping on the optional leather seats give the H3's cabin more than a dash of class. The materials quality is respectable as well, unlike the tacky plastic environs of the Chevy Colorado on which the H3 is loosely based. Seat comfort is very good, but shorter drivers may not care for the seating position that, due to the high beltline and low-profile window design, doesn't offer the commanding view of the road they might expect from an SUV. Rear-seat passengers will find ample legroom and decent support. Cargo capacity is below average for this class, but a side-hinged cargo door provides easy access to the 29.5-cubic-foot bay (55.7 with the seats folded).
At low speeds, there is sufficient punch to handle the cut and thrust of city driving. But when faced with freeway merging and inclines, the H3 grows winded, a product of insufficient power for its 4,700 pounds and brick-like aerodynamics. Off-road, the smallest Hummer SUV is basically unstoppable. With 9.1 inches of ground clearance, loads of wheel travel, aggressive approach and departure angles, oversized all-terrain tires and standard skid plates, the H3 can pretty much go anywhere without taking damage. The baby Hummer also does fine on the blacktop. While there's no hiding its considerable curb weight in the corners, it feels surprisingly stable, with predictable body roll. The ride is smooth and comfortable, making this tough truck ideal for active families who indulge in the occasional road trip. The vehicle's small windows, however, do make outward visibility difficult.
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