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Autoweek Briefs '08 H2

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2008 Hummer H2
Hummer refines H2 interior, boosts power
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By RICK KRANZ | AutoWeek | Updated: 06/26/07, 9:57 am et


DURANGO, Colo. -- The message for buyers eyeing the 2008 Hummer H2 is twofold: more refinement, more power.

Hummer's biggest model undergoes its biggest changes - most on the inside - since it debuted for the 2002 model year.

On the outside, the H2's styling gets only minor changes to the grille and lower front bumper.

"Customers were looking for refinement on the inside," Hummer General Manger Martin Walsh said this month at a Hummer media event here.

The basics: The 2008 H2 SUV and SUT interior is new - instrument panel, door panels, seats, headliner.

Jim Dolot, vehicle line planning director, said Hummer owners were interviewed before the 2008 H2 was developed. The H2's exterior styling and the vehicle's size were reasons why they bought it.

But the H2's interior did not communicate luxury or prestige. "It did not give them a feeling of a $55,000, $60,000 vehicle," he said.

The H2's engineering and styling teams worked with their counterparts on the Cadillac Escalade program to choose premium materials and achieve gap tolerances of 1 millimeter or less. The Escalade and H2 are on General Motors' full-sized truck architecture.

"We tested the interior with customers," said Dolot. "It is a huge improvement from their perspective from what we had before."

General Motors also has given the H2 a hefty power boost, equipping it with a 393-hp 6.2-liter V-8 that produces 415 pounds-feet of torque. The previous engine was a 325-hp 6.0-liter V-8 with 365 pounds-feet of torque.

The "very healthy improvement in torque" is noticeable when climbing rocks, said Jeff Luke, Hummer H2 chief engineer.

The H2's towing rating gets a 1,500-pound boost over that of the 2007 model, to 8,000 pounds.

The addition of the new engine, along with a six-speed automatic transmission, electric cooling fans in the engine compartment and other features increase the H2's fuel economy 0.7 mpg overall, said Luke. A combination of city and highway driving is estimated by GM to be in the range of 13-14 mpg.

Added standard safety equipment for the 2008 H2 includes electronic stability control with rollover mitigation technology, panic brake assist (the first application for a GM truck), tire pressure monitoring system and head curtain side airbags for all three passenger rows.

Notable features: For the first time, the Hummer SUV has a full third-row seat for two passengers and rear seat heating and air conditioning. A DVD entertainment system is available.

What Hummer says: What is the H2's main competitor? "It fits in against Land Rover," says Walsh. "In some cases, it is not a vehicle that is a competitor. It could be a down payment on a vacation property."

Compromises and shortcomings: Fuel economy and the high cost of gasoline. Sales totaled 4,954 in the first five months of this year, down 29.2 percent from year-ago sales.

Nuts and bolts: Dealers are scheduled to start receiving the 2008 H2 in late July or early August. Walsh said advertising will emphasize that the "H2 is all new under the roof and under the hood."

The skinny: Despite the significant improvements, the price of gasoline likely will determine the H2's fate.
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How the hell did they fit a 3rd row in the H2 anyway?! Didn't they used to have a jumpseat in the back and that was only reserved for kids under 2ft.

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How the hell did they fit a 3rd row in the H2 anyway?! Didn't they used to have a jumpseat in the back and that was only reserved for kids under 2ft.

Well, inside, an H2 is really very much the same as a Tahoe/Yukon, vehicles themselves that are known for having a 3rd row and they sell 95% of them with one. With the H2 before, they just put the one half of the seat in (literally, it was just the one piece of a Tahoe seat) and the other side had the spare. It's the same now, they just actually put both halves in. Not to say it's a comfortable place in either an H2 or a Tahoe/Yukon, with their live axle creating a cushion AND feet on the same floor setup (i.e., kiss your knees), but people have been buying them like that for years.

Otherwise, the popularity of the H2 has sunk year after year, but finally giving it a worthy interior and stronger powertrain are two key upgrades that could at least spark some new interest and trade-in's of older ones.

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Well, inside, an H2 is really very much the same as a Tahoe/Yukon, vehicles themselves that are known for having a 3rd row and they sell 95% of them with one. With the H2 before, they just put the one half of the seat in (literally, it was just the one piece of a Tahoe seat) and the other side had the spare. It's the same now, they just actually put both halves in. Not to say it's a comfortable place in either an H2 or a Tahoe/Yukon, with their live axle creating a cushion AND feet on the same floor setup (i.e., kiss your knees), but people have been buying them like that for years.

Otherwise, the popularity of the H2 has sunk year after year, but finally giving it a worthy interior and stronger powertrain are two key upgrades that could at least spark some new interest and trade-in's of older ones.

That's what I figured, but now where do they put the spare?

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That's what I figured, but now where do they put the spare?

Mount it on the back?
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Whats wrong with the H3 interior?

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Nothing if it was a Chevy. But if your paying Hummer prices wouldn't you rather have this?

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That's what I figured, but now where do they put the spare?

That's what I'm thinking, but I can't remember what was said about it now...probably the only choice, aside from underneath like the rest of the big GMT's, which probably isn't a good Hummer idea.

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