Home Car Video The Hummer H2 Is the Most Embarrassing Car You Can Buy

The Hummer H2 Is the Most Embarrassing Car You Can Buy

The Hummer H2 Is the Most Embarrassing Car You Can Buy

I recently had the opportunity to drive a Hummer H2 hundreds of miles around Florida for three days. This would’ve been the most embarrassing thing I’ve ever done, except that I was in Florida, so I kind of fit in.

Before I get into the H2 and why I find it so embarrassing, let me discuss exactly how I came to be driving around Florida in a vehicle that easily passed for "cool" a decade ago and has since slipped into the realm of "slightly more endearing than Comcast’s customer service department."

Here’s what happened: I rented this H2 from Turo, which is this service that lets you rent cool, unusual, weird vehicles from normal people, instead of typical boring rental cars. Turo gives me a budget to rent cars every month, and I was going down to Florida to review some cars, so I decided I would use Turo to rent something interesting. I passed up seemingly endless Mercedes, Porsche, BMW and Maserati options because I wanted to find something truly ridiculous. Something truly absurd. Something truly unfortunate.

And I found it: the Hummer H2.

For those of you who don’t know much about the H2, allow me to explain: It was released for the 2003 model year, right when gas prices were low and the economy was doing well. It was cool. Not just that, it was in-your-face cool. H2 owners knew they were hated by a considerable segment of the population, and they just didn’t care. They had the biggest, baddest truck on the market.

Then, things changed. Over the next few years, gas prices went up, the economy tanked, and people in big SUVs were generally vilified — especially ultra-giant SUVs that were specifically styled to showcase their heft. For a few years in the late 2000s and early 2010s, the H2 was truly considered abominable. It made the Ford Excursion seem subtle and responsible.

And then, something even worse happened: it started to look old. It fell out of fashion. Which means anyone driving around in an H2 right now isn’t just angering environmentalists and operating a mobile monument to pre-recession America — they’re doing those things without the benefit of looking cool. The H2 is big, wasteful and gaudy, but it was all those things back in 2003. Now it’s also 10 years old, aging rapidly and not particularly special. There appears to be no good reason to have one of these things.

Which meant that I had to try it out. Is it really as awful and as embarrassing as I was expecting?

Yes. Yes it is.

I’ll start with the styling, which is laughably over the top. For example, it retains the giant hoops initially grafted onto the frame of the military-style AM General Hummer so it could be dropped from airplane cargo holds. Except in the H2, the hoops aren’t stuck to anything. They’re just some extra style placed on the hood.

I also think the H2 is hilarious for the cap in the middle of its chrome alloy wheel. The cap was originally designed to protect the AM General Hummer’s central tire inflation system from getting dirty or grimy, and it gave the original Hummer’s wheels a certain look. But the H2 doesn’t have a central tire inflation system. Nonetheless, it still has the cap, which isn’t even raised from the wheel. It does nothing. It says "HUMMER" on it.

In fact, a lot of things in the H2 say "HUMMER" on them. Just about everywhere you go, you can find the word "HUMMER" written, often obnoxiously, on a wide range of panels and pieces that don’t usually include a car’s make or model name. In case everyone else forgot what you were driving, the Hummer is there to remind them. Repeatedly. It also reminds you that you’re in an H2 with a distinctive "H2" logo on the center of the steering wheel. This, it should be noted, is the same steering wheel that’s also used in the tiny Chevy Colorado pickup truck.

In fact, the H2 shares a lot of equipment with other General Motors models, including its entire poorly constructed, cheap-feeling central controls. Interestingly, it doesn’t share a chassis: Although a common misconception is that the H2 rides on the same platform as the Chevy Tahoe, the H2’s frame is actually totally different — it shares only the rear section with the Tahoe, while the front comes from GM’s heavy-duty pickups, and the middle is custom-made to improve the H2’s off-road capabilities. Interestingly, despite this, General Motors decided to install a side step on the H2 that sticks down about 6 inches from the body, robbing it of all the ground clearance they worked so hard to create.

So this thing is pretty laughable, and it only gets worse when you take it out on the road. Even though the H2 has a larger engine than the Tahoe and Suburban, it’s dramatically slower: zero to 60 is a 10-second affair. It’s also loud, surprisingly uncomfortable, absolutely enormous, and inexplicably hard to see out of. I was continually perturbed by the sheer number of shakes and rattles that emanate from virtually every plastic surface in the H2. Naturally, handling isn’t nimble, either, and the upright windshield serves as a sort of wide (yet tiny) bug catcher that quickly turns any highway-driven H2 into a roving bug cemetery.

In the end, however, despite all this stuff, I’m tremendously glad I drove the H2. I simply had to know what it was like; I had to know how it felt; I had to know if everything I ever assumed about it was true. And I’m happy to report that it is true — that the H2 is just as bad as you could’ve ever expected. Now you can feel like you’re justified when you see one driving down the road and you start to chuckle. Find a Hummer H2 for sale

Doug DeMuro is an automotive journalist who has written for many online and magazine publications. He once owned a Nissan Cube and a Ferrari 360 Modena. At the same time.

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  1. I’ve always driven TAHOE LTZs and YUKONS as well as my wife, and we still do as daily drivers. However, I love my H2 so much that I sold my TAHOE. The H2 is just a great vehicle to drive. Brute force not speed, but it does have some get up and go for a 6400 lbs (empty weight) and 8600lbs loaded. She is a big girl with a large stance and a 32 gl gas tank. It’s really not that bad on gas if you know how to drive it. My wife loves riding in it and the seats are far more comfortable than the TAHOES. The high clearance is great for off roading and fording through streams up to 20 or so inches. It rides very nice, easy steering and great visibility. Awesome truck but to much truck for many people who cant handle it. If you don’t like it, do what most women do, buy a Jeep. It’s small, cheaper and everyone has one, dime a dozen. I will always be a loyal HUMMER owner and customer. HUMMER, like nothing else! There is a reason for that saying. Seems like Jeep keeps making theirs to look more like tiny HUMMERS. The Gladiator looks damn near identical to a HUMMER H3T.

  2. There is one for sale for relatively cheap ($14,000) at a dealership I deliver to. I’m almost tempted to buy it because I’ve always hated Hummers and the people who drive them. But the fact that I’d spend more time filling it with gas than I would driving it would probably prevent me from doing so. I’d kind of like it to go camping with, but not sure it would be any different than using an SUV.
    I kind of find it cute. It’s ridiculous knowing how despicable they are.

  3. Ive had 3 late model lexus 2 of which were suv s.I now own 2 h3.A06 07 with each over 136,& 196 miles..I can get 19,22 MPG on regular @ 70 /75 MPH. they both handle as well as the lexus and are just as comfortable and i have OLD BONES ,just turning 80.I feel good driveing my h3s.And i didnt get paid with this endorsement. & yes KIA makes a nice ride also BUT a WORLD APART.

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