Used 2009 HUMMER H3T Crew Cab Review

Edmunds expert review

As with most Hummer models, the 2009 Hummer H3T offers impressive off-road ability, a decent on-road demeanor and look-at-me styling. But the list of its faults is even longer. Rival midsize crew-cab pickups offer a better blend of performance, fuel mileage and cargo capacity.




What's new for 2009

For 2009, Hummer expands the H3 family with the H3T. This addition to the baby Hummer line forgoes the H3's covered cargo area for an open pickup bed. It rides on a stretched wheelbase, and its overall length is about 2 feet longer. Other H3 changes this year include standard Bluetooth connectivity and hill-start assist, an available front locking differential and a revised rearview camera system.

Vehicle overview

If you had three wishes, would one of them be that Hummer made a pickup truck? Hopefully not; that would be extremely lame. But if it were, in addition to world peace and 10 million bucks, you could now get a big boy's Tonka truck. Yep, for 2009, Hummer is rolling out the H3T. Essentially the H3 SUV with a longer wheelbase and an open pickup bed instead of a wagon-style back, this new addition to the Hummer family should more than satisfy one's need to have the toughest-looking crew cab in the Home Depot parking lot.

Virtually everything good and bad about the regular H3 still stands. This means you'll likely dig the rugged styling cues (which include the industrial grille, the massive wheel flares and the armored-car-style windows), brag about its impressive off-road capabilities (thanks to aggressive approach and departure angles, generous ground clearance and standard skid plates) and lament its outward visibility and fuel mileage (13 city/16 highway with the V8).

Yes, although the 2009 Hummer H3T is essentially part of the baby-Hummer H3 line, it's still a typical Hummer, meaning it weighs about 25 percent more than even car guys like us would guess. We're talking nearly 5,000 pounds here -- about a thousand more than a Caddy DTS and equal to the weight of two Honda Fits. To move all that mass, the H3T has a five-cylinder engine that pumps out a meager 239 horsepower and 241 pound-feet of torque. Of course, if you choose the aptly named Alpha trim level, you'll get a brawny V8 that cranks out 300 hp and 320 lb-ft. Either way, you're looking at not-so-great fuel economy.

All said, the 2009 Hummer H3T doesn't make a whole lot of sense. (Maybe you'll want one of your three wishes back.) Instead, we'd suggest checking out other more space- and fuel-efficient alternatives such as the Honda Ridgeline, Nissan Frontier Crew Cab and Toyota Tacoma Double Cab.




Trim levels & features

The 2009 Hummer H3T is a midsize crew-cab pickup truck that's available in two trim levels: base and the more powerful Alpha. The base H3T features 16-inch steel wheels, full skid plates, air-conditioning, cruise control, OnStar telematics, Bluetooth connectivity, keyless entry, full power accessories and a six-speaker CD stereo with satellite radio. The Alpha adds the V8 engine, alloy wheels and embroidered headrests.

Two packages are available for the base H3T. The Adventure Package adds an off-road suspension, a shorter-geared transfer case for better hill-climbing and descending, front and rear locking differentials, 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 and heated front seats and oversized floor mats. The H3T Alpha's oddly named Alpha Leather Package has the features of the Luxury Package along with chrome wheels and exterior trim. Major options for both include a power sunroof, an in-dash six-CD changer, a navigation system and a rearview camera.



Performance & mpg

All 2009 Hummer H3T 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 239 hp and 241 lb-ft of torque. The standard transmission is a five-speed manual, and a four-speed automatic is optional. Although the five makes decent power, it's simply outmatched by the H3T's near-5,000-pound mass, so acceleration is leisurely at best. Towing capacity is rated at 4,400 pounds when properly equipped, and EPA fuel economy estimates stand at 14 mpg city/18 mpg highway and 15 mpg combined 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 5,900 pounds, and we'd expect its performance to be about the same as the H3 Alpha, which sprinted from zero to 60 mph in a relatively quick 8 seconds flat. With this engine, fuel economy drops slightly to a 13/16/14 mpg rating.

Safety

Antilock disc brakes, traction control, stability control, the OnStar communications system and full-length side curtain airbags are all standard.

Driving

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 2009 Hummer H3T grows winded, a result of its insufficient power for the vehicle's 4,900 pounds and bricklike aerodynamic efficiency. The H3T Alpha fares better. Throttle response is crisper with the V8 and it pulls harder through the midrange, but again, due to the considerable mass at hand, it's not the massive transformation one might expect.

Even though the H3T's longer wheelbase makes it less maneuverable on trails than the regular H3, it's still basically unstoppable when equipped with the Adventure Package. With 9.5 inches of ground clearance, loads of wheel travel, aggressive approach and departure angles, oversized all-terrain tires and standard skid plates, the H3T can pretty much go anywhere without taking damage. Given this off-road capability, the H3T 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 H3T if you never intend to take it off the beaten path.

Interior

Although the overall design is fairly handsome, the H3T's rather plain interior doesn't quite match its macho exterior. Build quality is solid, but the H3T's competitors utilize nicer materials. Also, stereo and climate interfaces aren't as user-friendly as those found in other GM vehicles. Still, the versions with the leather seating have an attractive two-tone color scheme along with contrasting piping on the seats, which spruces things up.

The seats are comfortable, though many 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. The cargo box is about 5 feet long; though this is about the same as the offerings from the H3T's chief rivals, they typically offer 6-foot boxes as well.

Edmunds expert review process

This review was written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.

We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.