The 2008 Hummer H3 SUV Alpha V-8 is the direct opposite of the rubber band school of automotive motion.
"Alpha" says it all. H3 is the alpha male of sports utilities now that General Motors added the 5.3L V-8. It takes muscle to move the nearly 5,000 pounds of street bully.
It's a tribute to the metal benders that H3 looks like it will kick beach sand in your face whilst resting on the skeleton of a compact pickup.
The really poky 5-cylinder motor that the V-8 can replace is still available for the semi-politically correct. The 3.7L 5-banger can be had with a five-speed manual for the masochistic.
The Alpha package also brings with it a chrome appearance group for door handles, exterior mirrors and wheels. There's lots of chrome inside, as well. Seats are leather and the driver's powers eight ways. It's also heated. The steering wheel is leather clad and a navigation system is available. This sort of thing kicks the price as tested to $42,220 from a base of $38,645.
The 300 horses of the V-8 gallop the H3 to 60 mph in 8.6 seconds via a four-speed automatic transmission. That's commendable and two seconds faster than the 262 horsepower I-5.
|Hummer H3 Alpha
•Engines: 3.7L I-5; 5.3L V-8
•Dimensions: 111.9" wheelbase; 186.7" length
•Base price: $38,645; As tested $42,220
•Fuel economy: 13/16 mpg
The driving position is nearly perfect and the four-spoke steering wheel just right. The ride is surprisingly comfortable and the H3 goes around corners competently.
There are no auxiliary controls on the spokes so that means (sob) a Smart Stalk for cruise control etc. That warehouse in Lansing must still have a supply of the turn-signal-wiper-cruise control.
Ignoring the Smart Stalk unpleasantness to the left of the steering column, the other controls fall easily to hand. The radio can be tuned with knobs (wow) but a CRT screen must be endured to get to the audio. Those buttons are small, nearly illegible and obviously a product of the Smart Stalk Institute, a non-profit organization.
The side mirrors are something special. Not only are they nice and large but they're positioned for the maximum field of vision. You don't need those little convex auxiliary mirrors.
Also noteworthy is the screen for the backup camera that cunningly shoots out of the rearview mirror when reverse is engaged. It provides a sharp, clear view of the back. That's needed because a combination of narrow windows and high headrests make rear vision chancy.
Ok, so the fuel economy is a dismal 13-mpg in the city and it rises to a miserable 16-mpg on the highway. So nobody's perfect.