It was 94 degrees when I got off my plane in Grand Junction, Colorado just north of the Utah state line. Little did I know, with my flat-lander Mississippi background that the folks at General Motors Hummer division had something special in store for us auto journalists.
Sitting largely at the curb just outside the airport terminal was a brand spankin’ new Hummer SUT, gleaming in the sunlight. A map of my destination was on the seat and I climbed in. In a few minutes, I was on the Interstate heading to God knows where.
The Hummer H2 SUT is the division’s new pickup trucklet version of the gigantic, and very capable Hummer H2. It is the same size, and looks much the same inside and out, at least from the rear doors forward. But where a cab once was is now a short pickup bed.
The bed is about three feet long and 47.3" wide between the wheel houses, this is not much space by pickup truck standards, but it can be expanded, much like the GMC Envoy and Chevy Avalanche, as it has a fold-down midgate behind the rear seats. With the midgate open the space expands to nearly six feet.
Meanwhile, back out on the open road, I marveled at the arid, hilly terrain heading south toward Utah. My journey’s end, according to the map, was a ranch just outside of Moab, about 87 miles south of Grand Junction.
The Hummer cruised easily on the Interstate, up and down through the hills, although downshifts were common as the four-speed automatic sought to maintain my 75 mph pace.
If you have ever driven an H2, you know the commanding road experience these trucks have over other drivers. You tower above them, and the Hummer’s wide stance makes you pay attention to staying in your lane while passing tractor-trailer rigs.
Still, for a vehicle with all the aerodynamics of a brick wall, the H2 SUT is a quiet ride. Wind noise from the A-pillars is subdued, and the excellent Bose stereo system handles all other sounds.
After about 60 miles on the Interstate, my map instructed me to turn off onto a two-lane Utah state highway. In a short time, I came around a large curve into a spectacular valley bordered on one side by the Colorado River, and the other by steep rock. The road wound lazily through this canyon of sharply colored red and tan rock and flat-topped stone spires.
The road seemed as almost a dreamland for someone searching for that absolutely special driving experience. The Hummer had no trouble, as the steering, despite such a large vehicle, is light and accurate. Visibility is also very good, except close to the rear and front.
After about twenty miles of driving, I finally came upon my destination, a home away from home at the truly wonderful Sorrel River Ranch and Resort. GM’s Hummer communication’s team had made arrangements for us journalists to stay there during their presentation of the Hummer H2 SUT.
The resort is an oasis of emerald green set in between a valley of some of the most awe-inspiring mountains you will ever experience.
But as great as this was, it was only the beginning of our experience in the Hummer. The next day, a passel of us journalists were off to the big event, an exhilarating day of off-road rock climbing at one of the premiere off road sites in the world – the smooth rock of Moab.
The Hummer H2 SUT is all about capability, just like the regular Hummer H2 SUV, and their big military-derived cousin, the Hummer H1. This is a vehicle that has serious off-road ability, as we were to find out.
The base SUT model includes such standard equipment as a Vortec 6000 6.0L V-8 engine with 325 horsepower, heavy-duty Hydra-Matic 4L65-E four-speed automatic overdrive transmission with full-time four-wheel drive, 17-inch wheels, independent front suspension, five-link rear suspension, locking rear differential, leather-trimmed front and rear heated seats, premium Bose sound system and much more.
Then there is the Adventure Series SUT model starting at $55,625, which includes all the standard features of the base model, plus a brush guard, tubular tail lamp protection, roof rack crossbars, rubber floor mats, AM/FM six-disc CD changer, HUMMER first aid/tool kit, and air suspension system with onboard air compressor.
And finally, the SUT Luxury Series starting at $56,585 raises the bar even further. With ebony leather seats, up-level interior trim, exterior chrome appearance package, chrome wheels, chrome tubular assist steps, XM Satellite Radio and carpeted floor mats, the Luxury Series adds refined comforts to the SUT's rugged demeanor.
This rugged demeanor stuff is no joke. On the smooth rock trails outside of Moab, at one of the premiere offroading parks in the country, Hummer’s staff took us on the drive of a lifetime to see what these vehicles could do.
If the word’s Hell’s Revenge don’t mean anything to you, well you will find it is one of the toughest offroading trails out there, and we do mean out there. We took these “large” trucks through the toughest terrain imaginable. One journalist, not me I might add, was so taken back (in fear) that he had to let another driver continue.
Sheer cliffs to the right, nearly vertical rocks to the front, steeply angled trails and more failed to faze the Hummer, which just “hummed” through our nearly all day drive at creepy-crawly speeds. As the trucks were equipped differently, we had a chance to sample them all and I can tell you that from the least equipped, to the most extravagant, all of them neither creaked, rattled or failed to complete its mission.
The five-link rear suspension was a marvel to watch as the H2 HUT negotiated over boulders you would swear were impossible to crawl over. The short front and rear overhand, which is a Hummer trademark, also proved a wise engineering decision as I never stuffed the front end into the ground, even on VERY steep descending trails, while all I could see through the windshield was the earth.
And we did all this rock crawling stuff with our satellite radios playing a pretty tune and in the comfort of our leather covered, air-conditioned cabin. Isn’t life grand?
Now with all of this praise, are there some downsides to the Hummer SUT? Well, yes. First, it is big and heavy at 6,300 pounds. The cut off the back to make the H2 a pickup, didn’t shave any real weight. That’s because the extra metal that was needed to strengthen the vehicle, and the mechanism for the fold down midgate.
Secondly, it is too bad that the Hummer SUT doesn’t come with stock in an oil company. We never saw better than 9 miles per gallon. Granted that was in rough country combined with highway driving. But don’t expect much more than 13 mpg in regular driving.
Also, for a luxury offroad vehicle, we still think there are just too much hard plastic surfaces in the interior. But those are just quibbles I suppose.
The folks at Hummer seemed to have done their homework and are generally very proud of their super truck. The H2 HUT has a truly cool look. I liked it better than the regular version. It has that look of a fine tool meant for a specific task. It’s tank like appearance is even more ruggedly good looking than the SUV wagon version.
Perhaps that was partly due to the new spare tire hung on God’s own rear wheel carrier. The ninety-plus pound spare tire was mounted after very deliberate engineers studied the best way to avoid blocking the view from the rear mirror, and to avoid messing up the rear departure angle.
The resulting mount swings away to the right, to allow the tailgate to be lowered. It is a process that takes only a couple of seconds to perform. There is even a little bracket to keep the carrier from banging against the side of the truck.
The H2 SUT cargo bed uses about seven pounds of molded in color nanocomposite parts (Really, I am not making this up) for its trim, center bridge, sail panel and box rail protector. This high-density plastic is dent and scratch resistant and much lighter than steel.
Overall, the Hummer H2 SUT is a blast to drive, offers a unique look with some utility with the open bed. The on-road ride is remarkably smooth and the interior is a comfortable place to be with all the luxury you would expect in a premium vehicle.
If there is a downside, it is the lousy gas mileage and size. But then, folks that buy these types of vehicle are not too concerned over gas mileage, and the size, well that is part of the vehicle's image.
But on the backroads and trails in middle-of-nowhere Utah, the Hummer H2 SUT looked right at home, a refuge from the wild. Hey, maybe that feeling would be just right in heavy city traffic.
H2 SUT Cargo Box
Vehicle Performance Data
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