- The Washington Times - Friday, February 14, 2003

It's very large, although not quite as large as it first appears. It looks larger because of its extreme width, high ground clearance and huge tires. It also looks; well, not so much ugly and menacing as rather homely, in a can-do kind of way.
Like its big brother, the original Humvee, the H2 is a rugged, solid off-road vehicle that gives the impression it might be the product of a union between a Chevrolet Tahoe and a Caterpillar tractor. In fact, it's taller than a Tahoe by three inches and wider by two, but shorter by nearly 10 inches.
Everything about the H2 is meant to be impressive, from its 35-inch tires (the largest on any GM passenger vehicle) to its boxy body, to its straight-up narrow windshield. Its military-inspired shape is less for function and more for "family resemblance" with the H1, although the big tow hooks on the bumpers are fully capable of dragging almost anything.
Powering the H2 is a very powerful, very thirsty, 6-liter Vortec V-8 that puts 316 horsepower into a Borg-Warner electronically controlled full-time four-wheel-drive system. The transfer case is a marvel of control electronics, providing five different mode selections, including rear-axle-differential lock. GM thought of everything when it came to figuring out how the wheels could move this thing over every imaginable terrain.
The H2 arrived for testing just after Christmas, too late for the big snowfall here in the Northeast. It was here for two rainstorms, however, and a leak in the sunroof dripped cold water on my lap during one particularly unpleasant drive in heavy downpours.
It overcame that little inconvenience and proved its worth on Jan. 5, as a surprise snowstorm blanketed the Washington area, creating some of the slipperiest streets in many years.
I got to spend many hours cavorting over the snowy streets, occasionally helping to pull out stranded motorists using the big tow hooks on the bumpers (apparently people don't thank others for their kindness anymore, because no one did. This is yet more evidence of the gradual erosion of civility in this country). Verdict on the Hummer's performance: The H2 definitely does what it does very well.
In addition to our "good Samaritan" duties, the H2 and I got along pretty well, except for occasional parking difficulties.
On more than one occasion the tires actually touched the parking space lines on both sides, a feature that intimidated more than one individual in the parking lots.
The only other "adjustment" that needed to be made was in entering and leaving. It's about an 18-inch drop from the floor to the street, so getting in required some scaling technique.
Women wearing skirts will not be able to do so without suffering indignity. Getting out was best done by yelling "Geronimo" and leaping onto the asphalt.
The inside of the H2 is roomy and quite comfortable. Visibility out the rear is restricted by both the rear-seat headrests and the spare tire that occupies the left rear area.
The side mirrors are huge, so there's lots of visibility where it counts. The narrow windshield takes a bit of getting used to but it's not restrictive.
Its relatively short wipers clear plenty of area, and even after hours of running there were no skips, chatters or streaks.
So who buys the H2?
Well, according to GM's brand managers the H2 buyer is successful, self-confident (or possibly a little misanthropic, take your pick) and a risk-taker.
H2 buyers are classified as irreverent and passionate, people who don't mind getting attention whether it's good or bad.
This is not a vehicle for introverts, not to mention those who are budget-conscious. It's a rolling statement of one's individuality, if not frivolity.
Fifty grand gets you a certain "command" of the road and virtually unmatched off-road performance and capability, along with about 9 miles per gallon. It also gets you bragging rights, and maybe that's the heart of the matter. It definitely won't get you stuck.

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