Mountain Wheels: GMC’s electrified Hummer truck pushes everyone’s buttons
Let it not be said that 2022 was a boring year, especially when it came to dubious technology — low-cost airlines, Twitter, bitcoin and outlandish electric vehicles included.
Truly, there are nothing but superlatives involved when discussing the $110,295 2022 GMC Hummer EV pickup Edition 1, which I got to sample just before Christmas. The most important of which is that it, like no other vehicle I’ve ever driven, instantly became a nexus of ill will, wherever I went.
We’ve been hearing about the fantastic absurdities of this 9,600-pound, 1,000-horsepower monster for a while, but it’s even more bizarre in real life. And whether or not you believe that an almost 10,000-pound vehicle is an efficient application for electrification technology, here it is — with size, looks and that controversial Hummer brand name brought back to life, just to make its point.
The marvel is that the almost 217-inch-long Hummer EV is relatively easy to drive, and it handles so smoothly and almost normally that its Super Cruise self-driving mode doesn’t seem like using autopilot on a cement truck.
Except, it is. The sheer mass of the Hummer truck (an SUV version will also be available on the next round) suggests you don’t ever want to get into an accident with it. But the fact that it really can and will do 0-60 in just over three seconds, with 11,500 pound-feet of torque from its three electric motors, also means there should be some nuclear weapon-sized metrics to accompany its potential menace.
In a purely offroad setting, it makes some sense. Full electronic locking differentials and the Corvette tire-width 305/70 R18 standard rubber mean you’ll effortlessly flatten any hill or trail you hit — or can fit into — and have unstoppable prowess in snow or sand. The battleship-sized tow hooks suggest you’ll be pulling other drivers out of ditches as well; you can also air down or inflate the tires remotely, like an old military HMMWV model.
Hummer’s flashy digital display screens offer the only measure of restraint in the whole vehicle, with warnings that that the optimized off-road mode should just be used offroad.
On the highway, it quickly becomes the living embodiment of “just because you can, maybe you shouldn’t,” in every possible permutation. It’s deliriously fast and it brakes … uh, well, not so bad for 9,600 pounds of non-commercial vehicle, including a 24-module battery pack which itself weighs almost 3,000 pounds. It even does the one-pedal driving trick quite effectively on city outings.
But people see you coming a mile away (the row of fog lamps in the electrically self-opening hood help here) and I lost count of the number of vehicles who hyper-aggressively tailgated me, laboriously passed me and then instantly and repeatedly brake-checked me. On every outing.
The collective ire expressed could be attributable to dozens of factors, but it got old pretty quick. It’s also nearly impossible to see anything behind you with one upright-mounted spare tire in the cab and the flared sides of the box, so you tend to drive in the way other drivers are treating you. That, I found, was not such a good thing.
Hummer’s outlandish electric capacities also call for 329 miles of range, which I depleted rather rapidly and then gave the car back before subjecting it myself to the as-much-as-$100 charge for a single electric fill-up. Future variants will have an optional power system you can use to charge other EVs, or your house, or maybe the sun itself.
The Edition 1 model has a four-panel front-and-back T-top roof and power rear window, all great for summer, but unbelievably wind noise prone during my drives. The ceiling-mounted controls also seemed to be about four feet away while seated.
All of the 2022 Edition 1 trucks sold out quickly and you’ll have to wait a whole year to be able to get the less-powerful variations of the truck or SUV, with prices starting at about $87,000.
All of this made a subsequent drive in a 2023 Chevrolet Suburban High Country edition, priced at $86,260, just a little more down to earth, by comparison. As mentioned in my recent Cadillac Escalade-V review, the Suburban offers nearly all of the $150,000 Cadillac’s size and functionality, with a 420-horsepower V8 still doing a respectable, 17-mpg job on the highway.
Things are flashier than a base Suburban with the addition of exterior and interior badging, air-ride suspension, illuminated electric running boards and a large panoramic sunroof, plus ultra-shiny 22-inch wheels.
Andy Stonehouse’s column “Mountain Wheels” publishes Saturdays in the Summit Daily News. Stonehouse has worked as an editor and writer in Colorado since 1998, focusing on automotive coverage since 2004. He lives in Golden. Contact him at email@example.com.
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