2010 HUMMER H3 SUV BaseView Vehicle Profile
2006-’10 Hummer H3: Humming along to an unhappy tune
From the moment AM General released its first civilian-market Humvee in 1992, the brand has been a lightning rod for criticism by greenies and self-styled haters.
Rightly or wrongly, Hummer owners have been subjected to finger-wagging diatribes from other motorists, targeted by eco-activists who tag and vandalize the hulking trucks, and, as one study suggested, getting undue attention from police.
The insurance industry study looked at the number of violations per 100,000 miles driven for different models. It discovered Hummer drivers get almost five times as many tickets as the U.S. average.
It was for all these reasons that General Motors opted to create a less obtrusive Hummer that could tiptoe over field and dale instead of crushing everything in sight. The kinder, gentler Hummer H3 was born.
In crafting Hummer’s first midsize sport utility for 2006, engineers borrowed the powertrain and body-on-frame architecture used by the compact Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon pickups. Compared to the H2, the H3 was 28 cm shorter in wheelbase and 770 kg lighter.
The five-seater cabin sported two-tone decor and shiny metallic trim, elevating it above GM’s lunch-bucket pickup. Unfortunately, designers granted the H3 a near vertical windshield and small windows all around, limiting visibility. The view out front was like peering through a mail slot; nearby traffic lights were not visible without leaning forward.
There was decent legroom in back for average-sized adults, but the split-folding bench was mounted close to the floor. Cargo space was smaller than average and the seatbacks did not fold flat. The full-size spare tire hung on the rear side-hinged door, which was hard to operate when parked on an incline.
The sole engine was the Colorado’s 220-hp, 3.5 L inline five-cylinder, the result of lopping one cylinder off of the 4.2 L straight-six that powered the TrailBlazer. The five-banger was mated to an Aisin five-speed manual gearbox or GM’s venerable Hydra-Matic four-speed automatic.
Every H3 came standard with full-time four-wheel drive, which split the torque 40/60 front to rear, and a 2.64 reduction gear in 4 Lo. There was an optional 4.03 transfer case that provided “granny” gearing so low you could creep down rocky slopes without touching the brakes. Low range also employed an electronic locking rear differential.
The H3 could walk the walk. It enjoyed 23 cm of ground clearance and could ford 60-cm-deep water without stalling. Standard gear included underside skidplates, four-wheel antilock disc brakes and traction/antiskid controls.
Responding to gripes about the H3’s anemic acceleration, the five-cylinder’s output jumped to 242 horsepower for 2007, thanks to a displacement increase to 3.7 litres.
The top-dog H3 Alpha model arrived for 2008, stuffed with a 300-hp 5.3 L V8 borrowed from GM’s full-size pickups. Speaking of pickups, the H3T crew-cab-and-bed body style was added for 2009.
The entire brand hummed its swansong in 2010, when the last H3 trundled down the Shreveport, Louisiana, assembly line on May 24.
ON THE ROAD
With its generous ground clearance, ultra-low gearing and lunar-rover adroitness, the H3 was bred for off-road missions. For city runs, unfortunately, not so much.
Drivers complained about unreasonably slow acceleration, clocked at 11 seconds to 96 km/h with the automatic and 10.3 seconds with the stick.
“The engine is sorely underpowered for the weight of this vehicle,” read one owner’s post. The boost to 242 hp helped a little, but impatient types should look for the 300-hp Alpha: it could scramble to 96 km/h in a respectable 8.0 seconds.
Fuel usage was anything but respectable. Owners noted heavy use by the five-cylinder, typically 17 L/100 km around town and 12 L/100 km on the open road.
WHAT OWNERS SAY
H3 fans believe their truck is superior to the popular Jeep Wrangler Unlimited, thanks to its more comfortable furnishings, better ride and small turning radius. They say it’s better made than the Jeep — faint praise, maybe.
Consumer Reports placed the five-cylinder H3 on its list of worst vehicles of 2008, citing its poor performance, handling, fuel economy and reliability.
Owners reported head gasket failures, mostly in the 2006 models, which required rebuilding the engine. Some rear axles and transfer cases have been replaced, and there are drivetrain vibrations that may be linked to wonky driveshafts. Starting problems may be attributable to a fussy Passlock ignition system.
Other H3 issues include faulty transmissions, short-lived air conditioners and batteries, bad heater blowers, leaky sunroofs, poorly aligned doors and interior rattles.
We would like to know about your ownership experience with these models: Nissan Cube, Jaguar XK and Jeep Wrangler Unlimited. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
2006-’10 Hummer H3
WHAT’S BEST: Mountain-goat agility, tight turning radius, loves snow days.
WHAT’S WORST: Five-cylinder weakling, gas guzzler, head-gasket woes.
TYPICAL GTA PRICES: 2006: $15,000; 2010: $28,000
Used HUMMER H3 SUV All Used Vehicles
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