Most noticeable and most forbidding of the sport utility vehicles on the market, the current Hummer H1 is considered by many to be the biggest and toughest SUV of them all whether its rumbling down a paved road or through the most rigorously demanding offroad trek. No wonder its been the vehicle of choice for celebrities such as muscleman actor Arnold Schwarzenegger, who has served as an eager company spokesman.
Both the military and civilian versions of the Hummer continue to be built at AM Generals plant in Indiana, but General Motors now owns the marketing and distribution rights to the Hummer brand and plans to begin selling vehicles through some of its dealers. GM will continue to market the bigger Hummer H1 after the new, smaller H2 model goes on sale during 2002. A total of 875 Hummers were sold in 2000.
A handful of upgrades add to the 2002 Hummers appeal, including new 17-inch forged aluminum wheels, LED side marker lights and a reshaped center console. A high torque-biasing ratio differential aims to improve mobility and performance. Because of its gross vehicle weight, which is well above 8,500 pounds, the Hummer H1 falls into a heavier-duty category than other SUVs and does not have to meet the usual federal safety, emissions or fuel economy requirements.
Not only does the Hummer present a massive appearance on the road, but versatility is one of its hallmarks. The immense four-door H1 is sold in three ways: with a hardtop over its open cargo bed, with a folding soft-top or as a four-door wagon with an enclosed cargo area. With an overall length of 184 inches, a 130-inch wheelbase and 72-inch track (the width between the wheels), the overpowering H1 is easy to spot from a distance.
The H1s 16-inch ground clearance is more than twice as much as most SUVs. In fact, AM General claims a Hummer can run through water as deep as 30 inches without a mishap.
Four seats are spread around the perimeter of the Hummers interior, so occupants are separated by a massive center tunnel that houses transmission and drivetrain components. Despite its militarylike external appearance, the Hummer offers a selection of comfort and convenience features, which include an optional Monsoon sound system.
Under the Hood
Powering the H1 is a 6.5-liter turbo-diesel V-8 based on a GM design which develops 194 horsepower and a burly 430 pounds-feet of torque. The V-8 works with a GM four-speed adaptive automatic transmission and a permanently engaged four-wheel-drive system that has a Low range and locking differentials. Hummer claims the H1 can climb grades as steep as 60 degrees.
Antilock brakes are standard. Because the Hummer falls into a heavy-duty vehicle category, airbags are not required.
Nothing else comes close to the experience of driving a Hummer, whether its on an ordinary highway or through the most daunting terrain. Nothing else looks like a Hummer, which makes it an ideal vehicle for owners who like to be noticed.
What surprises the first-time rider is the close quarters inside the vehicle. Despite the Hummers mammoth exterior dimensions, the interior layout places each occupant into an almost claustrophobic compartment.
Not for a moment do you forget that youre inside a truck and a mighty big one at that with all the sounds and drones to demonstrate that fact. With the ability to power its way up astounding grades and lean way over on its side to ease across rocky terrain, the H1 isnt your typical ride to the grocery store. Despite an impressive ground clearance, its by no means impossible to get stuck, as more than one offroader has learned when pushing past the vehicles abundant limits. Fortunately, theres a winch at hand to pull you out of trouble spots, should the need ever arise.