What's Hot: Fantastic engine, supreme highway comfort, still quite capable, tailgate
What's Not: Beep, beep, beep, rattles in our tester, beep, beep, beep
Our Take: For those who want a very capable wheeler in an elegant, understated package.
From the Logbook:
* "Torque steers like crazy."
* "If you need a fullsize SUV that's very capable in the dirt but don't want to stick out from the crowd, this is the one to buy."
* "Yummy 5.7L engine is perfectly matched to this rig, and doesn't seem to compromise fuel economy."
* "Approach angle worse than previous generation."
What's Hot: Beastly engine, increased towing capacity, still one of the best factory 4x4s
What's Not: Always need to bring a friend to spot, offset steering wheel, thirsty for gas
Our Take: An outstanding wheeling choice for the fullsize set.
From the Logbook:
* "Love the H2-would be perfect with a diesel."
* "Almost worth buying just for the shifter that looks like it came off a battleship."
* "Outstanding wheelability that just about smokes everything else."
* "I love the H2-it only got better in my opinion."
Douglas McColloch, Editor
For me, it's gotta be the Grand Cherokee CRD. Yes, it gives up a lot in ground clearance and approach versus some of the other contenders, and it sure could use a better tire (then again, so could the H3), but having 360 lb-ft of torque on tap at engine speeds barely above idle really comes in handy when rockcrawling, hillclimbing, or picking your way along a slow-speed trail. And while it can't be brutally flogged in the dirt the way the Hummers can, it's nowhere near as thirsty at the gas pump, and I can actually see the trail from the driver seat without needing a spotter. Let's see more of these small-displacement diesels in the Jeep vehicle line, please.
Ken Brubaker, Senior Editor
In my one-car reality, the SUV I choose has to do it all, and do it well. The Hummer H2 is that vehicle. With an 8,200-pound tow rating, payload rating of almost a ton, seating for seven, exceptional ground clearance and approach/departure angles, a rear locker, 35s, and the inclusion of the 6.2L engine, the H2 has all the bases covered. It's also darn skippy when it comes to luxury. It is hands-down the most versatile and off-highway-capable fullsize SUV in production today. And it's easy to find in a parking lot.
Sean P. Holman, Tech Editor
The Hummer H3 Alpha is my clear favorite in this test. It is such a good vehicle and fits my lifestyle so well, that other than the Dodge Power Wagon, it is the only other vehicle I have tested in the last five years that I would buy and put in my own garage. I absolutely love the H3, and as good as other rigs are in this test, the Alpha is the only one that called my name in the middle of the night wanting to take me on a night run.
Robin Stover, Feature Editor
In this year's lineup, I would have to pick the Hummer H3 Alpha because the engineers at Hummer corrected everything I complained about in the previous generation. The new 5.3L V-8 produces acceptable power for any scenario. Other improvements like a backup camera, along with better switchgear placement, revitalize my faith in GM's ability to target a demographic and deliver sound results. My hat's off to Hummer for a well deserved win.
Greg P. Smith, Art Director
Sure, "just pick the one 4x4 SUV you would want sitting in your driveway." Yeah, right, not as easy as it sounds, considering four of this year's grouping have such a high pedigree of off-road prowess. After much soul searching, my choice comes down to the Hummer H3 Alpha, with the Land Cruiser a very close second. Adding a V-8 to an already very-capable rig was the next logical step in the H3's evolution, but if only GM would have added the more powerful 6.2L and six-speed auto the H2 received ... oh well, I guess you shouldn't look a gift horse in the mouth
Steve VonSeggern, Publisher
The H2 is supremely comfortable, relatively fast, and the new interior is way ahead of the old in terms of both design and finish, but I just couldn't get over the constant 10 mpg and the container-ship sizing. The Land Cruiser has a fantastic engine, but in restyling this big SUV, Toyota went from antique to freak, and the various styling elements seem to fight each other so it just ends up looking like a Korean crossover-not to mention that somehow they've managed to ruin its off-road behavior with the new herky-jerky crawl mode, overly nannyish stability control, too-loosely valved shocks, and rattling seats. I now officially love everything about the Hummer H3, at least in this new Alpha form, except for visibility, and this is without a doubt the most capable rig we had in all dirt scenarios. My favorite, however, ended up being the Grand Cherokee CRD, which handles the dirt with way more aplomb than you'd ever expect, and outshines any other rig in its class with its Herculean-strong but smooth diesel engine. Now if you could only get one in California
Jason Gonderman, Online Editor
If I had to choose one vehicle to take home from this bunch, I would take the Hummer H3 Alpha. While there were several vehicles in the group I could see myself in or would love owning, the Hummer H3 is the best all-around choice for what I do. With its awesome trail prowess, aggressive new powerplant, comfortable interior, and modest towing abilities, it truly is one of the best all-around small SUVs on the market today. The only thing stopping me from having one in the driveway is price.