Since 1992, a civilian model of the Army’s High Mobility Multi-Purpose Wheeled Vehicle (HMMWV) – also known as the HUMVEE – was created, and the HUMMER M998 was born. After a decade of production, the HUMMER H2 was introduced in 2001 as the next stage of evolution of the first HUMMER or H1. And in the second quarter of 2005, the HUMMER evolved again, as the H3.
You may wonder what the differences are between HUMMER H3 and its first two incarnations. For starters, the H3 is has a Vortec 3.5L inline cylinder engine that can give 220 horsepower at 5600 rpm and 225 lb.-ft. of torque at 2800 rpm. The HUMMER H3 gets approximately 20 MPG and comes with either a manual or an automatic transmission — the first time buyers have had a choice.
The HUMMER H3 also has 4-wheel drive with a fully locking rear differential. Underbody shielding, traction control, and GM’s StabiliTrak vehicle-stability enhancement system make it even more reliable and safe. The new HUMMER H3 can make it through 16 inches of water that’s flowing at 20 mph, or 24 inches of water running 5 mph. GM also claims the HUMMER H3 will climb 16-inch steps and rocks, and offers two kinds of tires – a Bridgestone 33-inch tire or a Goodyear 32-inch, all-terrain tire.
Then there are the optional interior features – heated leather seats, front bucket seats and 60/40 split rear seats, an electric sliding sunroof, DVD-based navigation radio, four audio systems compatible with GM’s OnStar system and the XM satellite radio, power windows and door locks with lockout protection, an electric rear window defogger, outside power-adjustable manual folding rearview mirrors, a self-dimming rearview mirror with compass and outside temperature indicator, and three 12-volt, covered auxiliary power outlets, two located in front and one in the cargo area.
HUMMER H3’s 4-wheel drive system is the Borg-Warner two-speed, electrically controlled, full-time 4-wheel drive system with a 2.64:1 ratio of low-range gear reduction; there’s also an alternate version with a 4.03:1 ratio for the ultimate control on obstacle-climbing. Both versions have many operating modes for all driving situations.
The HUMMER H3 has more off-road capabilities than the H1 and H2, with a 37-foot turning cycle, 9.1-inch ground clearance, a 25-degree maximum breakover angle when 33-inch tires are used, a maximum approach angle of 40 degrees and a maximum departure angle of 37 degrees.
When it comes to frame and suspension, the HUMMER H3 has a modular three-piece frame for enhanced strength. The front is an independent torsion bar suspension, same as the rear, which uses semi-elliptical leaf springs. Standard equipment includes skid plates for protection of the steering links, and HUMMER offers optional chassis-bottled rocker panel protectors.
The H3 features ABS traction control and breaking systems, and pinion steering with 17:1 ratio. Its anti-lock breaking system uses Dynamic Rear Proportioning to aid in controlling the rear breaking in panic-stop situations. Traction and controls of the H3 work in combination with the engine controls and breaking system to provide maximum traction with minimum wheel spin regardless of the conditions.
The exterior highlights of the HUMMER H3; include a rear swing gate with fixed glass, plus a standard rear wiper and defogger. And, first ever from HUMMER, the H3 features a swing gate-mounted spare to maximize interior cargo space. The H3 also offers stamped-steel front and rear bumper bars, standard front tow hooks and welded-on rear bumper recovery hooks.
The new HUMMER H3 is also loaded with safety features, including a reinforced passenger compartment safety cage; a fully welded, ladder-type frame to enhance crash performance and off-road capabilities; a standard front dual airbag system, optional rail-mounted, side-curtain air bags, daytime running lamps, remote keyless entry, battery rundown protection, an electronic tire pressure monitoring system and an anti-theft vehicle security system.
The new HUMMER H3 may not create the same splash as the H1 and H2, but it’s a vehicle that lets you maneuver in heavy city traffic and still has promising off-road capabilities.