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#21

in 2010 Affordable Midsize SUVs

Avg. Price Paid: $21,276 - $25,522
Original MSRP: $33,390 - $41,705
MPG: 14 City / 18 Hwy
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2010 Hummer H3 Performance

This performance review was created when the car was new. Some links may no longer point to an active page.

The 2010 Hummer H3 is a tough, off-road-ready vehicle. However, reviewers said its talents aren't as apparent when it gets on solid pavement, mainly due to an underpowered base engine and dismal fuel economy.

  • "H3 is reasonably agile with no excessive body lean in turns. Responsive steering has a hefty feel. A relatively tight turning circle aids low-speed maneuverability. Stopping control IS good, though some testers complain of mushy brake pedal action." -- Consumer Guide
  • "The H3 is a four-wheel drive and the ride is smooth and turning smooth and stable. The sturdy suspension seems to absorb the bumps long before they get to its occupants." -- Autotropolis

Acceleration and Power

The Hummer H3 comes with a 3.7-liter five-cylinder engine that makes 239 horsepower and 241 pound-feet of torque. Base and Adventure models are paired with a five-speed manual transmission or available four-speed automatic (which is standard on Luxury models).

Most critics said the base engine is fine for low-speed off-road driving, but less so for accelerating the H3's hefty 4,695-pound mass down paved roads and highways. For more power, they recommended the Alpha trim's 5.3-liter V8, which delivers 300 horsepower and 320 pound-feet of torque. It's paired with the four-speed automatic transmission.

Fuel economy is a huge downside for the H3. According to the EPA, the base engine achieves 14/18 mpg city/highway, while the V8 achieves 13/16 mpg. These figures give it the worst fuel economy in both the affordable midsize SUV and off-road SUV classes.

  • "The standard inline-5 generally manages to keep up with traffic when tooling around town, but the Hummer H3's 4,700 pounds cause it to strain when tackling inclines and high-speed passing situations. The solution to this problem, of course, is the V8 engine found in the Alpha model. With it, the H3's character undergoes a transformation of sorts, with a muscular and much more promising exhaust note, and improved throttle response at all speeds." -- Edmunds
  • "Five-cylinder wagon models offer good acceleration around town with automatic transmission, but highway passing and merging reserves only adequate. Alpha V8 is stronger in all situations; Hummer estimates a 0-60 mph time of 8.0 seconds." -- Consumer Guide
  • "The H3's inline-five engine may leave more aggressive drivers hungry for more power, despite its almost alarming thirst for fuel." -- Car Gurus
  • "The Alpha feels relatively light on its feet in city traffic, with the V-8 producing strong acceleration." -- Cars.com.
  • "Much of the blame for the H3's lackadaisical thrust can be attributed to the modest gear spread of the H3's four-speed automatic, which was retained on account of insurmountable underhood packaging constraints." -- Car and Driver

Handling and Braking

Even when it isn't kicking up dust or fording streams, critics said that the Hummer H3 has fairly good handling -- considering that it's basically a truck.

  • "The ride is surprisingly smooth and belies the H3's tough-truck nature, but we would still advise you to steer clear of the 2009 Hummer H3 if you never intend to take it off the beaten path." -- Edmunds
  • "Steering and handling are fine. The ride is generally composed, but can become truck-like on some roads. After all, this is a truck." -- MSN
  • "Handling is one area in which the H3 distinguishes itself from its larger sibling, the H2. All H3s will breeze through tighter turns with a level of agility not typically associated with the Hummer name. The H3 also combines a sturdy and responsive steering system with a tight turning circle, together producing a reassuring and controlled feel on and off the pavement." -- Car Gurus
  • "Base and off-road suspensions absorb low-speed bumps well, but H3 is prone to bobbing at high speed." -- Consumer Guide

Off-Roading

Hummers excel at off-road driving and the 2010 Hummer H3 is no exception. The H3's standard ground clearance is 9.7 inches, which is high even for an off-road vehicle. Fording ability is 24 inches at 5 mph and 16 inches at 20 mph. A skid plate package with skid plates for the front, steering and suspension is standard.

The available off-road suspension package, standard on Adventure models and available on Luxury models, comes with a fully locking electronic front and rear differential, a special two-speed transfer case and 33-inch tires (which increase ground clearance to a very impressive 10.5 inches).

  • "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." -- New Car Test Drive
  • "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." -- Car and Driver
  • "Off the road, the junior Hummer comes into its element and can overcome just about any terrain you encounter, owing to 9 inches of ground clearance, ample wheel travel, standard skid plates and impressive approach and departure angles. Given this off-road capability, the H3 performs admirably on pavement, with decent stability at speed." -- Edmunds