PickupTrucks: News: December 2, 2008

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BMW F-Series Dual-Purpose

High Sierras Rock 2009 Hummer H3T

Does any brand have a less-certain than Hummer? It’s vilified as the poster child for warming and conspicuous consumption, and been waved around a Frankenstein-chasing torch by angry yelling that GM should been building Smart instead of SUVs and pickups gas was under $2 a gallon. While the of U.S. car and truck sales been amputated below the in 2008, Hummer appears to be on support, with a Hummer-yellow “do not order stapled to its chest.

these circumstances, the task of Hummer’s latest truck the all-new 2009 H3T pickup might be the least-desirable job in Detroit now. This could why its “you can take on the world” pitch has become almost as and tired a mantra as “Hummer is even though the H3T is one of the most pickups to come along in the several years.

Hummer is missing an opportunity to potential buyers about else its new rig can do, besides climb and ford streams: When properly, owners will everything except how to drive the 5 feet. What’s better for assailed by bad news and workday than that?

We had our first tuning out everything but the trail in the H3T we rock-crawled the 300-horsepower, 5.3-liter V-8 model with 320 pounds-feet of and a four-speed automatic on Hell’s in Moab, Utah. The real however, came when we drove the less-powerful but more-memorable five-cylinder H3T in the High Sierras.

was so special about an engine an odd number of cylinders, almost 60 horses and 80 fewer pounds-feet of than the H3T’s powerful This H3T was equipped with a manual transmission and the optional package. The trail was a lot tougher,

Our destination was Red Lake in the Dinkey Wilderness, off California State 168, near Shaver The route — rated to advanced — climbed a thousand feet of vertical over a two-mile trail of boulders that ranged in from basketballs to refrigerators.

Even for those who drive a transmission on a daily basis, the of crossing a rock field as as the path to Red Lake is enough to get palms sweating and your reeling at the thought of all the rapidly arm and leg motions necessary to navigate the H3T getting it stuck or stalling.

set up our five-speed H3T to succeed in just situation. The Adventure package a heavier-duty offroad suspension, tires, segment-exclusive front and electronic locking rear and a shorter-geared (4.03) transfer that provided an amazing crawl ratio in 4-Low. ground clearance also the truck’s approach, departure and angles.

At the Tamarack Creek our journey quickly turned a lazy excursion into a trek across the treacherous terrain. Every concern and we had taken with us from the world faded into the when we started boulder-crawling. Our were focused on crossing one pile at a time and nothing

Our guides were experienced engineers who’d driven Red trail numerous times the development of the H3T. They excellent spotters and incredibly coaches as we acquired a feel for the transmission. They pointed out the line through technical every hundred yards or so.

The beneath our tires changed every few minutes as each of the in our group crossed over the which shifted position the vehicles’ weight. Each trail was unique, even we traveled single-file. More a few times we bashed the H3T’s undercarriage during unexpected rotations.

Boulders that interfere with one truck others behind it, forcing us to new lines on the fly.

The clutch was firm, but not so overly as to be exhausting during the frequent required to keep the truck stalling as we slowly climbed obstacles at 1 to 2 mph in first gear. play gradually decreased as our with the truck grew. We the limits of the crawl ratio and a sense of when to apply enough throttle to get us over challenging boulders without the

The engine could rev so low without the stalling that it clattered like a diesel. The Hummer call the five-cylinder engine we “the tractor.”

The hours by, though every foot we required undivided concentration, shifting skills and all four working in sync.

We arrived at Red for lunch and a mind/body break climbing back in the trucks and our way back to the trailhead over the route we’d come in.

The return seemed to go even than the trip in, as our comfort the H3T continued to grow. By the end of the trail, every truck had scratches or but none of the rigs in our convoy of busted a critical mechanical or component.

The trip back to our gave us a chance to experience the H3T on the highway. In this scenario, of its trail assets become Besides its shorter transfer the five-cylinder’s pickup only with a 4.56 final ratio.

That’s a big help offroading at low speeds, but a tremendous and power challenge when the is traveling more than 55 If you’re driving long in a five-cylinder H3T with the Adventure leave plenty of time to the trip.

We arrived at the hotel the memory of a tough day in the mountains and a adrenaline rush from six hours on a four-mile trail. something we won’t soon With a payload rating of pounds in its 5-foot cargo box and nimbleness, we highly recommend the H3T as a dual-purpose pickup for work and

GM and Hummer are looking for a new strategic and in these tough times nearly constant speculation where we’ll be five, 10 or 20 down the road. Luckily, H3T can live life 5 feet at a


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