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New car reviews

2009 Hummer H3T

Hummer H3T adds a truck box to fashion a sport utility truck

Bob Plunkett, Tue, 20 Jan 2009 08:00:00 PDT

MOAB, Utah -- To trek by motorized means across Hell's Revenge, a treacherous trail charted over sandstone domes in red-rock Utah canyons near Moab, requires a high-hiking vehicle of awesome strength with all of the muscle applied to all of the wheels.The big-wheel vehicle working for our trip over Hell's Revenge fits those requirements, and then some.It's a substantial package, stretching seventeen feet long and seven wide with the roof rising six feet high.

Massive all-terrain tires lift the chassis high off the ground as the vehicle's nose and tail pare projecting body parts to set up dramatic angles that work so well when approaching or departing the walls of stone.It produces tremendous power and massive torque from a V8 engine.

And it carries a full-time four-wheel-drive (4WD) system with locking differentials for slow-speed crawling over large rocks or up daunting grades.But this particular machine goes way beyond the rules for typical off-road wagons because it also contains the abbreviated bed of a pickup truck that's large enough to haul a pair of motocross bikes or a quad or backcountry gear to the trailhead.Further, it provides the spacious cabin of a sport utility wagon with four passenger doors and two rows of comfortable seats for five riders plus fancy amenities extending to leather upholstery, a navigation system and rearview camera.

It's the clever concept for a multi-purpose vehicle that functions as both wagon and truck, which explains the tag of sport utility truck, or SUT.And it's a Hummer, derived from the mid-size H3 sport utility vehicle.Call it the H3T, with that T added to denote a truck'2 configuration.

With the bold face and toothy chrome grille, a flat roof and squared-off cabin plus smaller boxes fore and aft for the forward engine compartment and rearward truck bed, the four-door H3T SUT looks strong and powerful.Foundation for H3T is a global mid-size truck platform of General Motors which also supports Chevrolet's Colorado and GMC Canyon pickups. It's stiff in H-shaped design with cross bracing and underbody skid plates added below the front axle and oil pan, transfer case and fuel tank.

The chassis is cropped to craft brief overhangs fore and aft, which sets up some acute angles between front and rear body metal and the tires so H3T can scale boulders and bump up stair-step obstacles encountered far away from pavement like on the sandstone trails around Moab.H3T is rated to climb a slope of 60 percent, to traverse sideways on a slope of 40 percent and to wade through water up to 24 inches deep.A broad track and the extended wheelbase with those brief overhangs and super-sized tires planted at corners of the platform work to make H3T exceptionally stable.

On the body, utility cladding replicates the style of the original H1 Alpha Hummer, a civilized version of the military High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle, or HMMWV, called the Hum-Vee.The flat roof floating over a round of narrow windows conveys the image of a military bunker, while thick and massive components like front bumpers and side rearview mirrors make the H3T seem practically indestructible.The truck box measures 59.3 inches long by 44.2 inches wide and 19.4 inches deep. It comes with a removable tailgate and bed-rail cargo management system plus a full-size spare tire mounted below deck.

Flanks on H3T with blistered fenders are designed to accommodate the wide-track wheels and big tires.Standard rubber consists of all-terrain Goodyears (P265/75R16), with Bridgestone on/off-road tires (LT285/75R16C) available optionally in the ZM6 Off-Road Adventure Package.

And to illustrate the utilitarian nature of this SUT, note those D rings bolted to bumpers -- there are two on the front bumper and one at the rear. Each ring is rated to support the 5069-pound weight of H3T Alpha and can be used to tug or winch the vehicle out of a sticky spot.For power the H3T offers two engine choices.H3T totes GM's five-cylinder truck plant.

The 3.7-liter five-in-line engine runs up to 239 hp at 5600 rpm with torque peaking to 241 lb-ft at 4600 rpm.For shift control there's a five-speed manual transmission on tap or optional electronically controlled four-speed automatic, GM's 4L60-E Hydra-Matic.H3T Alpha packs GM's 5.3-liter V8.

It delivers 300 hp at 5600 rpm plus torque up to 320 lb-ft at 4000 rpm.And the V8 mates only with the Hydra-Matic 4L60-E four-speed automatic.

Every H3T stocks a two-speed electronically controlled full-time 4WD system operating in 4High Open for highway runs with center differential unlocked; 4High Locked with torque from the engine directed to front or rear wheels; 4Low Locked for slow-go crawling off-road, or 4Low Locked with a selectable electronic rear differential lock option.

H3T employs an independent front suspension with SLA torsion bar and a Hotchkiss-type multi-leaf spring in back with gas-charged monotube shocks.The SUT also carries four-wheel disc brakes with an anti-lock brake system (ABS), dynamic rear proportioning (DRP) for quick and precise stopping, a traction control system (TCS) and StabiliTrak skid controls.

Built-in safety systems range from the rigid steel structure ringing the passenger compartment to passive devices like the frontal dual-stage air bags for front seats and curtain-style air bags for both rows of seats, even GM's cellular-based OnStar telecommunications equipment.Lots of accessories work on H3T for customizing, like lockable storage boxes mounted in the truck bed, an adjustable bike chock to mount bicycles or motorcycles, and a bed extender in back.

The Adventure Package brings off-road performance equipment like the locking rear differential, those big Bridgestone tires and firmer suspension tuning.And stand-alone options include a sunroof, six-disc CD changer and navigation equipment.The MSRP chart begins at $30,750 for H3T, or $36,015 for H3T Alpha.

 

 


2009 Hummer H3T front view


2009 Hummer H3T interior


2009 Hummer H3Trear seat


2009 Hummer H3T back shot

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