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The Hummer 3 - A Real Hummer Or merely Another Off-Road Vehicle?

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

Topics:  Hummer H3

The Hummer 3 - A Real Hummer Or merely Another Off-Road Vehicle?

Donald Saunders
April 18, 2006

The Hummer is definitely the the world's most recognizable SUV and it is amazing to find that a vehicle designed for use by the military back in the 1980s now has an escalating world-wide following in its 3 civilian versions. As a matter of fact, only this month, GM announced a partnership with Avtotor for the production of the Hummer H3 in Russia, which GM sees as its greatest potential market at this time.

Everybody will obviously recognize the original Hummer 1 as well as the scaled-down Hummer 2, both of which kept the trademark box appearance of the original military vehicle. But is the Hummer 3, scaled-down even further and with much more of a shape of its own, a Real Hummer or is it just joining the wide variety of other SUVs being offered today?

Many Hummer 1 and 2 owners aren't concerned about the fact that, Although the off-road performance of the Hummer are unrivalled, its on-road performance is certainly nothing to shout about. It takes up half the road, visibility is appalling, parking is next to impossible and they simply choose to ignore its fuel consumption. The Hummer's appeal lies simply in its size and distinctive appearance.

Now the Hummer 3 obviously retains a significant number of of the trademark features of earlier models, not least the small military style windows that offered the occupants of the military vehicle a degree of protection but which give today's drivers appalling visibility. But its smaller size and more rounded appearance now put it alongside such competitors as the Jeep Grand Cherokee and Toyota 4Runner and it is possible that a lot of potential Hummer owners will start to pay a little more attention to the competition when it comes to making their purchase.

So has GM made a strategic error with its design for the Hummer H3? Naturally, only time will provide the answer to this question but as we part company with the distinctive size and shape of what many people would call the "True" Hummer, owners are going to look increasingly at the performance of the h3 in comparison to its competitors and here the Hummer 3 is going to come up a little short I fear.

While it will still win easily as an off-road vehicle, the Hummer 3 is sadly underpowered for on-road driving. With a 3.5L 5-cylinder engine producing 220 hp, it would appear to be on a par with such vehicles as the Honda Pilot until you compare the weights of the vehicles and find that the Hummer 3 is some 900 lbs heavier. Acceleration is very poor to say the least and you should not even think about trying to put your foot down if you're going uphill.

Of course there are ways of overcoming this problem such as the tune-up kit made by Geiger in Germany. This kit includes a supercharger that will boost the H3 up to about 325 hp and greatly improve its acceleration, but should it be necessary to go to the expense and time of having your new vehicle modified? Perhaps this is one difficulty that GM ought to have addressed from the start rather than leaving its potential customers to sort out the problem themselves and at their own expense.

SUV's are becoming ever more popular around the globe and this is clearly an expanding and very lucrative market. The Hummer has clearly carved out a distinctive niche in this market and the success of the Hummer 1 and 2 is not disputed. The question now is whether the Hummer 3 will allow GM to continue making inroads into this market or will start to yield ground to the competition.

For more information on the 2006 Hummer 3 and for details on Hummer prices visit HummerOnline.info today.



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