The 2008 Hummer H2 receives the biggest facelift in the model’s history, and we recently got the opportunity to take one for a spin and check out all the upgraded features. From the outside, the vehicle is largely similar to previous H2s. Most notable of the exterior changes are the silver painted bumpers which were previously black. In order to get more air flow to the new, 6.2 liter, 393 HP engine, the seven grille slots have been widened, and the Hummer letters have been moved to the mini-grille just below. Also, roof rails and side steps are no longer standard on the Luxury package, and are not a factory option. We think they removed some items from the Luxury package to soften the blow of the package’s price increase from 07 to 08.
But enough about the outside – how about that new interior? In short, we liked it. The overall appearance is much smoother and less cluttered looking than previous models. Accent pieces use a similar finish to the ‘nisha’ finish in the H3, which is a brushed-aluminum looking plastic that is scratch and fingerprint resistant. The H2 version is a little darker, which we like – mainly because it helps set of the increased number of chrome interior pieces like the shifter, cup holder rings, door handles (which are in a much more appropriate location now), etc. Lets break down the rest of the interior:
The window/lock controls – Smoother, softer, rubber-like controls replace bulky plastic controls. Also, the fold-in mirrors are now controlled by their own two buttons, rather than having to decipher hieroglyphics and button combinations like previous models.
Steering wheel controls – these took some getting used to, since there are more options than ever. We’d still like to see a ‘mute’ button to quickly kill the volume when a phone call comes in. Also, the extra bulkiness sometimes made it hard to see the gauges if the wheel was turned – but wasn’t a big deal.
Center control panel – The HVAC system uses less knobs and more buttons, and still has dual climate control. The opposite is true for the transfer case settings, which went from multiple buttons to a single knob. The switching is almost silent, unlike previous models which you could hear a very audible change. When you didn’t hear that audible change, you would want to be careful – since once you hit about 5mph, you’d get the audible change, often accompanied by a very physical jolt! We assume with the new power train systems in place in the 08, the silence is by design and not fault.
The clock – The chrome surround does seem a bit cheesy, but the look of the glow of clock at night was pretty cool!
Navigation – The 2008 Hummer H2 navigation system is a new generation that is much smoother and faster to process than earlier models. The one thing we didn’t like is requirement to agree to the terms and conditions of the nav system every time the vehicle is started. We’ve seen this in multiple other vehicles, but hoped it wouldn’t catch on with the Hummer’s nav. Ah well – at least the lawyers like it.
The seats – the new leather and seat design is very smooth looking and more comfortable! Although very few people ever used it, we enjoyed having the driver’s seat folding right armrest. The increased size of the center console should suffice for the few who will miss it. The addition of another ‘jump seat’ in the back makes a full third row, but is still most likely only suitable for the young and nimble.
Rear air conditioning – Before now, those in the third row would have to rely on a few vents on the front half of the vehicle. Now, the middle row of seats has a separate controls for temperature and fan speed. Vents have been installed in the roof for the back two rows, and the difference in sound in the driver’s seat is evident.
Remote start – Very cool option in the Texas heat. Waiting in the grocery store line, I was able to start the engine and start blasting out some of that 120 degree air – nice range! Growing up in the snow belt, without a garage, I can appreciate its winter applications as well.
Some folks who saw the interior didn’t like it, saying it was ‘just like an Escalade’ on the inside. These people need to take another look at why the Hummer H2 was made, which was to produce a luxury vehicle that had unparalleled off-road ability and iconic design. Cadillac has the luxury part down, so it only makes sense for the H2 to borrow some of their interior design, especially since both vehicles are produced by parent company General Motors.
The 2008’s new 6.2 Liter V8 puts out a total of 393 horsepower, 68 more than its 2007 counterpart. Also new is a 6-speed transmission that replaces a 4-speed. Although the 0-60 time increased from 10 seconds to 8, we didn’t notice much in the speed and power of the truck. We did notice the difference in the smoothness of shifting and driving in general. Shifting which used to be relatively abrupt is now extremely smooth, and very noticeable.
We’re excited to see all the changes, since this is the first time any Hummer owner since 2003 has had a reason to upgrade due to the similarity in design. Which may or may not be a good thing – the very few exterior changes have made every model year look relatively similar, and kept values high for older model years. We’re on edge to see what exterior design changes come in the future, which we don’t think is too far away.