The latest chapter in the story is the Hummer H3, designed in response to demand from global markets for a premium everyday driving vehicle, offering the legendary Hummer performance. Developed for markets around the world and built in South Africa, the H3 embodies Hummer's unique styling features and iconic shape. In addition, the H3 has a premium interior design and a 3.7-litre engine with the choice of a manual or automatic transmission and a full-time four-wheel drive system. H3 packs its authentic Hummer style and capability into more compact dimensions. Compared to the Hummer H2, the H3 is 39 mm shorter, 171 mm lower and 73 mm narrower. Roughly the same length as a larger family saloon, H3 can navigate city traffic, yet still deliver Hummer's trademark crawling and climbing capability off-road.
The 4,782 mm long Hummer H3 is powered by General Motor's Vortec 3.7-litre engine with dual overhead camshafts and variable valve timing. Specifically designed for this type of vehicle, it delivers 180 kW at 5600 rpm and 328 Nm of torque at 4600 rpm. H3 is the first Hummer ever to offer the choice of a manual or an automatic transmission. In addition to the Hydra-Matic 4L60 electronically controlled four-speed automatic transmission, a smooth-shifting five-speed manual transmission is available, offering ultimate driver control. At the heart of the Hummer H3's capability is its electronically controlled four-wheel drive system. The system is augmented with traction control, an optional locking rear differential and StabiliTrak stability control, which is offered as standard. The H3 can ford 407 mm deep water at 32 km/h or 610 mm deep streams at an 8 km/h pace, and climb 407 mm vertical steps or rocks.
This off-road performance is also aided by the "wheel at each corner" design giving a maximum approach angle of 37.5 degrees and maximum departure angle of 35.5 degrees. These approach and departure angles permit the H3 to drive into a hole and back out again, without getting hung up at the front or the rear. The H3's more compact size provides manoeuvrability advantages, such as an 11.3m turning circle, making equally easy work of parking manoeuvres or tight turns when off-roading. A 219 mm ground clearance and maximum breakover angle of 23.5 degrees make it possible to clear large obstacles in off-road driving.
At the recent New York Motor Show General Motors introduced a more powerful, yet more fuel efficient 2008 model Hummer H2. The new H2 will feature a redesigned interior that complements the vehicle's ruggedness with refinement. New standard safety features include roof rail curtain air bags. The Hummer H3 'Alpha' was also unveiled in New York. Alpha will designate the Hummer brand's performance series. With a 220 kW V8 engine and Hummer's trademark off-road capability, the H3 Alpha is top dog - on the trails or the tarmac. "The 2008 Hummer H2 represents a major step in the evolution of this iconic vehicle," said Martin Walsh, Hummer general manager. "From performance to comfort to safety and overall refinement, the new H2 lineup delivers more of what customers expect from Hummer; they will be especially impressed with the new, more refined interior."
The new powertrain combination consists of a 6.2L all aluminium small-block V8 engine, rated at 293 kW - an increase of about 20 percent over the previous engine - and a Hydra-Matic 6L80 six-speed automatic transmission. Performance optimising engine technologies, such as variable valve timing, and the six-speeds wide gear ratios, including a "tall" overdrive gear, enable the improved performance and efficiency over previous models. "This is one of those rare instances where enhanced performance is matched with improved efficiency," said Walsh. "More power in the H2 helps make highway maneouvers, such as entering from a freeway on ramp, feel effortless while simultaneously bolstering towing capability."
New, luxury appointed interior:
While drivers will feel the '08 H2's improved performance on the road, they'll appreciate it more while experiencing it in the all new interior. It features a completely redesigned instrument panel, new seats - including a full third row seat for two passengers - new door trim panels, controls, rear seat heating/air conditioning system, rear seat overhead DVD entertainment system and a new family of premium radios. Seats in the H2 have a new, chiselled appearance and offer improved comfort. Complementing the new seats are new door trim panels and an all new instrument panel and six gauge instrument cluster that features a more refined appearance and better tolerances. In fact, the new interior is designed with interior gap tolerances of one millimetre or less. Soft touch materials and new, more tactile controls enhance the feeling of craftsmanship.
A new centre stack houses the climate controls and a new family of GM radios - including a standard premium Bose audio system and an available surround sound system. The instrument panel also features new vents that enhance heating or cooling comfort throughout the vehicle - particularly for the second- and third row seats. Numerous convenience features are either new or carried over into the '08 H2, such as a new rear seat overhead DVD entertainment system, a navigation system, a rear view camera system and heated windshield washer fluid. OnStar and XM Satellite Radio are standard.
The heart of the '08 H2 is a new, 6.2L V8 engine that uses variable valve timing technology to maximise performance and fuel efficiency. It is rated at 293 kW and 574Nm of torque. The engine also features lightweight materials, including an aluminium cylinder block, which helps reduce the vehicle's overall mass. The 6.2L V8's technologically advanced features also help it meet new federal emissions standards a year before mandatory implementation. A new six-speed Hydra-Matic 6L80 RWD electronically controlled automatic transmission backs the 6.2L engine. The six-speed automatic has a wide, 6.04:1 overall ratio - including two overdrive gears - that helps deliver an excellent balance of performance and fuel economy. Also, the 6L80 has a "tap up/tap down" capability that allows the driver to manually select upshifts and downshifts with a button on the column shifter. The new powertrain combination helps the 2008 H2 and H2 SUT deliver an additional 771 kg in towing capacity - an increase from 2,948 kg to 3,727 kg.
A host of additional powertrain revisions also contributes to the H2's improved performance and efficiency, including:
_ Larger capacity cooling system complements larger, more powerful engine
_ Electric engine cooling fans reduce "drag" on engine, enabling more horsepower
_ Regulated voltage control maximises fuel economy by charging electrical components only when necessary
_ New LAN electrical architecture is more efficient and uses less electrical energy
_ Standard 3.73 rear axle ratio
Off-road acumen also was enhanced with the new powertrain system. The 6L80 transmission's tap up/tap down feature provides more control on grades and it offers automatic grade braking. It also improves the off-road crawl ratio to approximately 39:1 - an improvement of about 20 percent. The transfer case is improved in the '08 H2; it is stronger with improved performance. A new traction control system also is standard, which helps ensure sure footed traction in most driving conditions. Driving performance off the road or on is enhanced by a revised steering gear that has a quicker ratio and improved on-center returnability. The driving experience also is quieter and more refined, thanks to new, tuned air intake and exhaust systems.
Complementing the H2 lineup's performance and comfort changes are enhancements to the safety system. They include several new standard features:
_ Roof rail head curtain side air bags for first, second and third row passengers with rollover sensing system
_ Safety belt pretensioners (first-row seats)
_ Electronic stability control system with rollover mitigation technology
_ New traction control system
_ Tyre pressure monitoring system
Also new is a panic brake assist feature - the first application for a full-size GM truck or SUV - which detects emergency braking situations and maintains maximum brake pressure to help stop the vehicle more quickly and with more control. It is a standard feature on all H2 models. Also, the standard OnStar system now offers the optional Turn-By-Turn navigation system. Additional optional features that contribute to a safer driving experience include Hummer's Rear Vision System - a rear view camera system - and a navigation system.
All 2008 H2 models are distinguished from previous models with functional changes that maintain Hummer's instantly recognisable design identity. The iconic, seven-slot grille features larger openings and the lower grille also is enlarged, accommodating the cooling needs of the more powerful 6.2L V8 engines. The lower bumpers on '08 models are painted silver (previous models had black lower bumpers).
The soul of a Hummer
While the '08 H2 is offered with a new powertrain and interior, its foundation remains the same: a fully welded ladder-type frame that features a modular, three-piece design incorporating a number of hydroformed components. This design delivers outstanding strength, stiffness and dimensional accuracy. The H2 has short overhangs for radical approach and departure angles, and exceptional ground clearance for minimal impact on trails. Standard 17-inch wheels, heavy-duty independent front suspension and a five-link rear suspension provide superior handling, carrying and towing capability. The solid rear axle ensures durable sure footedness, particularly in tight, off-road situations. Also standard is underbody protection and rocker protection.
These elements help the H2 deliver on Hummer's mantra of capability, including travelling through streams 508 mm deep, climbing 406 mm steps and rocks and paddling through deep sand or snow. A new, four channel anti-lock braking/ traction control system (ABS/TCS) provides optimum control on slippery surfaces. In addition, the ABS can detect and adjust its braking capabilities to rough off-road surfaces like gravel and potholes. The TCS also includes the ability to gain traction through a single wheel, if necessary, and more wheel slip in a second traction control mode for sand and desert racing conditions. A self-leveling rear air spring suspension system is available for extreme off-road and towing requirements.