GM's Hummer division is well aware that it has come to represent wretched excess to many Americans, and it wants you to know that its new SUV, the H3, is a kindler, gentler Hummer. This smaller, more fuel efficient model is based on the platform that underlies the Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon mid-size pickups. Available only with a 3.5-liter five-cylinder engine that produces 220 horsepower at 5600 rpm and 225 lb-ft of torque at 2800 rpm, the 4700-pound H3 will have its work cut out for it towing its rated 4500 pounds-or even just motivating its own weight.
While the base price will likely be a bit under $35,000 for an H3 with cloth seats and a five-speed manual transmission, options like a four-speed automatic transmission, leather seating, DVD navigation, head curtain air bags, and stability control will push the price to around $40,000.
We wouldn't be surprised to see a turbocharged five or an in-line six powering the H3 at some point, but that would come during the '07 model year at the earliest. Hummer dealers hope that the H3 is the salvation they need because sales of the full-size H1 and H2 have slowed to a crawl, even with hefty incentives. Given the H3's distinctive, rugged styling and relatively affordable price, there's a good chance dealers' hopes and prayers will be answered.