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2001 HUMMER H2 SUT

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NEW YORK: Forget its big brother's work in Desert Storm and the concept SUV's ability to take on almost any off-road challenge. A display here before the NY auto show proved that the Hummer H2 SUT (sport utility truck) can handle one of the real world's most daunting challenges — Manhattan's cutthroat cross-town traffic.

And to make it more challenging, it was carrying two big time Republicans — actor Arnold Schwarzenegger and Rudy Guiliani, the mayor of New York. The pickup bed behind the 4-door, 5-person passenger compartment did stalwart duty carrying a giant load of GOP hogwash about the political situation in NYC, but that's another story.

When it does go on the market in 2002 as a 2003, the H2 SUT won't be significantly different from the model that cruised through Times Square and into the ABC studio there. Which means General Motors has managed to keep the over-stuffed sausage styling of the body panels from the vehicle that was created for military use, but replaced the Spartan interior with many comfort and convenience items.

According to Ron Zarrella, the president of GM of North America, Schwarzenegger actually had a hand in how the final shape of the vehicle will look, since he has played a big role in the vehicle since he convinced AM General to make Hummer available to civilians and bought the first one.

As a result of The Terminator's input, the windshield has a steeper angle and the tires are knobbier.

Underneath all of that macho posturing is a collection of parts from different GM truck-based vehicles that will make the H2 and H2 SUT a lot more amenable for passengers than the original model is.