Whether you like it or not, you know exactly what it is as soon as you see it; there is no mistaking the Hummer H2 SUT for anything but a Hummer. Hummer began teasing the public more than a year ago with concept vehicles hyping the production H2 SUT tested here. The H2 SUT is essentially an H2 that has been modified with a next generation mid-gate, stiffer chassis, and hose-it-out pickup bed, in lieu of an enclosed cargo area. GM has high hopes that this version of the H2 will revitalize slowing foot traffic in the new Hummer dealerships and appeal to the truck aficionado who appreciates the capability of the H2 but doesn't want to be seen in an SUV or require the usefulness of a bed.
Our '05 SUT was ordered with the Lux Series option, bathed in yellow paint and sporting an ebony leather interior. Like all H2s, ours was equipped with the Vortec 6000 engine, putting out 325 hp at 5,200 rpm and 365 lb-ft at 4,000 rpm, backed by the corporate four-speed 4L65-E automatic transmission. Even with 4.10 gears, the heavy SUT feels sluggish off the line, but the 6.0L acceptably pulls the Hummer once on the move. After two weeks in the Hummer and a dismal 11 mpg, we wished the General would allocate some Duramax turbodiesel engines and Allison transmissions to the SUVs. At least then you might be able to justify the stunning $60,135 asking price that came with our tester and get the benefit of better fuel economy.
The astronomical price of admission into the H2 fold also didn't include the navigation system, but we did get a quality-sounding Bose stereo with CD-changer and XM Satellite Radio. Testers noted the cheap feel of the interior plastics and the multitude of blind spots, which come with the H2 SUT's armored truck styling. Also, another drawback was the low roof, which pinches the head of any passenger more than 6 feet tall, but four adults will fit comfortably inside.
Complaints aside, the H2 has many redeeming qualities, mostly found when off-roading. Thanks to the LT315/70R17 BFGoodrich All-Terrain T/A tires, exceptional ground clearance, and locking differential, the H2 is nearly unstoppable. The H2 is also surprisingly quiet on the highway, only generating some noise around the A-pillar, where the H2's shape bullies the air out of its way. Also, thanks to the H2's optional air suspension and solid structure, the ride is rather supple and comfortable for long hauls, especially for a vehicle of the H2's mass.
While the H2 isn't the head-turner it was when it was released, it still draws looks of either admiration or ire, and the staff still enjoyed grabbing the keys and inciting stares from fellow motorists. The H2 SUT was also popular on the off-road course, which brings us to this conclusion: If you like traveling in the backcountry, or want a vehicle to fit those 26-inch wheels you bought, then look no further than the H2 SUT, but if your daily commute involves lots of miles, you may want to pass on this one.