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First look: Hummer H3 turbo

Accessible: The H3 mid-sizer aims to make the brand, which is famous for its full-size H1 and H2 behemoths, more accessible to a wider potential market.

GM reveals its compact Hummer, the H3 wagon, under consideration for Australia

9 Nov 2004

THIS is the Hummer to watch. The H3, now under consideration for release in Australia, made its world debut at the California international auto show on October 27.

As the smallest, most fuel efficient Hummer, it’s most likely to be sold Down Under if General Motors gives Holden the go-ahead to bring the famous US off-roader brand here.

Revealed in production spec for the first time, the utility wagon is a further development of the H3T concept shown at the Los Angeles auto show last January.

Due on sale in the US next year as a 2006 model, the mid-sized Hummer H3 is powered by a 3.5-litre turbocharged DOHC Vortec inline five-cylinder petrol engine that produces 260kW at 5600rpm and 474Nm of torque at 2800rpm.

Featuring variable valve timing, counter-rotating balance shafts and electronic throttle control, in H3 it is claimed to match the V8 H2 in terms of acceleration in most driving conditions.

At 2109kg, H3 is forecast to have combined fuel economy of as little as 20 miles per gallon, or around the 14L/100km mark.

The H3 mid-sizer aims to make the brand, which is famous for its full-size H1 and H2 behemoths, more accessible to a wider potential market, while retaining all of Hummer’s off-road capability.

Compared to the H2, the H3 is 430mm shorter, 152mm lower and 165mm narrower, giving it dimensions Hummer says allows it to comfortably navigate city traffic while delivering the brand’s trademark crawling and climbing ability.

Riding on a three-piece welded ladder frame with boxed components for extra strength, H3 has ground clearance of 230mm, an 11.28-metre turning circle, maximum breakover angle of 25 degrees, maximum approach angle of 40 degrees and maximum departure angle of 37 degrees.

Employing independent SLA torsion bar front suspension, Hotchkiss semi-elliptic multi-leaf rear suspension and extensive under-body protection, it can ford 405mm of water at 20mph or 610mm streams at 5mph, and climb 400mm vertical steps and rocks.

59 center image H3 will be the first Hummer to offer the choice of a manual or an automatic transmission in concert with its electronically controlled two-speed Borg-Warner four-wheel-drive system including a fully locking rear differential, traction control, underbody shielding and GM's StabiliTrak vehicle stability enhancement system.

A 2.64:1 low-range gear reduction ratio will be standard, alongside an optional gearset with a more aggressive 4.03:1 low range gearing. Operation modes include 4High-range Open for the road, 4High-range Locked to allow front-rear torque transfer, 4Low-range Locked for “severe off-pavement use” and the full-house 4Low-range Locked plus driver-selectable electronic rear differential locked.

A five-speed manual will be standard alongside the optional GM Hydra-Matic 4L60-E electronically controlled four-speed auto, which features shift modes specific to low-range operation and speed-based throttle progression to aid off-road driveability.

Standard 16 x 7.5-inch alloy wheels will come with two tyre packages for H3, both larger than any other midsize SUV: Goodyear 32-inch all-terrain tyres and Bridgestone 33-inch rubber.

Inside, there’s a perforated leather-wrapped steering wheel and shifter knob, sports bucket front seats, 60/40-split rear seats, power windows and mirrors, compass, three 12-volt outlets, daytime running lights, remote central locking, battery rundown protection and a tyre pressure monitoring system.

There will be the choice of four sound systems, while other premium options will include heated leather seats, a large electric sliding sunroof, DVD-based navigation and roofrail-mounted side curtain airbags.

H3 also features a large rear swing gate with fixed heated glass, a rear wiper and full-size spare, along with standard front tow hooks and a welded-on rear bumper recovery hook.

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