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When Hummers are heralded: 2009 H3T Alpha

Posted by Clifford Atiyeh  December 23, 2008 09:38 AM

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If there's one brand General Motors has to ax in order to keep the lights on, it certainly isn't Hummer, one of the last automotive brands solely devoted to the truck-based SUV.

Under normal circumstances, this is a weak argument. For an automaker that bet so heavily on large SUVs instead of creating a competitive, diverse lineup, for a company that oversold to rental fleets and destroyed resale values with incentives, and (circle all that apply) the problems with the unions/economy/gas prices/environment, Hummer is the obvious red ink on GM's balance sheets.

Never mind Hummer's Congressional-level approval rating. Most people can't tolerate looking at this testosterone-fueled beast, let alone park next to it in a cramped lot. The drivers are often labeled idiotic, wasteful, and mean to mother earth. Anti-SUV zealots dump gas and throw matches. Regular drivers and pedestrians pray these absurd vehicles don't crush, chomp, and spit them out. None of this looks good for Hummer.

But when all hell rains and everyone else slips and gets stuck, the world gets a little kinder to the 2009 H3T Alpha. Envy replaces hate. Admiration drowns out contempt. People stop staring at the extraterrestrial pulling into a space (now covered with a foot of snow). The driver is suddenly practical, benevolent even, as he pushes a friend's Mazda with a light feathering of the gas. Such is the grace and power of a 9.5-inch ground clearance, 32-inch tires, and front and rear locking differentials. Such is GM's near-perfection in building heavy-duty trucks, a superiority that isn't worth selling.

With XM radio tuned to classic jazz and the heater humming, driving an H3T in a winter storm is like relaxing with a cup of cocoa in your living room. You see flakes and the temperature gauge reading 20 degrees, but you don't feel a thing. The cabin is quiet and well-insulated, the transfer of torque seamless. Crusty plow snow piled along side streets are no barriers, slippery U-turns across Green Line tracks no stress. It isn't until you get out and see the slush-caked tires, frost-covered roof and icicles hanging off the steel tow hooks that you realize what you've been through.

While I don't speak four-wheel drive, a few simple dash buttons provided extra grip when the H3T spun its wheels where regular cars and SUVs would have died. Shift the transmission into neutral, activate low speed, and just for fun, lock the rear differential. A few revs from the 5.3 liter V-8 and the H3T shakes loose. I wanted to tempt the baby Hummer into a really deep rut, and then laugh as its beefy frame struggled to climb out, but the truck was unfazed by some of my more foolish antics.

That said, Hummer drivers may still be idiots. But they're the ones who will make it home - every time.

(Can you guess my fuel economy? Hint: It's under 20. Stay tuned for more Hummer updates.)

This blog is not written or edited by Boston.com or the Boston Globe.
The author is solely responsible for the content.

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95 comments so far...
  1. I own a Toyota 4Runner, and I'm tired of people bashing SUV owners as "bad people." While I agree that the automotive companies should invest in developing solutions to make these vehicles more fuel-efficient, the fact is, surviving winter in New England is a lot easier with a truck-based SUV like mine (or the hummer mentioned in the article) and they also come in handy when you need to tow (yes I do that, not just talk about my ability to), or haul a lot of cargo. I know people survive okay with regular cars, but I've seen so many of them get stuck on snow storms like this past one and I like the security of knowing that I have 4x4 that greatly reduces that risk. And not all SUV owners are idiots, most of us know that just because we can move better in the snow doesn't mean we can stop better, and most of us don't drive aggressively or flip them over. SUVs still have a place on the American road, even if it costs a little more to fuel them.

    Posted by Mark December 23, 08 10:53 AM
  1. well, I have to disagree with the idiotic, and mean to Mother Earth. I run Biodiesel in my original HUMMER and get better carbon emissions than a Toyota Prius. I'm also driving a 12 year old vehicle and not buying new, and buy used or refurbished parts when in need of repair. I've reduced overall emissions by 75%, and my truck fits in any spot at a parking mall no problem. I'm VERY overly conscious of the stigma and take extra care in being polite on the road and help others out when they are stuck.

    Posted by Dave December 23, 08 10:53 AM
  1. -and here's a very interesting article on Prius vs. HUMMER that I'm sure everyone will enjoy.

    http://clubs.ccsu.edu/recorder/editorial/editorial_item.asp?NewsID=188

    Posted by Dave December 23, 08 11:32 AM
  1. funny, my 37 MPG ford focus didn't get stuck once, but maybe I should replace it anyways, just in case?

    Posted by Andrew December 23, 08 11:33 AM
  1. I work for an environmental research non-profit, eat organic, recycle, plant my gardens, walk when I can - and drive a Jeep. This is my second, everyone in my family drives them too.

    I have never felt safer and more secure in a vehicle - one, might I add, I have never more than spun tires in, even in weather like this weekend's. It's completely worth the few extra bucks in the gas tank, which isn't as bad as you think. I've even pushed/pulled a few other stuck vehicles out with mine (i.e. my roommate's yesterday)

    Go ahead. Call me a hypocrite, as I drive past you, stuck on a snowy road.

    Posted by NYerInBoston, loving her Jeep December 23, 08 11:48 AM
  1. Any 4 wheel drive vehicle will get you through New England storms. My 11 year old CRV did just fine in this mess, and it gets waaayyyy better fuel economy. If you want a car for storms, just get one with 4 wheel drive. You can do a lot better than a Hummer fuel economy and price-wise, and still have a safe vehicle.

    Posted by Erin December 23, 08 11:48 AM
  1. Count me as one of those who are not fans of HUMMERS and most SUV's. Read the book "High and Mighty", which details the rise of the SUV and you'll find out how SUV's make roads more dangerous for people who drive passenger cars. SUV's are tall and offer great sightlines, but at the expense of blocking the view of passenger car drivers around them. In a collision their bumpers are elevated higher than those of passenger cars, therefore endangering drivers of smaller vehicles. When it comes to dealing with winter, I have owned 3 Subarus (currently a WRX Wagon) and have been able to navigate Boston area roads in the worst weather when other vehicles were getting stuck. Driving an SUV is a choice, and you are welcome to drive whatever you like, but understand that they are not the safest vehicles for those around you. For those who cart around a large group on a regular basis, there is no substitute for a Suburban. However, 9 times out of 10 I see Hummer and Escalade drivers riding solo. I offer an alternative: An all-wheel drive wagon or crossover (HUMMER H2 vs. BMW 5 series wagon as an example) offers slightly less passenger room (more legroom actually) and only 7 less cubic feet of cargo room (33.6 vs. 40). The big difference is the approximately 10-12 MPG that the Hummer H2 gets versus the combined 20 MPG of the BMW. I understand that SUV drivers feel attacked on a regular basis and feel the need to defend themselves. However, I drive on the same roads as SUV's which gives me the right to be concerned about my own safety.

    Posted by CB December 23, 08 11:59 AM
  1. Really? A regular SUV isn't big enough? You seriously need Hummer for one season of the year? I drive a Civic and I didn't get stuck once while driving over the weekend (ok, so I do have to drive slowly, but I still didn't get stuck). I don't buy it.

    Posted by HK December 23, 08 12:00 PM
  1. Envy? For a hummer? I don't think so. More like disgust.

    You do not need a Hummer to drive in a New England snowstorm. You need to know how to drive in a New England snowstorm. In my many years in New England, I've driven everything from an AMC Hornet, to a Mercury Lynx, to a VW Jetta to an Audi A3. Some of these cars are by no means high-performers in the snow and I did just fine, by knowing how to drive and by not being an idiot.

    Posted by LS December 23, 08 12:18 PM
  1. Please stop trying to justify "logical reasons" for owning a hummer. There are no good arguments that make any sense at all. I am not against them though personally I don't see the appeal. Just say the truth - some people think they look cool or macho or whatever and they buy and drive hummers to make a statement or feel good driving one. It's a free country - if GM can sell bulky gas guzzlers to willing buyers, that is the free market. And for all the people who complain about SUV drivers making their roads more dangerous or their planet more polluted you just come off as shrill whiners. For goodness sakes - drive your Prius if you want and feel smug, but drop the judgemental attitude please.

    Posted by WVW in Newton December 23, 08 12:33 PM
  1. The Hummer H3 is actually a surprisingly well designed, if niche, car. I actually considered getting one, and I'm a self-described greenie. I ended up with a Subaru Impreza wagon (which was AMAZING on its inaugural blizzard run), but the H3 is a smart, small, practical replacement for a wrangler-type vehicle. If a city dweller who drove only 10 miles round trip to work (or walked!), were to own one simply for the fun of it, (s)he's probably still have a smaller carbon footprint than a suburbanite with a Prius who drive 60 miles round trip a day!!

    Posted by Mark D. December 23, 08 12:38 PM
  1. Really? For a couple of snow storms a year we need these giant gas guzzlers? With even more roof to NOT shovel off (I'm looking at you, SUV drivers), thus further endangering the drivers around you when a giant sheet of ice flies off the top of your car? Here's a solution: the safest thing is to stay off the road during a snowstorm. My Honda Accord didn't give me any trouble at all ... in my driveway.

    Posted by susan December 23, 08 12:39 PM
  1. I HATE the Prius. It is super ugly and wicked pretentious. I am going to pass around Dave's article to some of my pretentious tree hugger friends... now, don't get me wrong. I love hugging trees too! But that dosen't mean I would not buy a Hummer if I had the dough righ now, because mind you all, when the apocalypse comes Hummer owners will be ready!

    Oh yes, I am a liberal democrat ...with republican undertones! Meaning, I believe in saving the planet, but I have lots of GUNS for when it goes to hell!

    Posted by The Horn December 23, 08 12:40 PM
  1. I think most people driving around these 10-15 year old cars touting their eco-friendliness would be very surprised to see how poor their emissions have become, let alone their gas mileage.

    And not to mention the fact that the H3 is hardly any worse than your Jeep Grand Cherokees, Explorers, 4Runners, et al. This is not the H2 we're talking about. And even if it were, who's business is it any way? I drive a Jeep Wrangler and I MAYBE pull 17 MPG, but you know what, it's my wallet and I'm having a way better time than you in your dime a dozen civic.

    Posted by boss8120 December 23, 08 12:45 PM
  1. My 03 Volkswagen used its traction control to get around just fine in the snow storm... drove all over the state without a problem

    Posted by kbuckley December 23, 08 12:53 PM
  1. People have the right to drive whatever they want. Some people feel Hummers are wasteful and others think priuses look stupid. It's all personal preference, and you really shouldn't harass people for what they drive. I drive an SUV because I drive over 20k miles a year, and being on the road a lot I like to feel safe. It also has the capacity to fit a lot of gear and friends on road trips. There are also other convenience with having 4 wheel drive, such as being able to drive out of a plowed in parking spot instead of shoveling out for hours.

    And for everyone that things suv drivers are idiots, you see a lot more of them on the side of the road helping other change tires and the like then you see people it old beaters or priuses.

    Posted by American December 23, 08 01:15 PM
  1. A Subaru or a Suziki SX-4 will be just fine in most storms we now have in New England. If you can't get around in one of those, you should stay home. I passed a Ford Expedition stuck in the median on 495 just this past Sunday.

    Posted by JimM December 23, 08 01:17 PM
  1. Driving around in the recent storm, I saw more then a dozen cars banged up waiting for a tow truck. The only SUV's near bye any of these accidents were good samaritans that stopped to help.

    Don't be so judgemental, and quick to judge (as the article Dave posted the link to shows) because you might have things all wrong.

    Posted by Joe D December 23, 08 01:18 PM
  1. I would have loved to own a Hummer when I was looking for a more capable vehicle but the rest of the year that it's not blizzard conditions, I'd find it hard to give reason to it. It is pretty cool when you push all your morals to the side. It's like a big boy's Tonka toy.

    But I am surprisingly happy with my Buick Riviera that in ration, is the Hummer of coupes cept the how made fuel economy. Mine get 28mpg hwy. Traveling through the conditions for last minute gifts, I had to smile seeing guys in truck have a hard time and my car doing fine. Though I am careful, I find the Riviera (1995-99) to be a one of a kind performer in winter conditions.
    Andy B

    Posted by Anonymous December 23, 08 01:34 PM
  1. #7 "In a collision their bumpers are elevated higher than those of passenger cars, therefore endangering drivers of smaller vehicles. " ...
    Brahsher's articles and book were among the largest driving forces in getting people to buy SUVs. The message people heard was that "SUVs win in collisions" so they figured they'd better get one.

    The facts are not nearly as simple as you describe. First, the cosmetic bumper is not of interest in a severe collisision, it's the frame and frame and tow hooks that matter. If you'd look at actual vehicles rather than a book, you'll find that most new vehicles sold as "SUVs" have frames designed to meet car frame structures at the same height and/or thick tow hooks which also serve (by design) to connect dissimilar vehicles in a crash. GM has done considerable work in this regard. There are many cases where there is a structural height mismatch with older models, but this is even more severe for with the phone, cable of delivery company truck than an SUV. The few vehicles truly intended to be used off road must be raised higher or they will get stuck at the first gully or stream crossing.

    Now that we have such a mishmash of different private vehicles and more commercial trucks on the road, it would be wise to design cars so they can hook onto structures as a variety of heights. Automakers are pushed against doing that by fuel economy laws - weight is the worst enemy of economy and they must trim every pound. The problem is that we're getting what we asked for, but most people don't understand what the rules combined with customer demands are *in reality* asking automakers to do.

    While I don't personally need a Hummer to drive to work, it does fill purposes a car can't, whether its crawling over rocks or simply imagining that you could (silly, but so is most of what we do). You can plow snow and pull or carry things with them, which you can't with many of the vehicles sold as "SUVs" or crossovers today which are based on car or van chassis. GM did an honest job with the Hummer's engineering; they'll do the work/play they are advertised to. It's silly but not GMs fault if thousands of people want to drive a stylized off-road truck to their favorite shopping mall.

    btw, if you're going to buy one, opt for at least 2 diff locks so if you actually use the thing off road you won't be spinning 2 wheels, and the H3 model really needs the V8 - it'll barely move with the weird five cylinder standard engine.

    Posted by Bubster December 23, 08 02:06 PM
  1. Mark, you are a gas guzzling SUV owner....you are one of those "bad people"

    Posted by will December 23, 08 02:09 PM
  1. As a postscript for all those who drive SUVs for "safety" reasons. Don't rely on your feelings, because the statistics don't lie. AndyB above here drives the safer car with the Riviera. Even after adjusting for miles driven, driver demographics, and driving style, SUVs are middle of the pack in driver deaths and injuries. SUVs "feel" safe but that is a false sense of security. Large 4-door sedans are the safest class of vehicles.

    Posted by WVW in Newton December 23, 08 02:21 PM
  1. Give me my good old F150 4WD PU!

    Posted by Old Dude December 23, 08 02:38 PM
  1. I will never envy a BUMMER owner...

    Posted by tony December 23, 08 03:11 PM
  1. In 99.99% of the winter driving situations we face here in NE, the driver matters far more than the car they are in. I've driven my crappy Kia hatchback without a problem past Landrovers in ditches before. I've gotten Civics out of icy parking spaces that Southern drivers had been spinning in for half an hour. On Friday night at the hight of the snow I stopped with out a problem at a light in my Sonata and watched the 4Runner going the other direction do a 180 trying to turn left.

    If you want to drive a giant truck, that's up to you, but don't start playing the victim when the rest of us call you out on how selfish you are. And own up to the fact that unless you are actually plowing, the only difference over a car is that when you do start sliding sideways, you're more likely to flip over.


    Posted by John December 23, 08 03:39 PM
  1. The Hummer is a complete waste ,I will never understand why anybody would buy one!! That H3Hummer however has ZERO space, for passengers AND cargo ,so to that end it is a waste of money and road space.
    That said, I own a diesel Ford Excursion, But the difference is, it has a TREMENDOUS amount of hauling space, and towing capacity....Which I need for work. I dont like to drive it unless I need to do some hauling for work at my business............... Some of us simply NEED a bigger SUV, whether we want it or not. To pound on anyone that owns a larger SUV is foolish, pound on the ones that own them for status, people like me that have a true use fro them............And there are many of us out there.
    My personal vehicle is a Honda Pilot, still an SUV, but much smaller and better on mileage.

    Posted by Pete December 23, 08 03:39 PM
  1. Make mine a Subaru Outback XT! Zero problems in VT over the weekend with 2 ft of snow and only all-season tires. Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive rocks! Did I mention 8.7" of ground clearance?

    Posted by Anonymous December 23, 08 03:44 PM
  1. I lived in Vermont a few years ago and the winters they get make this weekend here in Boston look like a warm spring day. Every day it snowed there I saw many cars off the side of the road and I'd say 80% of them were SUV's. The feeling of security in an SUV leads to pushing limits and often pushing them too far. I learned the limits of my Boston-driving-capable two wheel drive VW Golf the first week there when I slid off the road. I bought snow tires that day and never slid off the road again. If you want to drive in real snow, buy studded snow tires for a few hundred bucks. You don't need to add a ton of steel to your car to be able to drive safely in the snow.

    Posted by AJK December 23, 08 04:25 PM
  1. I have owned a 4 wheel drive toyota truck, a subaru station wagon and most recently a honda fit. All are fantastic in the snow -- due to great, season-appropriate tires. Doesn't matter how fast you can go in the snow if you can't stop and that has nothing to do with all or four wheel drive

    Posted by jermo December 23, 08 04:53 PM
  1. The ANTI-everythings are nothing but a bunch of [expletive deleted] artists who like to blame everyone else for all the world's problems. What you buy with your money is your business and nobody else's. If other people don't like it they will just have to lump it. If the ANTIS are going to blame HUMMER/SUV/truck owners for global warming then let them explain why it is so cold and snowing all over the North Temperate Zone.

    Posted by Archimedes December 23, 08 04:58 PM
  1. Sorry, Hummer my butt..Jeep, only Jeep!!

    Posted by Anonymous December 23, 08 05:10 PM
  1. Make that a 4 door Unlimited Wrangler
    Can't take the roof off a Hummer3

    Posted by Anonymous December 23, 08 05:14 PM
  1. My VW Beetle had no problems navigating in the snow... Why would I want to trade it in for anything else? It's not about the car, it's about the driver. Know the limitations of your vehicle, know how it responds under various conditions and know when you should NOT be driving.

    Posted by BeetleDriver December 23, 08 05:17 PM
  1. The over-confidence of many SUV drivers is evident in the numerous SUV's one
    sees imbedded in a snow bank or , unfortunately, flipped over on the highway.

    Posted by J December 23, 08 06:49 PM
  1. If you need a Hummer to drive in the snow, you need to to back to Driver Ed to learn the basics.

    I have a 95 Olds Cutlass, front wheel drive, 4 speed automatic, with all weather tires. I've gotten off my property in 8 inches of snow up an incline driveway. I have never gotten stuck, ever, even in last winter's Vermont record snowfalls.

    Posted by FLH December 23, 08 07:04 PM
  1. front wheel drive and snow tires will get you any where you want to go this time of year. I do recall a drive last winter where my (small) car full of friends got a laugh out of the H3 STUCK in the ditch. four wheel drive doesn't help you stop. It only helps you go faster. If you can't stop you shouldn't go faster.
    On another note: is that big iron tow hook on the plastic bumper of the H2 functional?

    Posted by jm December 23, 08 07:50 PM
  1. Regarding Dave's link to hybrid misinformation, here is the later retraction by the writer of that article:
    http://clubs.ccsu.edu/recorder/editorial/editorial_item.asp?NewsID=203
    and well-deserved criticism of that "study:"
    http://www.slate.com/id/2186786/
    http://www.pacinst.org/topics/integrity_of_science/case_studies/hummer_versus_prius.html

    There are plenty of other front, four and all-wheel drive vehicles available that get around just fine in New England, and are more reliable, efficient, comfortable, better designed, with higher resale value, and less expensive! Why bother with one of these unless you just crave the look.

    And how the hell did we ever get around back when everybody had rear wheel drive cars?

    Posted by nmc December 23, 08 08:01 PM
  1. What kind of delusional person wrote this article? Looking at them with envy because its snowing out?!?!?!

    I think not, 9 times out of 10 there is a fool behind the wheel that thinks they are indestructible, driving like maniacs doing things they would never contemplate in normal weather.. like driving down the median strip. But yet, who I see stuck in the median strip or in a ditch somewhere — as I cruise by in my CR-V (AWD) or Accord (FWD) because I actually know how to drive in the snow.

    Posted by mtbr1975 December 23, 08 08:54 PM
  1. most people who bash the hummer or any suv are just jealous because they cant afford one. Plain and simple. You drive a civic or a focus because that is all you can afford. People in NE really need to stop stating that this is a waste becasue it isnt green and realize that if they could afford it, they too would own one of these suv's. I personally own 3 landrovers and wouldnt trade it for the world and I wasnt crying when gas was at 4 bucks a gallon.

    Posted by realist in Miami December 23, 08 08:58 PM
  1. Yeah, why don't you also get a bullet proof west, just in case? For one of those days...
    I grew up in Eastern Europe in a city of the same size as Boston and everybody managed to get by without Hummer or SUV. We used even bigger vehicle called bus.

    Posted by RK December 23, 08 08:58 PM
  1. I owned, H3. I.M, so happy. Before I owned, land Rover, Nissan Patphinder..
    My doughter, drive a Chevy Blazer. more fancy, more expensive. But my
    Hummer is confortable.

    Posted by sebasstian December 23, 08 09:18 PM
  1. I'll take my Dodge Ram with the 35" Toyo MT's ... they love this snow, sand and mud...

    Posted by ain't no senators son December 23, 08 10:38 PM
  1. Heavier vehicles, such as SUVs, have much worse braking ability in the snow (physics and mass and all). As someone who has owned a Jeep and a Focus, I can say the Jeep, driven judiciously, is better in the snow-- but not by nearly as much as you'd think. Very few people need a 4wd, or even an AWD, vehicle. You might enjoy it, but you (probably) don't need it. Jeeps are fun, but really terrible for the environment, to be honest.

    Posted by Roy December 24, 08 05:07 AM
  1. If you need a Hummer to get through a Boston area winter you are either dumb, weak, or both. Sorry.

    Posted by bubmack December 24, 08 06:18 AM
  1. Don't see the need for a Hummer in the gentrified, urbanized, civilized, congested Northeastern USA, where a road left unplowed after 4 hours would be grounds for a legislative hearing. Hummers have their place in the US and in the world. On I95, Downtown Boston, NY, even the highways to the ski resorts - unnecessary.

    Take them out west 50 miles from the nearest outpost, in the back range, that's a different story.

    Posted by billski December 24, 08 06:54 AM
  1. Unless you are emergency or rescue there is no need for them. We have three or four storms a year. It doesn't justify a Hummer. There is a woman that drives around the Lexington area in a yellow one. She looks like a moron in the carpool lane to pick up her two kids at school. Dad had a stationwagon and he did just fine. The Hummer says a lot about its driver, and unless there is a Red Cross painted on the doors and hood, none of what it says is good.

    Posted by Vivalaselvis December 24, 08 07:51 AM
  1. 1 word..... HATERS !!!!


    Posted by RC December 24, 08 08:17 AM
  1. Hmm...my AWD BMW does quite fine in the snow. I was all over the place this past weekend. I saw plenty of other CARS out doing just fine.

    Having a hulking over-consuming SUV for the 6 times a year we get a major storm is just pointless. If we lived somewhere where it did this for 9 months straight and measured snow with yardsticks, THEN MAYBE, it would make more sense. Even then a Subaru would be just fine. One that gets 25-30 on the highway.

    Posted by LM December 24, 08 08:34 AM
  1. Come on, people, this is America and people are allowed to drive what they want to drive. If you don't like it, too bad. Nobody's bashing the Corvette drivers with their 6.0L, 2 passenger RWD coupes, so why bash the Hummer owner getting the same mileage. Noboday bashes AWD minivans, which get similar mileage to some SUVs.

    That's what makes this country so great... we get to CHOOSE. So lighten up, have a warm cider, and relax.

    Posted by IlldrivewhateverIwantodrive December 24, 08 09:10 AM
  1. Corvettes get 15mpg city and at least 24 mpg highway. A friend drove an '05 Vette all the way back from Florida and averaged 26 mpg for the trip. Dollar for dollar, Vettes are the best car in the world. Back to the topic - I have an AWD Mercury Milan with ABS and had absolutely no trouble last weekend in the snow. Before that I had a P.O.S. 1987 Chevy Nova which had no trouble once I put snow tires on. I eventually sold the whole car for $200 (basically the cost of the tires), so no, I am not envious of someone in a Hummer...

    Posted by BlueDevilZO6 December 24, 08 10:25 AM
  1. I think while keeping the orginal article in mind, the Hummer is problaby the BEST in the WORST condition. I'll have to read it again but I don't think there was a snow speed test or anything like that. He only stated the fact that this Hummer is extremely capable. And there's no doubting that. If there's one thing the Hummer has done right, it's making a vehicle that is capable of getting through the worst conditions.

    When the H2 first came onto the scene we saw it as an abomination when one of the guys in our town bought one. That winter we were, yes, envious that he was out 'saving' people while the rest of us were stranded at home. It was so bad, the police had the 'snow cat' out also helping those who were in need. Sure it's obnoxious the rest of the year but it doesn't hide that fact that it was bred from the creators of the original military spec vehicle and some of that immense utility has trickled down to its scions; the H2 and H3. And of course the immense massing along with it.

    Posted by Andy B December 24, 08 10:46 AM
  1. Hey bubmack...you seam mad...is it the fact that most people that hate SUV's are just mad cause they cant afford cool rides like Suburbans and Hummers...they are stuck in POS weak civics corrollas and priuses...yea I would be mad if too if I had to fart around in those gay eco cars...

    Posted by EJFX December 24, 08 10:47 AM
  1. IF you can afford a Hummer, then there is nothing wrong with driving one, I have driven an SUV my whole life and will continue to drive one until it is illegal, this is the USA and we have the freedom to drive what we want. Anybody who says otherwise should move to Cambridge, hippy [expletive deleted]!!!!

    Posted by R December 24, 08 10:59 AM
  1. I would love to try a Corvette with snow tires for a New England winter! It's much too easy in a Cadillac with ABS and traction control and way fun but still very safe with a Jeep without ABS or traction control. It's not the car that makes you safe, it's the driver.

    Posted by Glenn December 24, 08 10:59 AM
  1. As we say in Jamaica Plain, the bigger the SUV (or Hummer), the smaller the you-know-what!

    Posted by JP Gal December 24, 08 02:10 PM
  1. Posted by JD December 24, 08 03:34 PM
  1. The Globe needs to fire Clifford Atiyeh. His articles are consistently anti environment and pro gas guzzler.

    Posted by Axle December 24, 08 10:15 PM
  1. "Don't see the need for a Hummer in the gentrified, urbanized, civilized, congested Northeastern USA, where a road left unplowed after 4 hours would be grounds for a legislative hearing. Hummers have their place in the US and in the world. On I95, Downtown Boston, NY, even the highways to the ski resorts - unnecessary.

    "Take them out west 50 miles from the nearest outpost, in the back range, that's a different story."

    Exactly! I don't judge people for their vehicle ownership because I don't know their circumstances. Personally, I don't own a car at all and use mass transit and the occasional taxi instead. Other people have other circumstances and do need the passenger space of a sedan, the off-road capability of an SUV, or whatever.

    Posted by Leslie December 25, 08 12:26 AM
  1. Hey JP Gal. May I prove you wrong. ;)

    Ho Ho Ho

    Posted by bigone December 25, 08 07:25 AM
  1. this is a joke, yeah?

    HUMMER is not particularily good in the snow, there are MANY, MANY other vehicles, at a fraction of the cost and at better mpg, that are better in the snow than a HUMMER.

    the H3 is simply a Trailblazer with different sheet metal.

    Posted by mikeybigboy December 25, 08 11:10 AM
  1. Come on, this is America, and we can all forget about the environment and the rest of the world! It's better to be free, destructive and hated than to show a little self-control for the rest of humanity!

    Please. Get a Subaru or better yet learn to drive 2WD properly. I've driven a 2WD Saab over Donner Pass (10-12% grades) in an ice storm without any problems. You just need to know your vehicle and its limits.

    Posted by DeeF December 25, 08 11:15 AM
  1. I grew up in NE and now reside in CO. My daily commute takes me over Hoosier pass over the conitnental divide from Park County to Summit County. It can snow any day of the year and we avg @ 300 inches a year. No one drives Hummers here. I'd say it is 60% Subarus to 40% 4X4 pick ups or other regular SUVs. Hummers are just plain dumb. I drive a 94 Toyota 4X4 pick up and my wife drives a 2002 Impala with studded snows. We've never been stuck.

    Posted by pete@10000ft December 25, 08 12:56 PM
  1. Living in Norway, conditions changes, especially the inland of Norway, from -50 to +70 during winter in the same week in the winter months. I have been relocated to the US 11 times and I never understand why people panic when the temprature moves below the 32 degrees. Last time I was relocated, we lived in MA. My wife's car was a Dodge Durango 5.8 4x4, I was stuck (!?!) with a Volvo V70. We had a steep incline to our house ( 400 yd and 22 degree hillside slope.1)Guess what car that go stuck uphill? Guess what car slid outside the road going downhill? I'll give you a free entrance to the Viking Museum in Oslo, if you guess both right. Suggestions: Buy a Volvo!

    Posted by Johan Stemmen December 25, 08 03:43 PM
  1. Don't envy Hummer owners at all - it's not every day when someone advertises they have very small sexual organs and are trying to make up for it. In the city? A Hummer is just a pretentious for people who don't know how to drive. I happily drive a Celica, go in the mountains during winter and never get stuck or worry about my shortcomings.

    It's not as much about the environment as the motive. Ranchers certainly need something like Hummers - 90% of Massachusetts? Naw but it's great to save time by not having to talk to someone they're a typical insecure Masshole.

    Posted by CJ December 25, 08 06:39 PM
  1. I don't see how it's anybodies business what someone else is driving. I work hard for my money and I'm free to spend it however I see fit. I have owned four SUV's including my current car which is a Honda Ridgeline. Nothing performs better in the rain, snow and ice than a 4x4 here in New England. I like knowing that I am not stuck in the house during a storm or that I can get home from work in inclimate weather without a problem. I like driving up the left lane, passing all the sedans along the way and getting home hours before everybody else. I didn't mind when gas was $4.50 a gallon as it didn't change my driving habits one bit. I drive 16-20k miles a year so I want to be comfortable and safe while I am on the road.

    Posted by Anonymous December 25, 08 09:24 PM
  1. I grew up in the snow belt of upstate NY. We all learned to drive in the snow in crappy rear wheel drive vehicles, but somehow we managed to survive. If you need a Hummer to get through the winter in New England, you are overcompensating for your deficiencies. I don't hate you. I laugh at you.

    Posted by Roger D. December 25, 08 10:23 PM
  1. Clifford Atiyeh gets my vote for dumbest automotive columnist of 2009.

    Posted by CS December 26, 08 08:42 AM
  1. I have driven the following vehicles in New England over the last 30 years:
    69 Buick Special (Bad in snow)
    73 Plymouth Valiant (OK with snow tires)
    80 Plymouth Sapporo (Bad)
    84 Dodge D-50 2WD Pickup (Sild backwards down Mission Hill with snow tires)
    91 Dodge Power Ram 50 4WD (Excellent)
    85 Toyota Camry (Marginal in snow)
    94 Acura Integra (Good w/snow tires on all 4 wheels)
    04 GMC Envoy (Excellent in 4WD, OK in AWD)

    Posted by crazytalk December 26, 08 09:06 AM
  1. There are two issues with winter driving: Traction and ground clearance. Even with front wheel drive, a car will not go when snow is piling up under the floorboards. I think the Envoy/Trailblazer is a good mix of truck and passenger car that can get close to 20 mpg if driven lightly. I have also driven a Honda CRV from Boston to Lincoln NH in a howling snowstorm and thought it was dangerous and unstable as it would slide off of 93 based on the pitch of the road. 4WD with good ground clearance is the only way to go in a snow storm. Everyone else, please stay home!!!
    The Hummer H3 is based on the Envoy/Trailblazer platform, but I think it is less versatile.

    Posted by crazytalk December 26, 08 09:12 AM
  1. GM killed the electric car around the same time they acquired the Hummer line. And just this past week, after congress said "go screw yourself" our beloved "I love the oil industry" President gives them a pat on the ass along with a few billion to correct the mistake everyone saw them make. Who loses out here? Not the execs of GM who made that decision, but us the tax payer. I don't want a part of the US Auto Industry. Who wants a dinosaur? Even the creationists know the dinosaurs are dead!
    http://www.whokilledtheelectriccar.com/

    Posted by Waide December 26, 08 09:12 AM
  1. Our AWD Sienna minivan and Subaru wagon both do fine in winter muck. The minivan excels at hauling kids around and for long highway trips, in addition to hauling more stuff than pretty much any SUV on the market. The Subaru is really fun to drive (it's a WRX) We previously had a CR-V that did just fine, too. Sure, they aren't going to do well when they run out of ground clearance, but most of the time you can wait a few hours and the plow crews will have caught up with it and pretty much anyone can get around. We aren't out there on jeep trails for fun, where an extreme vehicle might be needed.

    Posted by J December 26, 08 12:21 PM
  1. Although I would never buy one, there obviously is a market for the Hummer when gas prices are low. However, when things get tight again, don't bail out GM for building too many of them. They should succeed or fail on their own.

    As for me, my Subaru Forrester, my Audi, or just about any other AWD car works fine in the winter (I snowboard and park in very dicey lots that are barely plowed). I've driven home from snowboarding in a blinding blizzard and have never had problems holding the road with those vehicles.

    Posted by Dave December 26, 08 01:45 PM
  1. Funny, I saw three H2 stuck in snow banks when driving around this last snow storm. It really does not matter how good the car is in the snow, it matter how good the driver is in the snow. You go 50 on snow/ice covered roads you are gonna crash and burn no matter what you drive.

    I drove just fine in my 2002 PT Cruiser

    Posted by James E Stevenson December 26, 08 03:55 PM
  1. What's wrong with the Globe car writers? One is scared to merge on I-95 with a Prius, the other one has panic attacks about driving in the snow with anything but a Hummer. How about some driving lessons?
    I don't think people need to be told what to drive (gas prices will sort that out eventually), but there's a reason one of the car makers involved here came to Washington crying, hat in hand (hint: it wasn't Toyota).

    Posted by Andy December 26, 08 08:09 PM
  1. Long story short, I had a daughter and felt a need to purchase an h2 for her own protection to keep her safe from idiotic people who feel that they need to drive 75 or faster on highways. You know the ones who do not yield when merging onto the highway, tailgate, etc. Relax, what is the rush anyways? If you want to reduce your carbon footprint slow down! I spent the first year of my daughter's life putting her in the back of our 07 jetta and there were to many close calls. She is priceless and I wouldn't put her in anything less. If everyone were driving compact cars it would be ideal but i'm not putting my family's fate in the hands of a moronic drunk driver driving another suv. If you have to make a negative comment on someone elses posession than I hate to say it but you have something deeper going on inside you. It's just a car, you don't like it don't buy one! Who doesn't want to save the planet and be all Eco friendly? We need to save the human race before we can
    save the planet! All you can do is take care of yourself and your own. Enough time wasted on this ridiculous subject-i'm done! Sent from my iPhone

    Posted by Hummer H2 Owner December 27, 08 12:47 AM
  1. I drive my little car past a lot of stuck or sliding 4WD vehicles (of all sorts) in worse snow than Boston ever sees. I've even towed THEM out!

    4WD is not a bad thing, but it'll never beat knowing your vehicle and driving it well.

    Posted by Brian December 27, 08 01:15 AM
  1. My hummer crashed in a snow storm couple of days ago, there were 30 cars in a pile up. I was fine though, truck was a little banged up, but the other people were much worse. I did not hit anyone.

    Its a safe truck to be in, but if there is black ice suddenly, no one gets traction, 4WD or not...

    Keep that in mind even when you have traction control and winter tires...

    Posted by Matthew Bennett December 27, 08 01:43 AM
  1. I tend not to believe someone that says they saw 3 H2's stuck in one weekend.

    PT cruiser is so .... ugly.

    Posted by ramman December 27, 08 08:16 AM
  1. FWD, RWD, AWD, they are only tools to help you navigate; it is the driver who makes the different.

    Hummer H1, Honda Accord, or Toyota Prius, they are all "People Movers", what gives you a right to judge other people's cars.

    If you own a vehicle, there is nothing "Green" about them at all; stop driving, start walking.

    Posted by Miles December 27, 08 09:13 AM
  1. yeah, great idea. Buy a gas guzzler so you won't get stuck when it snows a couple of times a year.

    And when demand for gas goes up, partially thanks to people with delusions of grandeur buying these ridiculous displays of personal inadequacy, we all have to pay for it. Stop making them. Plain and simple. Why anyone needs one except to make themselves look cool is beyond me. There was once a day which people didnt have suvs or these hummers, and somehow, life went on.

    Posted by pollie December 27, 08 10:10 AM
  1. It's good in snow; BF'nD. What are you supposed to do with that useless piece of junk the other 358 days of the year?

    Posted by elmer42 December 27, 08 01:51 PM
  1. The Hummer is a gas-guzzling abomination that should never have been released to the public. None of the all-wheel-drive vehicles are ever going to get the mileage of the Toyota Corolla, but if you want to navigate safely in bad weather, get an AWD sedan and do your part to push Hummers to extinction, where they belong.

    Posted by Jay December 27, 08 04:45 PM
  1. ugly but useful

    Posted by grandmaster December 27, 08 06:18 PM
  1. I drive a snowmobile. It works great in the snow.

    Posted by George December 27, 08 11:01 PM
  1. I've gone offroading in an H1 before and can assure that it's flawless even in the worst conditions (granted you aren't dumb enough to roll with performance tires).

    It all depends on your situation. I live on top of a steep hill on a backroad that barely gets plowed, so 4wd with a set of good tires comes in handy. And not all suvs are evil. My 07 CRV with
    4wd can get 30 on the highway and 22 in the city - about the same as most smaller 4wd sedans.

    Posted by kdilkington December 28, 08 10:17 AM
  1. To each his own, that is what I say. I have an H3 and have never once felt in danger even during the biggest snowstorm. AND, we have kids and that truck is as safe as they come. It is a tank. So excuse me if I don't want to put my kids in a small coffin like Prius.

    Posted by h3guy December 28, 08 11:26 AM
  1. I'm going to buy a back-hoe and start driving it around, because someday we just might have a major mudslide and who will be laughing then?

    Posted by David December 28, 08 01:04 PM
  1. misinformed idiots like the one writing this article need to stop propagating the misconception that somehow a 4wd or awd setup alone will allow you to drive around as if you are somehow "safe" or will "make it home ... every time." for winter driving, a set of winter tires + wheels for my 4-cyl FWD (so it's easy to swap by myself) let's me run circles around most SUVs because they don't have the proper "shoes."

    as for the rest of the year, truck tires are terrible in dry conditions compared to passenger tires. nor will you make it home if you roll over. and that P.O.S. H3? it has less passenger space than my mother's CR-V. it is a pathetic excuse of a vehicle that cannot carry much, is not efficient, runs slower than most 4-cyl sedans while using more gas. like elmer42 says, even if you ARE guaranteed not to get stuck in snow, does that justify its existence? this fall i passed a Grand Cherokee on a turn, and saw it slide and almost hit the curb. safe? i don't think so.

    there's also something more important than getting moving in snow -- when you are sliding sideways or trying to stop, i don't care how many wheel-drive you have, it does not make a difference if you do not have winter tires on. i felt so bad (not really) right after the last storm when literally every one of the 4 or 5 vehicles in the ditches off 93 were -- you guessed it -- SUVs. i'd like to see a HUMMER turned onto its side in the ditch drive its owner home "every time." 4WD, as the name suggests, has nothing to do with stopping or turning because those maneuvers require friction and contact of your wheels with the ground.

    yes, everyone has the right to drive whatever, blah blah. but please don't use pathetic excuses to justify an SUV. most SUVs are driven with no passengers or cargo, on most days. they take up the extra space and use the additional energy for zero benefit most of the time. just look outside your window as you are driving. i challenge you to count more than a handful of SUVs or HUMMERS that carry more than just the driver. if you have your personal reasons for a Jeep or HUMMER, whatever. none of my business. but i do know most of you feel so guilty that you come up with all kinds of b.s. reasons. if you want to flaunt it, so be it. i don't hear people driving 9-mpg Lamborghini's use lame excuses such as "i need the awd."

    Posted by DLu December 28, 08 09:57 PM
  1. this is an article written by a guy who owns a bus pass and no car/truck of his own? are you serious when you think it's better in snow? i happen to own a Mazda, and i see plenty of big, fat SUVs stuck on the side of the road, helpless, as i drive by them (true, i do have the disadvantage of not being able to tow idiots out of trouble).

    i don't hear owners of 911's or Murcielagos or RS4's pretend they "need" some feature of their car (like the AWD) to justify the purchase. i am, however, VERY VERY jealous of them. HUMMER? SUV? no thanks. they can't do much that another, more efficient vehicle can't do just as well (if not better).

    it's possibly your right to flaunt your Range Rover or whatever. but please, leave the pathetic excuses to yourselves.

    Posted by RH December 28, 08 10:19 PM
  1. What is this man talking about? Something that really happened? A Christmas fantasy? Is his exhaust system ventilating properly?

    If anyone should (but probably don't) feel envy, it is motor vehicle owners feeling envy for those of us who do not own motor vehicles at all. We never get stuck in snow. We never get cars broken into or stolen. We never have costly repairs. We laughed at your whining over gas prices. We don't kill our neighbors with pollution. We actually live in the neighborhoods where we work.

    Incidentally, where do you live that roads are snowed in more than 24 hours? If you can afford a Hummer, you can afford to move.

    Posted by jk December 29, 08 12:33 AM
  1. Funny, but I seem to remember a story about a Hummer getting stuck on a narrow street in Boston, preventing emergency vehicles from getting to a stroke victim. But I didn't read about that in this story.

    Posted by Dan December 29, 08 07:56 AM
  1. Maybe if those Hummer drivers had better road visibility, they would see other GM built cars like the Saab 9-3 XWD zip around them and leave them in the dust (er, I mean powder.)

    Posted by DMR December 29, 08 09:02 AM
  1. Keep the Hummer for what it was originally intended, military use.
    They look ridiculous on public highways, and yeah, they're for posers of some type.
    ....IMHO of course

    Posted by ace57 December 29, 08 09:27 AM
  1. If you are really interested in learning anything, you should check out post #37, written by nmc, and follow his links. There is so much misinformation in these posts that it's hard to know where to start. All you have to do is to read a little bit to realize that:
    1) The oil's running out - it's already started.
    2) Our petrodollars support the expansion of regimes like Saudi Arabia and Russia, which are anti-democratic. Some of them, like Iran are clearly pro-terrorism.
    3) All of us are driving the climate change process - the more oil you burn, the more damage you do.
    Hummer fans, the reason why your vehicle is a bullseye for the rest of us is that it's so supremely wasteful. Celebrating consumption may have been cool in the 1980's, but I think that what we need is for folks to turn their passion and patriotism toward helping the U.S. become leaders again. We need a new kind of car, and the Prius is a step in that direction.
    Finally, Clifford, how can you still have a job working for the Globe? Any high school kid would have his head handed to him for the kind of sloppy journalism you practice. At least check leads and sources before you forward some stupid Prius vs. Hummer article to us. Bad facts are bad facts, and you should know the difference, or care enough to find out.

    Posted by ConcernedAmerican December 29, 08 09:32 AM
  1. Some vehicles need a little push in the positive direction. This car got a bad rep but it's not ALL bad. If you are fortunate to own/afford a Hummer, you problaby have an alternate car in the wings for when you don't need it.

    Every car can be driven in the snow, some are more capable than others.

    After reading the past eh 1,000 nagative posts about the vehicle and the author who wrote it, I find that most of you seem really cynical. C'mon America, you used to be cool. LOL

    Posted by Anonymous December 29, 08 01:27 PM
 

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Clifford Atiyeh is an automotive writer and car enthusiast . He has spent his entire life driving cars he doesn't own.
In the garage: 1995 21-speed Iron Horse, 2002 Jeep Wrangler X (by association)
Bill Griffith is a veteran Boston Globe reporter, having reviewed cars for more than 10 years and serving as assistant sports editor for 25 years. He was also the paper's sports media columnist.
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AAA's Car Doctor, John Paul John Paul is public affairs manager for AAA Southern New England, a certified mechanic, and a Globe columnist. He hosts a weekly radio show on WROL.
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Craig Fitzgerald has been writing about cars, motorcycles, and the automotive industry since 1999. He is the former editor of Hemmings Sports & Exotic Car.
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