GM held a concept-car ride and drive using part of Detroit's Belle Isle Grand Prix race course during a recent downpour. In the spirit of the go-anywhere Hummer brand, the H2 SUT drives went on as scheduled, but test drives of all the other pretty and potentially fragile concepts were canceled. The underpinnings of the 2003 production truck are tried-and-true GM bits — a modified Suburban frame trimmed to a 122.6-inch wheelbase, powered by a 325-hp, 6.0-liter Vortec V-8, mated to a five-speed automatic and full-time four-wheel-drive system with low range.
The show car's body shape is also representative of the
real thing up to the rear doors. The production H2 sport-utility vehicle
will have a wagon body, and the pickup with a middle gate seems a
shoo-in for production.
So, can a Suburban be pumped up into an
Arnold-grade Hummer? After about 15 minutes at the helm, we'd have to
say ja! The 80.6-inch-wide bodywork is only 2.2 inches broader than a
Suburban's, but with nearly vertical side windows and a steep
windshield, the impression is of incredible space inside. The broad hood
fills a lane menacingly. Gigantic 315/70R-17 tires look capable of
climbing a Honda Insight, and with 5725 pounds pressing on it, the tiny
hybrid would be squashed into aluminum scrap.
The H2 won't go
everywhere an H1 — with its offset hubs and central tire-inflation
system — can go, but ample ground clearance and steep approach and
departure angles mean the H2 will certainly penetrate farther into the
wild than could a Suburban. And most important, the H2 will get there
for a lot less money and in greater comfort than the
military-vehicle-based H1 can.