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2006 Hummer H3 Long Term Report

Effectively proving its stuff in the backcountry and the city

Sean P. HolmanPhotographer, Writer

During this last report, our long-term Hummer H3 has been busily spinning the odometer, transporting staffers from home to the office and stretching its legs out a little bit with trips to Top Truck Challenge in Hollister, California; to Las Vegas, Nevada, for a family wedding; and Palm Springs and San Diego for work.

Logbook comments remain positive, especially considering the H3's maneuverability. With a 37-foot turning radius, the H3 turns tighter than most compact cars. This helps out in tight city parking lots, as well as on narrow trails and obstacles. As the engine breaks in, we've also gotten pretty good mileage numbers out of the H3, even besting our previous high of 16.69 mpg by over one mpg, despite regularly winding it out. In 120-degree weather, the H3 continued to impress us, this time with its great cooling system, pulling the grade on I-15 out of Southern California and never registering above two-thirds on the temp gauge, even with the little inline-five hard at work.

We also subjected our H3 to a rigorous amount of trail duty to pare down the selection of trails for our 2007 Four Wheeler of the Year competition, which it handled well. However, we did manage to light up the airbag light, which was fixed by our friendly Cerritos Hummer dealer in Cerritos, California. Otherwise, the H3 went everywhere we asked it to (and places we didn't want to, or wouldn't, take many of the vehicles in our Four Wheeler of the Year test), and with a full complement of skidplates and rocker protection, we never had to worry about a trip-ending event caused by an errant rock or trail debris.

A few things worth mentioning are sticky door handles and an alignment that seems to get knocked out more easily than we would like. Another quibble we have is with the rear seats that don't fold completely flat, making an overnight desert trip a little more uncomfortable than it needed to be.

For our next report, we should have lots of highway miles, in addition to more trail miles, as Senior Editor Brubaker and Tech Editor Holman will be using the H3 for their next cross-country adventure.

REPORT: 2 of 4
Previous report: Dec '06
Base price: $28,935
Price as tested: $37,345
Four-wheel-drive system: Electronic, full-time two-speed

Miles to date: 8,092
Miles since last report: 3,999
Average mpg (this report): 15.78
Test best tank (mpg): 17.80
Test worst tank (mpg): 13.44

None this period
Problem areas: Airbag light, sticky door handles

HOT: Great maneuverability, great on the trail, good fuel economy, easy to drive, functional rocker protection
NOT: Sticky door handles, rear seat doesn't fold flat, needs more power

* "Rear door handle sticks when dirty."
* "Not a bad vehicle for commuting, especially knowing how well it works on the trail."
* "Tried sleeping in H3 and found out rear seat doesn't fold flat. Expensing chiropractor visit." p"Camping would be better if the H3 had speakers in the hatch."
* "Hit a long section of whoops and illuminated the airbag light."