2009 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 14/18 mpg
  • Bluetooth Yes
  • Navigation No
  • Heated Seats Yes

Review of the 2009 HUMMER H3

  • If you're drawn to the 2009 Hummer H3's Tonka-truck buff appearance and can make use of its segment-topping off-road capabilities, there's a lot to like here. But its poor fuel economy, significant lack of utility and unrefined nature make it difficult to recommend.

  • Safety
  • Pros

    Top off-road performer, smooth ride on pavement, straightforward cabin layout, comfortable seating.

  • Cons

    Lukewarm five-cylinder performance, poor outward visibility, tight on cargo space and rear headroom, lousy fuel economy, subpar cabin quality.

  • What's New for 2009

    The 2009 Hummer H3 soldiers on with several functional upgrades, including standard Bluetooth connectivity and hill-start assist, an available front locking differential and a revised rearview camera system. An optional H3X chrome appearance package adds a bit more distinction to V8 Alpha models. There is also a new H3T pickup model added to the Hummer line. (We reviewed it separately.)

Full 2009 HUMMER H3 Review

What's New for 2009

The 2009 Hummer H3 soldiers on with several functional upgrades, including standard Bluetooth connectivity and hill-start assist, an available front locking differential and a revised rearview camera system. An optional H3X chrome appearance package adds a bit more distinction to V8 Alpha models. There is also a new H3T pickup model added to the Hummer line. (We reviewed it separately.)


Hummer's sales are in a slide steeper than the hills the H3 can climb. Hummer drivers never seemed like the environmentalist sort to begin with, so let's assume that it's rising gas prices that are making these big off-roaders suddenly less popular than squid-flavored sorbet. Nevertheless, the 2009 Hummer H3 soldiers through these tumultuous times with a few more weapons added to its utility belt for this year. That's certainly good news for the folks who wanted one of these off-road warriors but couldn't afford them. Today, massive rebates make the already affordable H3 even more so -- but would you want one anyway?

Of course, the Hummer H3's most alluring aspect is carrying over: the brand's signature military-inspired styling elements, which include the gun-slit windows all around, expressive grille and oversized tires and wheel flares. For 2009, the reasonably sized Hummer H3 and V8-powered H3 Alpha add even more off-road function to their legendary form with standard hill-start assist and a driver-selectable full-locking front differential -- a factory first among vehicles with independent front suspensions -- as part of the available Off-Road Adventure package. In combination with its inherently generous ground clearance and short overhangs, these enhancements help the H3 maintain its terrain-conquering advantage over other rough-and-tumble competitors.

The Hummer H3's nearly 2.5-ton curb weight is also along for the ride, unfortunately, which doesn't translate quite as well when using it in highway mode. Its standard 3.7-liter inline-5 power plant labors against the hefty load and is ill-suited to such a large vehicle -- and GM actually lowered the horsepower and torque rating for this year, which isn't helpful. The Alpha model's more muscular 5.3-liter V8 boasts 300 horsepower and is the more satisfying choice, but you won't be winning any races or passing up many gas stations in either case. If you can live with that, and accept a more sedate pace, the H3 can tackle the daily routine decently, with a smooth ride over varying pavement and comfortable seating for four adults. If you're used to carrying a full load, however, keep in mind that rear-seat headroom and cargo space aren't overly generous for a vehicle in this segment.

The 2009 Hummer H3 can be a satisfying ride if you venture off-road regularly or are taken with its unique styling. However, its rivals -- whether purpose-built like the Jeep Wrangler Unlimited and Toyota FJ Cruiser, or more traditional SUV fare like the Jeep Grand Cherokee or Nissan Pathfinder -- tend to offer greater overall value and quality for most consumers. If you're looking for a road-going sport-utility vehicle with lively performance, decent fuel economy and ample cargo capacity, the Hummer H3 is not it.

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options

The 2009 Hummer H3 midsize sport-utility vehicle is available in two basic models: the base five-cylinder H3 and the more powerful Alpha. The standard H3 features 16-inch alloy wheels, full skid plates, hill-start assist, air-conditioning, cruise control, foglamps, keyless entry, OnStar, Bluetooth and a six-speaker CD player with satellite radio. The better equipped Alpha model adds a V8 engine, plus polished 16-inch wheels, leather-trimmed seating and steering wheel, carpeted floor mats, heated and power-adjustable front seats and a universal garage door opener. A Luxury Package outfits the base model with many of these extras plus a Monsoon audio system with a six-CD changer, while the H3X Appearance Package dresses up the H3 Alpha with a chrome fuel-filler cap, wheels and roof rack, plus other goodies. A sunroof, special metallic paints, a navigation system and a rearview camera system are also available.

Hummer H3s are offered with two suspension packages to suit different terrain requirements. The standard Z85 Heavy-Duty Handling and Trailering suspension provides more balanced on- and off-road performance, with 32-inch all-terrain tires and different rear-axle gearing. The optional Off-Road Adventure Package is designed for more aggressive off-pavement capabilities, with taller 33-inch tires, specially tuned shocks, a cast-iron front differential case, locking front and rear differentials and shorter transfer-case gearing for maximum control during hill climbs and descents. It also adds some of the Luxury Package's items, like a power driver seat and the upgraded Monsoon sound system.

Powertrains and Performance

All 2009 Hummer H3 models are equipped with full-time four-wheel drive and a two-speed transfer case. The standard engine is a 3.7-liter inline five-cylinder that generates 239 hp and 241 pound-feet of torque, backed by a standard five-speed manual transmission or optional four-speed automatic. Acceleration is unenthusiastic thanks to the H3's nearly 5,000-pound weight, and the maximum towing capacity is rated at a modest 4,500 pounds. EPA-estimated fuel economy checks in at 14 mpg city/18 mpg highway and 15 mpg combined with either transmission.

The Alpha model picks up the pace with a 5.3-liter V8 cranking out 300 horses and, more importantly, 320 lb-ft of mass-moving torque mated to a four-speed automatic transmission. Overall performance is noticeably improved, with 0-60 sprints in the 8-second range, and maximum towing capacity shoots up to 6,000 pounds. As expected, though, estimated fuel mileage suffers further, with a thirsty 13 mpg city/16 mpg highway rating and 14 mpg combined.


Antilock disc brakes, traction control, stability control, hill-start assist, OnStar and full-length side curtain airbags are standard on all H3s. In government crash tests, the H3 scored a perfect five out of five stars for driver protection and four stars for protection of the front passenger in frontal impacts. Side-impact testing resulted in five-star protection ratings for both front and rear passengers. In Insurance Institute for Highway Safety tests, the Hummer H3 was awarded a second-highest "Acceptable" rating in both frontal-offset and side-impact crash testing.

Interior Design and Special Features

The cabin is handsome in a utilitarian kind of way, which makes it seem a bit plain when compared to the Hummer H3's bold exterior design. The available leather seating livens things up a bit with a two-tone color scheme and contrasting piping. Build quality is passable, but check out the competition if you seek finer appointments. Also, stereo and climate interfaces aren't as user-friendly as those found in other GM vehicles. The seats are comfortable, though outward visibility is compromised for shorter drivers and passengers owing to the H3's high beltline and low-profile window design. Rear-seat occupants have plenty of room to stretch out once inside, but ingress and egress through the smallish door openings can be a challenge, and taller individuals may find headroom somewhat tight. Cargo capacity lags behind some rivals, at just 63 cubic feet with the seats folded. The cargo-floor liftover is also quite high, but easily accessed though the side-hinged rear door.

Driving Impressions

The standard inline-5 generally manages to keep up with traffic when tooling around town, but the Hummer H3's 4,700 pounds cause it to strain when tackling inclines and high-speed passing situations. The solution to this problem, of course, is the V8 engine found in the Alpha model. With it, the H3's character undergoes a transformation of sorts, with a muscular and much more promising exhaust note, and improved throttle response at all speeds. Off the road, the junior Hummer comes into its element and can overcome just about any terrain you encounter, owing to 9 inches of ground clearance, ample wheel travel, standard skid plates and impressive approach and departure angles. Given this off-road capability, the H3 performs admirably on pavement, with decent stability at speed. The ride is surprisingly smooth and belies the H3's tough-truck nature, but we would still advise you to steer clear of the 2009 Hummer H3 if you never intend to take it off the beaten path.

What Others Are Saying

Customer Reviews

I like this vehicle

by on
Vehicle: 2009 HUMMER H3 Alpha 4dr SUV 4WD (5.3L 8cyl 4A)

With V8 it performs very well as a beast defeating I Think all its competitor in its category it has solid built Also its not that bad in fuel economy it depend in how you drive it and its better than allot of off road vehicles in fuel economy it has standard quality appearance of interior which I prefer it simple and solid I like this car its all I need

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

Great vehicle

by on
Vehicle: 2009 HUMMER H3 4dr SUV 4WD (3.7L 5cyl 5M)

After searching for a reasonable off- road performer with some form of business class, I select the H3. I was drawn primarily by the look. I am very pleased with my purchase. The dealer was great and I highly recommend them. I had one minor problem, which was immediately addressed, great follow-up by the dealer and great service. The more I drive it the more I like it. Three misnomers that need to be overcome by Hummer: Their pricing is competitive The H3 does get competitive fuel economy Hummer is not representative of a mid- life crisis its a great family vehicle

So far, i love this

by on
Vehicle: 2009 HUMMER H3 Alpha 4dr SUV 4WD (5.3L 8cyl 4A)

This vehicle is quiet and comfortable. With the V8, it performs well and returns a mixed driving average around 18 MPG. Visibility is not as good as some vehicles but better than others, you decide. I always back with my mirrors, so the rear window thing does not bother me. In fact, it nicely blocks the headlights of idiots that tailgate and blind you. I would like to see Hummer make the footwell a bit more user friendly i.e. indenting the transmission tunnel a bit more where you need to rest your right foot. The left foot has a nice rest. The base stereo is quite sufficient. This vehicle is a beast and although its only been mine for a month, I anticipate that it will hold up well.

Hummer h3

by on
Vehicle: 2009 HUMMER H3 4dr SUV 4WD (3.7L 5cyl 5M)

I have had my H3 for about 3 weeks, and it is the best. I am getting almost 440 miles per tank. It's really fun to drive. The only after market thing that I have done to it is the H3T wheels that I had put on

Bimmer to hummer

by on
Vehicle: 2009 HUMMER H3 4dr SUV 4WD (3.7L 5cyl 5M)

if you own at least one gun, like to ride four wheelers and have a set of boots than this is the small SUV for you. I love my HUMMER it can go offroad and tow stuff and chicks dig it. it can drive in a flood and dry sandy beaches. offroad? i owned a JEEP on climbing and a Z71 in the mud (then pulled him out) can tow a mastercraft X2 as well as my dirtbikes and quads if you want a dude like SUV that tows the toys and owns Jeeps offroad than get an H3 after all, "it is what it is"


by on
Vehicle: 2009 HUMMER H3 4dr SUV 4WD (3.7L 5cyl 5M)

Glad I bought the H3 had a 4runner it was ok but I enjoy my Hummer gas mileage to me is similar to the Toyota sound system is awesome Edmunds review is a lil severe wish I cound buy another for my teenage daughter

Talk About The 2009 H3

2009 HUMMER H3 Discussions See all Started By

Hi, we have just purchased a 2009 Hummer H3 [used of course] with 35xxx miles and after taking delivery from the dealer I am experiencing a intermittent error code on the DIC stating to : SERVICE STAB...

Lease Hummer H3...

I was thinking of buying an H3 -2008 or 2009 and was wondering if anyone has bought one lately. Can you share the deal you got?...

Gas Mileage


  • 14
  • cty
  • 18
  • highway
Calculate Yearly Fuel Costs
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