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2007 Hummer H3 Performance

This performance review was written when the 2007 Hummer H3 was new.

Reviewers generally aren't thrilled about the 2007 Hummer H3's on-road performance, but they feel it's more than adequate -- even ideal -- for off-road driving. According to Car and Driver, "Off-road, where gradual and precise throttle response is usually far more important than power (particularly when a low crawl ratio is included), the H3 is just right."

U.S. News reviewer Rick Newman says that "for those who need real off-road talents -- or are willing to pay for them, just in case a hurricane comes through -- the H3 is at the top of the class. It can ford 2 feet of water, plow through deep sand, and manage other obstacles that would puncture the manhood of most other SUVs."

Acceleration and Power

The Hummer H3 comes with a 3.7-liter 242-horsepower V6 engine that most writers feel is fine for off-road driving but only adequate, if that, for breezing down paved roads. It has the torque required to crawl over boulders, but is short on the horsepower needed for the freeway. "I found the H3 to be remarkably underpowered," says the reviewer for The Auto Channel. "...The horsepower peaks at 5,600 rpm -- pretty useless -- but the torque peaks at 2,800 rpm -- closer to where you want it. The H3 weighs about 4,700 pounds so it takes that entire limited grunt to just get down the road adequately."

Reviewers largely feel that the Hummer H3 has pretty good fuel economy -- for a Hummer. Says MSN, "[T]he payoff with five cylinders is the best Hummer fuel economy." According to Motor Week, "Despite its boxy shape, fuel economy is about the norm for a truck-based SUV." The EPA rating for the H3 is 14 miles per gallon in the city and 18 mpg on the highway.

Many auto writers have reservations about the Hummer H3's acceleration. Automobile Magazine says, "Unfortunately, the H3 is also slow" and adds that the engine "doesn't have the power to give it much of a push when you jump on the throttle." However, Motor Week feels that "[w]hile very much a middle-weight utility, the H3 is much lighter on its feet than many SUVs its size." The Kansas City Star dislikes that "[t]he side windows are narrow and rear visibility can be challenging because the spare tire intrudes on the view." Several writers note that the H3 has excessive engine noise. U.S. News reviewer Rick Newman writes, "The engine can be loud, and the vertical windshield creates lots of resistance that penetrates the cabin."

Hummer offers a choice of 4-speed automatic transmission or 5-speed manual. Forbes likes the manual transmission both on-road and off: "The H3 gets a row-row gearbox of old. And if you drive off-road you want this because a manual transmission yields a lot more slow-speed control for climbing steep terrain or descending around giant boulders. And by the way, a manual shifter makes the Hummer a lot more fun to drive on the road, too. Like driving a Jeep Wrangler, doing physical work while driving this vehicle makes you feel as if you're off-roading, even if you're just crawling to work like any other Joe."

Handling and Braking

When not kicking up dust or fording streams, critics say that the Hummer H3 has fairly good handling -- considering that it's a truck. As MSN Autos puts it, "Steering and handling are fine. The ride is generally composed, but can become truck-like on some roads. After all, this is a truck."

U.S. News reviewer Rick Newman says, "It handles remarkably well for a large vehicle, thanks to wheels pushed out to the far edges of the chassis." And how is the H3 in the city? According to Newsweek, "It even handled well on the bumpy roads of New York's Chinatown. Credit the H3's fine-tuned turning radius, which bests smaller cars like the Dodge Neon; my tester slid into parallel parking spaces and performed U-turns with no problem at all."

The H3 has an independent suspension, which Kelley Blue Book finds "surprisingly springy and reacts quickly to bumps...the H3 delivers an impressively easygoing ride." The power-assisted rack and pinion steering is "fine," according to MSN. Auto Mall USA says that "the tight steering and 37-foot turning circle combine to make parking, even parallel parking, a simple maneuver."

Brake performance on the Hummer H3 is mediocre at best, largely because of the vehicle's weight. Edmunds puts it best, "Even with its four-wheel antilock disc brakes, the H3 stopped from 60 mph in a lengthy 141 feet. There was also more brake dive than we would like...Long stopping distances aren't that uncommon for hefty SUVs, but the H3 might have earned a better mark without the deep knobby tread of its serious off-road tires."

Off-Roading

Hummers excel at off-road driving and the 2007 Hummer H3, smaller if not gentler than the H1 and H2 models, is no exception. New Car Test Drive writes, "[W]e were amazed how the stock H3 tackled a trail normally reserved for modified off-road vehicles. General Motors says its engineers and designers created the H3 to have best-in-class off-road ability. Our experience indicates that they achieved their goal." The best off-road results come with the optional Adventure package, which adds larger tires, a 4:1 transfer case, and heavy-duty shock absorbers.

One of the reasons for the H3's off-road prowess is the extremely low reduction ratio available from the manual transmission. "This 'granny gear' provides slo-mo crawling over rocks with superb control," says Car and Driver. "Serious off-roaders prefer a manual gearbox, if a granny gear is part of the package...With a manual and low-ratio transfer case [with the Adventure package] the vehicle crawls as if it were cogged directly to the earth's surface at a pace precisely controlled by your foot."

Review Last Updated: 5/2/08

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