2008 Hummer H2 - Review / Road Test

Hummer H2 on the rought stuff at the Port

Did you see the short shorts?

I took a Hummer H2 up to Staples for the Lakers/Celtics showdown a month or so ago, snared a seat twelve rows from the court and got the T-shirt to prove it.

Trick is, the only thing more spectacular on the night that the Lakers were basically outplayed and over-awed by a Celtics team that lately was the first to qualify for the playoffs, was the plush leather-wrapped interior of what was previously a pretty spartan machine. When did Hummers get this upscale? When did they get heated rear seats?

As a big thankyou to the neighbor for procuring such amazing seats for the biggest NBA game of the season, I took him and the other neighbor, and the wife, up to Staples in the big beast - you know, the one whose near 6 foot 6-inch vertical measurement, or round about Kobe's height - makes you nervously duck your head in parking garages across the Southland. Now you know what Pau Gasol feels like.

Getting dirty

I'd taken out the H3 a year or two back and photographed it next to fire trucks, where the baby Hummer stood up to the big red monsters. Now it was time for the H2, which, despite its  8,400lb heft, I found a good bit smaller in road-going terms than its 190-inch-long footprint suggested.

It may be versatile, but you can bet it's lost none of its meanness. More than once I caught a glimpse in the dash-mounted rear-camera view of a Prius parked outside the neighbor's house and -- perhaps as a result of unashamedly riding about in an estimated  11 mpg beast  -- may have thought about rolling over the top of Toyota's seemingly smug, ramp-like lines. I'm just kidding, obviously.

What you get for your hard-earned on the Special Edition I took out for a week is the optional luxury package, added at a cost of $6,410, bringing total cost to $65, 815 less tax.  This included chrome accents inside and out, DVD/data/satnav system, Bose soundsystem, power sunroof and 17” aluminum rims. 

Powertain is a 6.2 liter V8 Vortec engine twinned to a six-speed automatic transmission, and perched on independent front suspension with coil springs at rear.

Ride is remarkably good, with multiple stability controls and independent suspension smoothing out the worst of the chassis' deficiencies on the open road and much of L.A.'s dipping and soaring freeway surfaces. Choice of two and four-wheel drive add to its suitability on road resulting in something that approaches, just barely, the experience of, say, a Range Rover or BMW X5, though it's not there yet in terms of handling. It's got a good dunt of heft behind it, and its change of pace in the lanes is Kobe-esque courtesy of its big-block power and hydraulic four-wheel-disc brakes.

So I didn't take it off-road, though I did rag it around some rough stuff at the port, where it performed admirably as a result of its (as Edmunds.com points out), 10 inches of ground clearance, 42-degree approach and 38-degree departure angles, generous wheel travel and a protected underbody.

Note: We went up to Staples with a guy who's had Lakers season tickets 10 rows back since about, oh, 1978 at least. He's seen Magic, Kareem and Worthy win five titles. He was there for Shaq, Kobe's triple-winning efforts. He was high-fiving fellow fans all the way down to his seat and all through the guided tour he gave us of high-end bars and restaurants in and around Staples. And all he could say to people all the way to his seat was: "Came here in a Hummer," "Rode up here in a Hummer, you know," and "Hummer, baby!"

Can you say Showtime?

Chrome accents on rugged front grille

When did interiors get this tony?

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