A serious V8-powered off-roader on a budget.
The reborn GMC Hummer is nearly here, only the all-new model will be offered as an all-electric off-road-capable truck or SUV. Its ancestors? All gas-guzzlers. Hey, it was part of their charm. Gasoline was mostly cheap when General Motors made the decision to expand the Hummer lineup in the late 1990s when it acquired the rights to the brand.
The original Hummer was built by AM General as a military vehicle. In 1992, the civilian version, called the H1, was launched and produced until mid-2006. There was no reason for it to continue because the smaller but still highly capable Hummer H2 had become a huge success. GM designers started the H2 project off with a modified platform consisting of a Chevy Silverado 2500 HD front and 1500 frame at the rear.
Power initially came from a naturally aspirated 6.0-liter V8 with 316 horsepower, later upgraded to 325 hp. For its final two model years, the H2 received a 6.2-liter V8 with 393 hp and a six-speed automatic transmission in place of the previous four-speed unit.
Speed was never its thing as it required 10.9 seconds to hit 60 mph from a standstill with its original V8. But most people didn't buy H2s for trips to the drag strip, but rather for off-road adventures. Others simply bought them because they looked cool. The H2 was built by AM General under contract with GM at its factory in Indiana, making it possible to market the vehicle as being all-American. That type of thing matters to a lot of US truck and SUV customers.
The H2's daily driving abilities also didn't go unnoticed. Standard features included tri-zone climate control, leather upholstery, heated front and rear seats, 8-way power front seats, Bose premium sound system, and a 6-disc CD changer.
As for fuel economy, well, it wasn't great. Quite honestly, it was outright terrible. GM didn't have to legally offer ratings because the H2 was exempted due to its gross vehicle weight rating. Publications at the time did their own testing and came back with numbers of around 10 mpg.
Unfortunately for the H2, gas prices spiked again and the Great Recession struck at around the same time Demand for thirsty SUVs rapidly declined as a result. GM also filed for bankruptcy and the Hummer brand was shut down. The H2 completed its run in 2009 after six models years.
There are plenty of used examples out there in various states of condition, but we thought this 2004 H2 up for sale at Sirius Motors in Ohio with 146,881 miles and a price tag of $10,895 is an ideal choice for budget shoppers. It does show some wear and tear, which is typical for any vehicle its age, but overall appears to be in pretty good condition. Chances are the reborn all-electric Hummer won't be cheap, but an old school V8 H2 is still an affordable and fun choice.