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2006 Hummer H3 Road Test

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So, this is the baby Hummer, eh?
Well, it's hard to think of anything with a Hummer badge as a "baby" anything, but compared to the military-based original H1, it's  426 millimetres shorter overall and 165 millimetres narrower. It's also
(Photo: General Motors)
significantly cheaper. With the standard five-speed stick and cloth interior the base price of $39,995 is nearly $30 big ones less than the full-size H2. Not that you would recognize it from the outside, but the five-seat, five-door H3 utilizes the Chevy Colorado pickup chassis and drivetrain. What Hummerphiles will recognize is that all of the Hummer bits and pieces are present and accounted for: the fake tire-pressure inflators on the wheels; the round headlights in square holes; the Jeep-like seven-slot grille; and the D-Day bunker windows and the spare hanging off the back. Put it this way: your neighbours won't confuse it for a Honda Pilot. My test car had the optional four-speed slushbox and the Adventure package that adds bigger 285/75R-16 rubber, underbody armour plates, and a locking rear differential. There's a so-called Lux Series that adds heated seats, leather throughout and upgraded ICE. If you choose both the Adventure and Lux packages together, it's easy to get an H3 that costs $50k.

It looks like it could drive up the side of the CN Tower. But is it really a Hummer off-road?
Hummer's actually done their homework in transforming the Chevy small
(Photo: General Motors)
truck platform for maximum off-road competence. For starters, the torsion-bar front suspension has been pushed forward and downward to reduce the front overhang and raises the frame up for more ground clearance. The tires have been pushed out to the four corners of the body to allow the H3 a tighter turning circle. Naturally, all H3s have all-wheel-drive with a locking center differential and an electrically controlled low range. I kept the H3 on pavement during the week I had the car, but I can imagine the smaller footprint would actually make the H3 easier to maneuver than the larger Hummers out in the woods.

C'mon! How many H3s are really going to be boonie-bashed? What's it like in its more natural environment, the daily suburban grind?
There are two immediate H3 impressions. One, the interior is actually a
(Photo: General Motors)
pretty nice place to be. There's a thick leather wheel, the driver's instrumentation is clear to read, the HVAC knobs have a nice knurled-rubber finish to them and all of the rubber and plastic fit well and have a substantial heft. It's a huge improvement if you're coming from something like a Chevrolet Trailblazer. My only complaint is that the driver's seat is limited in vertical height adjustment to the point where I felt I was sitting on the floor. This also might be due to the H3's low-slung roof. The second surprise is the H3's steering. Especially with the mud-bogging rubber, I was pleasantly surprised at the nice weight and the substantial feel at the helm. It's no 'Vette, but it gave me enough confidence to push the H3 on a few on-ramps.