2008 HUMMER H3 SUV Review | Edmunds.com


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Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) is a category of used car. Often late-model vehicles, they have been inspected, refurbished, if necessary, and are under warranty by the manufacturer.
HUMMER H3 Features and Specs

Features & Specs

  • Engine 3.7 L Inline 5-cylinder
  • Drivetrain Four Wheel Drive
  • Transmission 5-speed Manual
  • Horse Power 242 hp @ 5600 rpm
  • Fuel Economy 13/18 mpg
  • Bluetooth No
  • Navigation No
  • Heated Seats Yes

Review of the 2008 HUMMER H3

  • Along with its eye-catching looks, the 2008 Hummer H3 provides a surprisingly competent drive both on-road and off. However, competitors offer a better blend of performance, fuel economy and cargo capacity.

  • Safety
  • Pros

    Serious off-road ability, smooth ride on pavement, stable handling, simple cabin controls, comfortable seats.

  • Cons

    Tepid performance with inline-5, poor outward visibility for shorter drivers, subpar cargo space, terrible gas mileage.

  • What's New for 2008

    A new "Alpha" trim level debuts for the 2008 Hummer H3, giving the pudgy SUV what it needed most -- a serious infusion of power via a 5.3-liter V8. Other notable changes this year include standard side curtain airbags and the availability of a rearview camera.

Full 2008 HUMMER H3 Review

What's New for 2008

A new "Alpha" trim level debuts for the 2008 Hummer H3, giving the pudgy SUV what it needed most -- a serious infusion of power via a 5.3-liter V8. Other notable changes this year include standard side curtain airbags and the availability of a rearview camera.


From afar, the 2008 Hummer H3 is hard to discern from its bulkier H2 brother. And that's the idea; the smaller Hummer H3 has all the brand's signature styling cues -- the industrial grille, the massive wheel flares, the armored car-style windows -- that make these life-size Tonka trucks so appealing to so many consumers.

But the whole point of the H3, and the reason why it's Hummer's best-selling model, is that it's much more reasonable in terms of size and cost. The H3 is a little more than half the cost of the H2, and it's easier to park as well. Off-road, the H3 can still rock with the best of them. With its aggressive approach and departure angles, generous ground clearance, standard skid plates and optional 33-inch off-road tires, there's no denying the H3's extreme capabilities on rugged terrain. Hard-core off-road enthusiasts can even opt for a 4:1 low-range gearing that allows the H3 to creep down very steep trails without using the brakes.

However, the smaller H3 also carries on another unfortunate Hummer tradition: a heavy curb weight. Even though it's the junior member of the Hummer family, it still weighs nearly 5,000 pounds. And although its 3.7-liter inline-5 was pumped up last year to 242 horsepower and 242 pound-feet of torque, it's still not enough to move with any verve something that weighs more than a Lincoln Town Car. Alas, a savior comes this year in the form of a new Alpha trim level. Its muscular 5.3-liter V8 engine cranks out 300 hp and 320 lb-ft. Hummer claims a 0-60-mph time of 8.0 seconds for the new Alpha, which is a respectable time but hardly thrill-inducing.

Although it may not be speedy, the H3 is not without its daily charms. In the real world of after-school activities, big box stores and commuting to work, the H3 proves surprisingly adept. The ride is smooth over broken pavement and the seats comfortably accommodate four adults, although as with the H2, rear-seat headroom is tight.

As such, the 2008 Hummer H3 can be a satisfying vehicle to own, especially for those drawn to its distinctive styling and macho image. But there are better overall midsize SUVs out there. Other models like the Nissan Xterra, Toyota's FJ Cruiser and 4Runner and Jeep Grand Cherokee offer stronger performance, better fuel mileage, a nicer interior and more generous cargo capacity.

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options

The 2008 Hummer H3 is a midsize SUV that's available in three trim levels: base, the luxury-trimmed H3X and the performance-oriented Alpha. The base H3 features 16-inch alloy wheels, full skid plates, air-conditioning, cruise control, OnStar telematics, keyless entry, full power accessories and a six-speaker CD stereo with satellite radio. The 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. The Alpha adds a V8 engine and the interior luxury features of the H3X, but has 16-inch chrome wheels and lacks the exterior gingerbread of such things as the chrome brush guard and side steps.

Two packages are 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, 33-inch off-road tires and a Monsoon audio system with a six-CD changer. The Luxury package comes with the Monsoon system, leather upholstery, power/heated front seats and oversized floor mats. Major options include an in-dash six-CD changer, a navigation system and a rearview camera.

Powertrains and Performance

All 2008 Hummer H3 models come with full-time four-wheel drive with a two-speed transfer case. All except the Alpha are powered by a 3.7-liter, inline five-cylinder engine that makes 242 hp and 242 lb-ft of torque. The standard transmission is a five-speed manual, and a four-speed automatic is optional. Although the five makes good power, it's simply outmatched by the H3's near-5,000-pound mass so acceleration is leisurely at best. Towing capacity is rated at 4,500 pounds when properly equipped and EPA fuel economy estimates (using the more realistic testing for 2008) are 14 mpg city and 18 mpg highway with either transmission.

The Alpha features a 5.3-liter V8 (with 300 hp and 320 lb-ft of torque) mated to a four-speed automatic transmission. Towing capacity goes up to 6,000 pounds, and we expect overall performance to be notably better. With this engine, fuel economy drops slightly to a 13/16 mpg rating.


Antilock disc brakes, traction control, stability control, the OnStar communications system and full-length side curtain airbags are all standard. In National Highway Transportation Safety Administration crash tests, the 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 for both front and rear. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety awarded the H3 its second-highest rating of "Acceptable" in both frontal offset and side-impact crash-testing.

Interior Design and Special Features

Although the overall design is fairly handsome, the H3's rather plain interior doesn't quite match its macho exterior. Build quality is OK, but its competitors utilize nicer materials. Still, the versions with the leather seating have an attractive two-tone color scheme that spruces things up and contrasting piping on the seats. The seats are comfortable, though shorter drivers may take issue with the high beltline and low-profile window design, as they lead to lousy outward visibility. Rear-seat passengers enjoy ample legroom and decent support, but taller folks may find themselves uncomfortably close to the roof. Cargo capacity, at 29.5 cubic feet (seats up) and 55.7 cubes (seats folded) is below average for this class, though the side-hinged cargo door provides easy access.

Driving Impressions

At low speeds with the inline-5, 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 aerodynamics of a brick. The 2008 Hummer H3 Alpha fares better. The low, muscular hum from the V8's exhaust is just about right for a butch SUV like the H3, and compared to the raspy sound of the standard inline-5, the Alpha sounds like Bigfoot. Throttle response is a little better with the V8 and 1st gear has some real push to it, but it's not the massive transformation one might expect.

Off-road, the smallest Hummer 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 H3 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.

What Others Are Saying

Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

More comments on hummer than

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Vehicle: 2008 HUMMER H3 Alpha 4dr SUV 4WD (5.3L 8cyl 4A)

As a previous owner of an Escalade and BMW X5 I am impressed. The Alpha has plenty of power when you need it and cruises smooth at 85-90. This thing is build very tough and think it is the ideal vehicle for anywhere. If the term MPG is even a worry keep looking, while I do get 15-16 hwy it isn't pretty when driving in traffic. Overall I think this is a nice all around vehicle but not quite the space of larger suvs. Went between this and a H2 and chose the smaller, and am happy with that choice.

Wish they still made them

by on
Vehicle: 2008 HUMMER H3 4dr SUV 4WD (3.7L 5cyl 5M)

We bought our first H3 in 2006 and just bought another used for me in 2010. I SO wish they still made these! Most comfortable SUV out there. Absolutely love the drive and I don't get run off the road out here in TX! Only complaint is takes forever when you step on the gas, but put in a shot of Gumout fuel injector cleaner, and gave me a little more umph! Despite be the best vehicle I've ever owned (out of 10!), if you get a chance, get the extended warranty. After 4 yrs., the security system and engine coil had to be replaced ($1200), but that's about it. If they still made these things we'd get another. Wish someone would buy Hummer and keep in American!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

Best looking suv out there!

by on
Vehicle: 2008 HUMMER H3 4dr SUV 4WD (3.7L 5cyl 5M)

Just bought my H3 luxury with 40,000 miles. I love the exterior and interior design. The engine is only a 3.7 and its a little underpowered but its not TOO bad. I think GM should of put a bigger engine in it. The fuel economy is whats expected from a mid- size suv. Im getting about 17 mpg combined. I think the interior set-up is one of the nicest from GM. The visibility is not great but not a big issue for taller drivers. The leather is very comfortable and the sunroof is huge! The monsoon system is banging. It turns heads like crazy! I love this car and wont get rid of in until the wheels fall off!


by on
Vehicle: 2008 HUMMER H3 4dr SUV 4WD (3.7L 5cyl 5M)

I bought a loaded 2008 H3 with just 30k miles and kept it just 5 weeks before trading it back into the dealership. In that 5 weeks, I had to buy a $150 battery (come to find out it was the third battery the vehicle has went through) and jump start the vehicle 4 times something that you shouldn't have to do to a $25,000 SUV. When it did actually start, I found the 5 cylinder engine woefully under- powered which would be acceptable if it got better that 14 miles per gallon (My trade-in was an '03 F150 4x4 V-8 that got that good!) The H3 looks are fantastic but as my wife "It's all show and no go". That coming from a woman who drives a 2009 Scion xb 4cyc. After 5wks, I traded.

African h3 - everybodies dream

by on
Vehicle: 2008 HUMMER H3 4dr SUV 4WD (3.7L 5cyl 5M)

I love this car, SUV, truck, transporter or call it what you like. The only negative comments I ever get is from somebody that does not drive one. My wife and my 2 kids love the HUMMER. Out here in South Africa we have a lot of trails, bush and off road areas and we just wish we had more time to track them all. It parks easy, drive comfy and attracts attention

Confident truck for a family

by on
Vehicle: 2008 HUMMER H3 Alpha 4dr SUV 4WD (5.3L 8cyl 4A)

As a former single Dad and now father of 8 I wanted a truck that never let me down regardless of road conditions so I could always get to my kids or get them where they need to be. H3 is for me! Comfortable, fun, unique, and the power of a full-size truck without the waste of a flat bed I didn't need. Sightlines are nice, ride sits high, and people who know how to use mirrors should have no problem with the Hummer. Back-up assist is nice, but not required if you use your mirrors. Do not buy this truck if you are going to stress about gas! Love the combination of substance under the hood and style throughout! The 4Runner is great under the hood, but can't touch the H3!

Talk About The 2008 H3

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Gas Mileage


  • 13
  • cty
  • 18
  • highway
Calculate Yearly Fuel Costs
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