The original road-going Hummer H1 was based around the American army's military vehicle Humvee. While the H1 was a very capable machine, and then some, its bulky dimensions and purpose built mechanicals were a little too much unless you were planning to raid the middle-east.
To cater to the needs of people who wanted a Hummer with daily-usability while also not compromising on its off-road capabilities, GM – the parent company of Hummer brand, introduced the H2 and H3 models. Again, while the former was noticeably successful, it was mostly the latter that made the Hummer brand famous in every nook and corner of the world – quite literally.
Introduced in the year 2005, the H3 was the smallest (relatively, of course) of all the models in the Hummer range. The Hummer H3 perfectly captured the essence of the original Humvee, but in a more modern and right-sized body for the road. It was underpinned by the company's GMT355 platform that also formed base for the Chevrolet Colarado and GMC Canyon compact pick-up trucks. The Hummer H3 was made available in 2 iterations – normal SUV or as a mid-size truck (H3T). GM produced the Hummer H3 in three different locations – USA, South Africa and Russia – across the globe.
Engine & Gearbox
Calling a Hummer H3 'SMALL' is a bit inappropriate, actually. It stands out from other SUVs in the same way as Hulk would in a crowd of mere mortals. To lug the bulk of this hulk of a car was never going to be an easy affair for engineers at GM then.
At the time of its launch in 2005, the H3 featured a 3.5-litre straight-5 cylinder petrol engine that developed 220PS of maximum power and 305Nm of peak torque. The engine came mated to either a five-speed manual or a four-speed automatic transmission.
In 2007, GM realized this was not good enough, so the automobile manufacturer increased the cubic capacity of the engine to 3.7-litre while the power and torque figures also got a bump to 242PS and 328Nm, respectively. These engines were reasonably efficient as well!
For people needing a little extra from the H3 in terms of performance, the SUV was also offered with a monstrous 5.3-liter LH8 V8 petrol engine rated at 300PS and 430 Nm, starting from 2008. The V8 motor was only made available with an automatic gearbox.
Buying a Hummer based on its power figures or on-road performance would be the last thing one would consider before getting one home. The Hummer H3, like the military's Humvee, is made to take on terrains where no other vehicle could even dare to tread. Simply put, the word "GO-ANYWHERE" is what defines the capabilities of all the Hummer models, including the H3.
The H3 was equipped with a two-speed, electronically controlled full-time four-wheel drive system, making the Hummer effortless to drive both off-road and on-road. Customers could also opt for electronic locking front and rear differentials, if interested in hardcore off-roader.
Among some of the H3's off-road capabilities, the H3 could drive in 610mm of water in depths of up to 787mm at a speed of 8km/h. Speeds of up to 32km/h could also be achieved while wading across 406mm of water.
The ground clearance of the H3 was measured 246mm, as per the official record, whereas, the approach, departure and brake-over angles of 37.4°, 34.7°, and 22.1°, respectively, would make the H3 take on a 406mm vertical wall with ease. Gradients of 60% and side slopes of 40% could also be negotiated with the vehicle.
All in all, the Hummer H3 is not just a thing to flaunt driving around in a town, it's the vehicle you can take and flaunt in any part of the world irrespective of the terrain. The Hummer H3 also competed in the 2010 edition of Dakar Rally – the toughest and most grueling rally in the world - finishing at eighth spot overall.
Safety is one of the prime concerns, especially when we talk about a car of this size and stature. The Hummer H3's safety net include electronic stability control, dual front airbags, anti-lock braking disc brakes, brake-controlled traction control and tyre-pressure monitoring system as standard across all the variants.
While side-curtain airbags were offered as optional till 2008, the company made it a part of the standard kit in future models. Thanks to all of the safety systems, the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) awarded the Hummer H3 5 out of 5 stars in frontal driver protection and 4 out 5 in passenger safety.
Most of the Hummer H3 models produced were made in left-hand drive configuration. However, once GM set up the production plant for Hummer vehicles in South Africa in 2007, the production facility started manufacturing right-hand drive versions for Australian markets in addition to catering to domestic supplies. This factory also manufactured Hummer models for Asian and European markets.
Production of the Hummer H3, or any other Hummer vehicle for that matter, was discontinued after an economic downturn at GM in 2010. With that being said, it doesn't take the legacy of the Hummer H3 away in any way. Even today, the demand for the Hummer H3 has been hitting the roof in the used luxury car market. It's perhaps for the same reason that you see Bollywood stars, cricketers, rappers, singers, etc. driving IN AND AROUND THE TOWN in the Hummer H3
IT IS AN AUTOMOTIVE ICON THAT SIMPLY REFUSES TO DIE!