2005 Hummer H2 SUT
Hummer’s new H2 SUT is equally at home pulling a boat as it is off road.
Some may find it a little embarrassing to park a vehicle such as the H2 SUT in front of their house, lest a passerby suspect them of compensating for, uh, well, other things. Others may feel no such pangs, but one notion is clear about the new H2 SUT, and its SUV sibling, for that matter: Though it pulls a lot of trailer and can claw its way over virtually anything, it is loathe to pass a gas station without having to stop in for a refill.
On a 1,000-mile trip towing a boat to different bodies of water, we used about $250 worth of gasoline, which doesn’t seem all that unbelievable. Our trip included numerous grades—some quite steep—on which the H2 SUT needed to rev to 4,500 rpm for up to 15 minutes at a time. By trip’s end, we had averaged 9.2 mpg with a boat in tow, and with a 32-gallon tank, 250 miles is about all the farther you get before it’s time to look for a filling station.
If there is one vehicle on the planet that screams for diesel power, it’s this one. General Motor’s new 6.6-liter DuraMax would be a nice option for people who want its torque and relative fuel economy.
In fairness, this is a full-time four-wheel drive vehicle—not known for their fuel economy—and we were pulling a boat heavier than the H2 SUT was rated to tow. Fuel mileage was our biggest gripe with the H2 SUT. We also would have liked to see more cargo room, but we don’t know where the engineers would find it.
The spare tire had been moved from the interior to a swinging carrier aft of the tailgate, which created more room. The midgate opened to form a 4-foot by 6-foot bed and the truck came with an optional roof rack. However, the front seats must be powered forward so the rear seat backs can fold flat, and couldn’t be powered all the way back with the midgate down.
With just two guys on a three-day trip, a couple of carry-on bags, two radar-gun cases, a carry-on-size camera case, some tools, boat wash and flush equipment, the truck didn’t have much room left. There was room for one more guy and his gear, but four people would have required that luggage be lashed to the roof rack.
But let’s be reasonable about what kind of truck this is. It is not a Suburban or an Excursion nor is it marketed as such. It’s designed to be as formidable off road as it is on modern freeways. For example, the H2 can ford streams up to 20 inches deep, crawl over rocks and steps up to 16 inches tall and plow through deep sand. Try that in a Suburban or an Excursion.
Like the 2003 H2 SUV we tested, the SUT is a competent tow vehicle. It’s features a comfortable interior, it’s quiet on the freeway and stable in stiff crosswinds, which we experienced in numerous places on our “desert tour.” Though the boat was heavier than its tow rating, the truck remained solid and didn’t get “tugged” around by the tongue weight.
Hummer did make some improvements over the previous year’s model, most notably the look and feel of the interior. The SUT’s predecessor had a decent interior, but the shifter—still thankfully reminiscent of boat-tail Buick Rivieras—and some of the interior dash panels exuded a cheap, plasticky feel. Those materials are gone now in favor of black soft-touch plastic that has a much better look and feel.
A couple of other interior features we enjoyed were the transmission temperature gauge, which was great on those long high-rpm slopes and three 12-volt outlets in the console, which were handy for recharging cell phones when traveling through battery-draining stretches of analog-service desert. There were two more power outlets on the rear of the console for back-seat passengers. We also liked the “global express down” switch on the door, which lowered all four door windows and the power glass in the midgate. Add a sunroof, which came on our test model and you have darn near open-air motoring.
The midgate window made backing into tight spaces easier because you could hear your helper screaming at you to stop before you took out a Saab. And it was just one of a couple of items that made the H2 SUT well-suited for towing.
For one, the ride was far better than you’d expect from this breed of four-wheel drive. GM literature says the ride quality is due largely to the fully welded ladder-type frame, which features a “modular three-piece design incorporating a number of hydroformed components.” No doubt, the front torsion bars and a rear five-link coil spring setup helped. We also noticed a distinct lack of vibration, squeaks and rattles, something we always admire.
In terms of equipment, the H2 SUT now boasts 10 more horsepower over the previous year’s model. It also comes with a receiver in the front and rear bumpers, which means you can hook your trailer to the front of the truck and push it in head-first instead of having to back it in. The receiver also doubles as a place to mount a temporary winch if the truck should get stuck. We also liked automatic leveling system, which we believe helped contribute to the truck’s towing stability.
With all these disparate qualities, it makes you ask the question: Who is this truck for? Well, it’s not for everyone, but in an ideal world, it’s for the person who needs lots of off-road capabilities, but still needs to tow 6,500-plus pounds. If we had to guess, we’d say that customer likely lives and plays in the mountains and boats on mountain lakes. He also lives near a gas station.
EPA Fuel Economy Estimates
City... NA mpg
Highway... NA mpg
0-60 towing... 17.87 seconds
40-60 towing... 11.08 seconds
0-60 non-towing... 11.45 seconds
40-60 non-towing... 6.52 seconds
Engine... 6.0-liter Vortec V-8
Horsepower... 325 @ 5,200 rpm
Torque... 365 pound-feet @ 4000 rpm
Compression ratio... 9.4:1
Transmission... Four-speed electronic automatic
Axle ratio... 4.10:1
Fuel capacity... 32 gal.
Tire size... LT315-70R-17
Brakes... Four-wheel disc with antilock
Suspension... Front: independent with torsion bars; Rear: five-link live axle with coil springs.
Curb weight... 6,400 lb.
Tow rating... 6,700 lb.
Gross Vehicle Weight Rating... 8,600 lb.
Gross Combined Weight Rating... 15,300 lb.
Overall length... 203.5"
Maximum width... 81.2"
Price as tested... $57,860
2003 Formula 271 FAS3Tech
Customer service... 800-REAL-4WD
Web site... www.hummer.com