The Hummer is and always will be, a study in extravagance.
GM reviving a brand that was the target of the eco-conscious in an earlier life displays the type of hubris that usually comes from Tesla. Bravado aside, the GMC Hummer EV SUV can handle the world of dirt, mud and asphalt. Plus, its shorter wheelbase and more responsive chassis make it a no-brainer choice in the decision between it and the GMC Hummer EV truck.
My time with the SUV version of the Hummer EV was a vast improvement — in nearly every aspect — over the pickup Hummer. Thanks to a shorter wheelbase, off-road capabilities, rear-wheel steering and the inclusion of the Super Cruise advanced driver assistance system, the very large SUV impressed with its ability to tackle the rain and mud-drenched roads of Napa during a recent storm as I navigated fallen trees and, in one case, a trip off the side of a road that was doubling as a pond.
The upshot: It’s a brash machine that might not fit snugly into a parking space or sip gingerly at a charging station, but it fills a niche in a world where the tumultuous effects of man-made climate change are becoming more common.
Too much power
The 2024 Hummer EV SUV starts at $80,395 for the dual-motor EV2. I got a chance to spend the day with the pricier, no-holds-barred tri-motor Edition 1 version, with a starting price of $105,595 in Northern California.
By opting for the third motor (one in front and two in the back) you unlock “Watts to Freedom.” GMC says it will propel the 9,000-pound machine from zero to 60 in 3.5 seconds. This is thanks to the vehicle’s 830 horsepower and 1,200 lb-ft motor torque (11,500 lb-ft wheel torque).
Frankly, it’s too much power for a vehicle this size. It’s like putting a rocket on the back of a tank.
All the batteries
The Hummer EV SUV has a targeted range of 300 miles. It accomplishes this thanks to a 200kWh capacity Ultium battery pack. To put that in perspective, the Cadillac Lyriq — another GM Ultium vehicle — has a 100kWh capacity battery pack and is also targeting a range of 300 miles.
Fortunately, the Hummer EV SUV has an 800-volt architecture and supports DC fast charging at speeds up to 300kW. This is a must considering the size of the pack.
I was unable to conduct a true range test. However, during my time behind the wheel, I did clock 1.6 miles per kWh. That translates to roughly 320 miles of range. Keep in mind that only 15% of the test drive was on a freeway (a range killer).
(Sort of) extreme driving
Once you get past the weight, size, inefficiency and decision to make it far too quick, the Hummer EV SUV ended up being the perfect vehicle during the rain storm (aka the atmospheric river) that was pummeling Northern California.
The Hummer was a solid companion through all of this and had zero issues rolling over large swathes of earth that had slid onto the road. The all-wheel-steering, which gives the illusion of driving a smaller vehicle and felt nimble for its size, was especially helpful as trees and branches had littered the roads in the hills. It. It also helps that the Hummer SUV’s wheelbase is nine inches shorter than that of the Hummer truck. Overall, the Hummer SUV is 20 inches shorter than the truck.
The Hummer EV SUV drove better than the Hummer truck we took off-roading. It’s such an improvement that it should give pause to those who have ordered the pickup.
On the highway, GM’s Super Cruise displayed why it’s the best hands-off/eyes-on driver assistance system on the road right now. It held the SUV in the center of the lane and deftly switched lanes to overtake slower vehicles. Of course, as with all of these systems, the driver must always pay attention.
I also had an “incident.” While driving on a flooded road, an oncoming vehicle floated into my lane and I ended up driving off the shoulder to avoid them. The right side of the vehicle was now in about three feet of water and mud. I tossed the Hummer in off-road mode, locked the front differential (I could have locked the back as well) and drove the truck forward slowly before turning the wheel and crawling out of the situation with a bit of a hop.
This is the selling point of this vehicle: It’s ready to tackle insane conditions because it is also insane.
Too much animation
Inside the Hummer, the vehicle is outfitted with tons of little storage areas. For hauling large items, with the rear seats down, it has 81.8 cubic feet of cargo space. The seats are surprisingly comfortable and there’s plenty of head and leg room in the front and back seats, even for drivers and passengers over six feet tall.
The 12.3-inch dash cluster is bright and easy to read. The 13.4-inch touchscreen infotainment system is also easy to navigate even with the pseudo-Tron design. GMC boasts that it’s using the Unreal engine for graphics, but switching between drive modes requires an animation to load. The latency between turning the mode dial and it actually showing the selected mode is far too long for a modern vehicle.
Fortunately, the use of Android Automotive means the voice assistant usually understands you and Google Maps is baked in. The system will also give you charging stations along a route. Something Tesla has been doing for years and other automakers have been slow to adopt.
CarPlay and Android Auto are both supported.
The better option
Surprisingly, the Hummer EV SUV feels like it has a spot in the world that’s more than just being big for the sake of being big. It drives well (for its size), is capable of tackling most environments both on-road and off and boasts one of the best driver assistance systems in the industry. It’s all-around better than the Hummer pickup.
Now if only GM could put all that into a smaller, more efficient package, it would have a mass-market winner instead of a niche halo vehicle that’s ready to tackle the end of the world.