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Car Review: 2004 Hummer H2

PHOTO (select to view enlarged photo)
2004 Hummer H2
“Look at the Hummer”
By Jonathan Feldman

Colorado ski weekend…a happy occasion with my good friends…what a more could a guy ask for? Oh yeah, there is more…I was picking up a new Hummer H2, at mile high Denver's 20 mile long airport, to review for The Auto Channel, what a deal.

As my friendly and helpful shuttle driver took the long drive to the parking lot, my mind wandered and I thought of the many important and exciting things that were happening in my life ;marriage, business opportunities, the world situation, the Washington Red Skins, and the paramount thought of the weekend;would there be powder at Vail?

The driver deftly snaked his vehicle around row after row of parked cars and soon pulled to a stop in front of spot XX 346 and everything in my mind cleared…WHAM!...and I heard myself saying out loud, “Look at the Hummer. Yea baby, look at the Hummer.

Daring and attention-getting is how the H2's exterior design is often described. The H2 is instantly recognizable as belonging to a highly exclusive brand at the top of its class in off-road performance. The look and feel conveys the sense of power, authority and complete control that buyers seek.

The H2's extremely boxy body and very straight windshield and windows, which resemble H1's forms, combine to create a significant amount of interior room. The vertical glass opens up a broader front and wider side view. In a nod to the functional aspect of design, exposed components, like hood lift handles, hood latches and fasteners; give H2's appearance an individually component-assembled quality. As they do on H1, exposed components and mechanical elements are truly functional and shout ruggedness.

After becoming acquainted with my new best friend, I needed to drive back to the terminal (a gallon of gas worth) to pick up my old friend and coworker, Jim, who was also flying in for this great Colorado weekend. In this post 9/11 age waiting at the curb is verboten so…thanks to the ubiquitous cell phone (whatever did we do before them?) I called Jim and arranged where to meet him…he asked what color my car was and I replied smugly… “Don’t worry Jim I promise you won’t miss me, I’ll be the really cool guy in the Hummer,” and Jim laughed.

As I pulled into the passenger arrival area and docked the metallic orange behemoth in front of a wide eyed Jim, I was pleased to hear other former passengers whispering with admiration, “Look, there’s a Hummer.” Once Jim was in the car with me, the two of us would say again, man oh man “Look at this Hummer.”

Since this was the weekend of my fiancée Hannah’s bachelorette party, she had a number of friends coming to Colorado for the festivities so I had the privilege of shuttling some friends from Denver to Vail for a weekend to remember.

The cargo area of the Hummer easily held the baggage for 6 of us, plus two pair of skis and accoutrements. Needless to say, with two very cool guys in the front seats and four extremely good looking and sophisticated young women in the back seat, there was much giggling about our very attention grabbing wheels.

The H2's rugged exterior gives way to a luxurious interior. It begins with standard Medium Wheat leather seats with eight-way power adjustment for the front seat cushions and backs. Also standard is a memory feature for the driver's seat that allows two drivers to select and set their preferred positions. The leather seats include heated seat backs and cushions with three temperature settings for the front occupants. Heated cushions serve to keep second-row occupants comfortable. For maximum flexibility, the second-row seats can be individually folded. For maximum comfort, they feature a high-back design. With the SUV, a single-passenger seat is available for the third row, giving the SUV six-passenger capacity.

The heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system provides fast warm-ups and cool-downs, as well as individualized front-seat comfort. The standard dual-zone front controls, for example, allow the driver and front passenger to set individualized temperatures with as much as a 25-degree Fahrenheit (13.9-degree Celsius) difference. Audio choices include a selection of premium, high quality sound systems. All sound systems provide rear audio controls and include Radio Data System (RDS) technology.

As we made our way up and down spectacular Interstate 70 the mountain highway, I was hoping that an avalanche would cover the concrete and those poor suckers driving those itsy bitsy SUV’s and other inconsequential vehicles would be stopped dead in their tracks by this TV commercial sized mountain of snow and debris but Captain Jon would just inform is co-pilot and bevy of maidens to have no fear because it would take more than an avalanche to stop this trusty steed.

Fortunately this never happened and the road remained mainly clear with some patches of ice and snow which needless to say we transverse easily.

Driving the H2 most closely approximated driving a big pickup truck. Perched high off he ground, it was cool to be able to see over most other vehicles on the highway, including minivans, and the ride was smooth and comfortable. The handling and acceleration while driving through the Colorado Mountains was also rather pickup truck like. This H2 was equipped with an automatic transmission and I suspect manual transmission would have been better suited to the hilly conditions, as this transmission seemed to be confused as it hunted for a correct gear to match the conditions

Of course, the H2 is every bit the truck that first captured the market's fancy in 2002. It's also a HUMMER first and foremost. That means it's capable of traveling through streams 20 inches (508 mm) deep, climbing 16-inch (406-mm) steps and rocks, paddling through deep sand and outdistancing competitors in high-speed desert runs.

Every H2 starts with a fully welded ladder-type frame that features a modular, three-piece design incorporating a number of hydroformed components. The result is outstanding strength, stiffness and dimensional accuracy. Ensuring on-road ride comfort and control, as well as off-road capability, is H2's standard independent front torsion bar and five-link coil spring rear suspension. The solid rear axle ensures durable sure-footedness, particularly in tight, off-road situations. A self-leveling rear air spring suspension system is available for severe off-road and towing requirements.

Included as standard equipment in every H2 is underbody protection that includes large, thick skid plates; a shield for the fuel tank; chassis-bolted rocker panel protectors; a protective shield for the available on-board air compressor; and mud flares that run up, over and around the wheels.

The rear bumper also includes large, military, H1-style retrieval loops; the front bumper includes tow loops. Both bumpers have access holes for the hitch receivers attached to the chassis that can accommodate a winch, which can be plugged in, locked (just like a trailer hitch) and hooked up with an electrical connection, allowing the H2 to free vehicles mired in mud or otherwise hopelessly grounded.

Both receivers accommodate a regular Class 3 trailer hitch, providing additional flexibility for such tasks as pulling a boat out of the water or backing a trailer into a tight spot.

The H2 has a short overhang for radical approach and departure angles and exceptional ground clearance for minimal impact on trails. The 17-inch wheels, heavy-duty independent front suspension and five-link rear suspension provide superior handling, carrying and towing capability.

H2's power is derived from the standard Vortec 6000 6.0L V-8 that generates 325 horsepower (242 kw) at 5200 rpm and 365 lb.-ft. of torque (495 Nm) at 4000 rpm. The engine is mated to a heavy-duty Hydra-Matic 4L65-E four-speed automatic overdrive transmission. H2 also features a standard, powertrain-integrated Borg-Warner two-speed electrically controlled full-time 4WD system. It's capable of further reducing H2's gear ratios by 2.64:1 when necessary, for highly controlled obstacle climbing.

A Bosch four-channel anti-lock braking/traction control system (ABS/TCS) provides optimum control on slippery surfaces. In addition, the ABS can detect and adjust its braking capabilities to rough off-road surfaces like gravel and potholes. The TCS also includes the ability to gain traction through a single wheel, if necessary, and more wheel slip in the traction control mode for sand and desert racing conditions.

As many of you manly men and most women out there know, reading instructions is not high on the list for adult males…so after learning about the essentials of the H2, I left the rest to my finely honed intuition.

After an hour or so of interstate driving and with no avalanche in sight I pressed the on-Star button to see what it would do. Without reading the manual, I played it by ear and attempted to use voice commands to control the device. Somehow, we reached our own personal computerized assistant who did not understand any of the commands we attempted. For some unknown reason, our assistant thought commands such as “menu” and “off” referred to financial information. I couldn’t tell you how many times we heard financial information for some generic portfolio. We finally managed to turn the thing off, but not before much giggling at my inept attempt to control the on-Star beast.

The system's verbal commands tell drivers when to turn and alert them if they stray from the calculated route; the system automatically recalculates a new route from their current position if they make a wrong turn. Additionally, drivers can instruct the navigation system to plan a route using the shortest path or one using major roads.

The OnStar safety and security system is standard on every H2, features the all-new sixth generation hardware with digital and analog coverage. OnStar's Gen 6 hardware also includes upgraded hands-free voice recognition capabilities including more intuitive continuous digit dialing and improved voice recognition accuracy. OnStar is the leading provider of in-vehicle safety, security and information services in the United States and Canada. Using the GPS satellite network and wireless technology, OnStar features core safety services and OnStar Personal Calling that allows drivers to make and receive hands-free, voice-activated phone calls using a powerful three-watt digital/analog system and external antenna for greater reception.

Once safely in Vail, we dropped off the ladies at my fiancé’s cousin’s Mark and Tracy’s house, and then Jim and I mushed our way to our hotel.

After a day on the slopes (yes there was powder), on our way back to the hotel, I decided to try the on-Star button again, and one of the commands I attempted was, “Play.” Imagine my surprise when blasting from the Hummer’s speakers was my voice then Jim’s voice, uttering nonsense commands, and the voice of the on-Star computerized assistant offering financial information, along with giggling from the back seat. My goodness, I thought. For all we knew, everything that was said the whole time we were in the car may have been recorded. We’ll just hope that wasn’t the case. I feel kind of childish at the thought that some stranger could be listening to me and Jim saying, “Oh yea, look at the Hummer.”

Editor's Note: Why in the world would GM allow a $60K SUV have a plastic chrome grill? This has been a peeve of mine since the H2 was unveiled two years ago. At this year's SEMA show the H2's that were exhibited did have a real metal heavy chrome grill..yea I said as I happily thumped it..they listened they listened, alas and alack when I went to look at the 2005's at my local Hummer dealer the grill on the in-stock trucks were PLASTIC, and the sales rep did not know if real chrome was even an option...what is going on?




HUMMER H2 SUV; 2005 H2 SUT (Sport Utility Truck)

Body style / driveline:

4-door hard-top, 4-wheel drive

EPA vehicle class:

full-size sport utility

Manufacturing location:

Mishawaka, Indiana

Key competitors:

Range Rover, Lexus LX 470, Lincoln Navigator



Vortec 6000 6.0L V-8

Displacement (cu in / cc):

364 / 5967

Bore & stroke (in / mm):

4.00 x 3.62 / 101.6 x 92

Block material:

cast iron

Cylinder head material:

cast aluminum


overhead valve

Compression ratio:


Horsepower (hp / kw @ rpm):

325 / 242 @ 5200

Torque (lb-ft / Nm @ rpm):

365 / 495 @ 4000



Hydra-Matic 4L65-E, 4-speed electronically controlled automatic

Gear ratios (:1):











Final drive (axle) ratio:


Stall ratio:


Low range lock gear reduction:


Crawl ratio:




independent with torsion bars; 46-mm monotube gas shocks; 36-mm front stabilizer bar


H2: 5-link variable-rate coil spring; optional self-leveling air spring (w/ RPO ZM6); 46-mm monotube gas shocks, 30-mm stabilizer bar (coil) or 32-mm (air)

H2 SUT: 5-link variable-rate self-leveling air spring; 46-mm monotube gas shocks, 32-mm stabilizer bar

Traction control:

brake-controlled, single-wheel control capability with rear axle locking differential

Steering type:

variable ratio, integral power; recirculating ball type

Steering ratio:

variable 15 / 13:1

Steering wheel turns, lock-to-lock:


Turning diameter, curb-to-curb (ft / m):

43.5 / 13.2



4-wheel disc, 4-wheel/4-channel ABS, dual piston calipers with Dynamic Rear Proportioning

Rotor diameter x thickness (in / mm):

front: 12.8 x 1.5 / 325 x 38

rear: 13 x 1.1 / 330 x 29


Wheel size and type:

17-inch cast aluminum


LT315/70R17 all-terrain



Wheelbase (in / mm):

122.8 / 3118

Overall length (in / mm):

203.5 / 5170

Overall width (in / mm):

81.2 / 2063

Overall height (in / mm):

without roof rack: 78.5 / 1977; with roof rack: 81.2 / 2080

Track (in / mm):

front: 69.4 / 1763; rear: 69.4 / 1763

Minimum ground clearance (in / mm):

10 / 254.7 (coil); 10.5 / 267.3 (air)

Curb weight (lb / kg):

6400 / 2909

Standard GVWR (lb / kg):

8600 / 3901





Seating capacity (front / rear):

2 / 3 / 1 (opt.)

2 / 3

Head room (in / mm):

front: 40.5 / 1028

front: 40.5 / 1028

2nd row: 39.7 / 1009

2nd row: 39.7 / 1009

3rd row: 38.8 / 986

Leg room (in / mm):

front: 41.3 / 1049

front: 41.3 / 1049

2nd row: 38.6 / 980

2nd row: 38.6 / 980

3rd row: 27.3 / 693

Shoulder room (in / mm):

front: 66.4 / 1686

front: 66.4 / 1686

2nd row: 66.3 / 1684

2nd row: 66.3 / 1684

3rd row: 41.4 / 1052

Hip room (in / mm):

front: 62.9 / 1597

front: 63.7 / 1619

2nd row: 62 / 1576

2nd row: 62 / 1576

3rd row: 30.3 / 769

H2 SUT Cargo Box

Box length at floor (Midgate up) (in / mm):

34.7 / 881

Box length at floor (Midgate down) (in / mm):

72.8 / 1849

Box width at top (in / mm):

59 / 1499

Box width between wheelhouses (in / mm):

47.3 / 1201

Tailgate width (in / mm):

51.4 / 1306

Box height (inside) (in / mm):

20 / 508

Cargo volume (Midgate up) (cu ft / L):

22 / 623

Cargo volume (Midgate down) (cu / L):

52.7 / 1492





Interior cargo volume (cu ft / L):

40 - 86.6 / 1132 - 2452

30.7 (2nd seat folded)

Trailer towing maximum (lb / kg):

6700 / 3039

6700 / 3039

Fuel tank (gal / L):

32 / 121

32 / 121

Engine oil (qt / L):

6.0 / 5.7

6.0 / 5.7

Cooling system (qt / L):

16.8 / 15.9

16.8 / 15.9

Vehicle Performance Data




Cruising range (miles / km minimum):

310 / 499

310 / 499

Grade capability:



Side slope capability:



Approach angle:

40.4° (coil); 41.7° (air)

40.4° (coil); 41.7° (air)

Departure angle:

39.6° (coil); 38.1° (air) (40° with ERH)

36.5° (with spare tire carrier)

Ramp break-over angle:

25.8° (coil); 26.6° (air)

25.8° (coil); 26.6° (air)

Axle differential to ground (in / mm):

9.9 / 251.5

9.9 / 251.5

Fording depth (in / mm):

20 / 508

20 / 508