MILFORD, Mich. — Hummer is high on the list of vehicles we never thought would return. The gas-guzzling brutes met their demise more than a decade ago as the industry pivoted briefly to smaller cars and General Motors shed brands during its historic restructuring. Fast-forward to 2022, and Hummer’s revival is at hand thanks to yet another industry shift, this time to electric propulsion. It’s expensive, it’s still huge and the numbers are eye-popping to the tune of 1,000 horsepower. America loves a comeback — but it loves trucks more.
We briefly tested the 2022 GMC Hummer EV Edition 1 truck at the GM Proving Grounds 40 miles northwest of Detroit. Weeks from now, Hummers will start rolling off the line at GM’s rechristened EV site, dubbed Factory Zero, in the Motor City.
While the Hummer SUV will undoubtedly prove its worth, GM is leading with the pickup, ambitiously calling it a supertruck and eagerly touting its metrics and mojo-generating features, like CrabWalk, against the Rivian R1T, Ford F-150 Lightning, Tesla Cybertruck, as well as gas-powered off-roaders like the Ford F-150 Raptor and Ram 1500 TRX, plus various Jeep and Land Rover SUVs. (Here’s our latest supertruck spec comparo).
All of them have impressed us (save the Cybertruck, which only Jay Leno and a few others have driven), but the Hummer is formidable in its own right. For one thing, it’s a Hummer. The negative connotations of the old Hummers melt away when there’s a 24-module Ultium battery pack powering three motors for a range of 350-plus miles on a single charge. The old model was divisive, but a lot of people paid a lot of money for them simply because they looked very cool.
Hummer’s familiar grille makes it bold return on our tester that looms high on its 35-inch Goodyear Wrangler Territory MT tires. It certainly looks the part of a supertruck. The cabin is roomy and airy, with the removable sky panels letting in the bright fall morning. Hummer EV chief engineer Al Oppenheiser is our co-pilot for our test, and after a quick walk-through, we’re off. (Watch the above video for all of our N95-clad adventures at the proving grounds).
The first order of business is simply mashing the throttle. The Edition 1 serves up about 1,200 pound-feet of torque, and you can make use of all of that and the four-figure horsepower to hit 60 mph in about 3 seconds. We accelerate hard, blasting over some soft ground before things get a little squirrelly and can confirm the claimed time feels legit. Later, Oppenheiser cues up “Watts to Freedom,” which lowers the Hummer 2 inches, pipes in sound through the speakers, triggers seat haptics and flashes animations on the infotainment screens. The former Camaro chief then promptly puts down a 60-mph time that is near 3 seconds. With a cheeky WTF acronym, ‘Watts’ is the driver’s call to freedom through acceleration, and typically austere GMC’s response to Tesla’s Ludicrous Mode.
CrabWalk is the next maneuver. Initially, we were skeptical. Like the Mercedes bouncing suspension, CrabWalk seems like a cute trick, but really, who needs this? Well, if you’re going to pay $112,595 for something, the ability to drive diagonally is a nice super power to offer your customers. In simple terms, the back wheels can turn at the same angle as the front wheels, up to 10 degrees at low speeds. It works. It’s kind of surreal. It’s sort of like boating. We could see how this might help with parking or off-roading, but CrabWalk’s best feature is its ability to deal body blows to the egos of G-Class owners.
“It’s a hell of a party trick for your friends and family,” says Aaron Pfau, lead development engineer for the Hummer.
There’s a brief rock crawling exercise and some off-roading up a hill, where the UltraVision camera system provides guidance. Like the 2021 Ford Bronco’s trail camera, the Hummer’s extra set of eyes allow us to place the hulking truck somewhat gracefully over the boulders with minimal use of the underbody armor. The Hummer has a front electronic locking differential and a ‘virtual’ rear locker, which can distribute torque between the wheels even if they are getting different levels of traction. There can be as many as 18 cameras, and some of them are self-cleaning if your off-roading obstructs the view. If the situation is especially gnarly, the Hummer’s air suspension can rise 6 inches in Extract Mode for large obstacles or water fording.
In general, the Hummer feels well-sorted, with light steering that provides a confident feel for the driver. The truck is huge and absorbs even mid-level bumps and chatters with few issues. Our vehicle was a pre-production model with 7,801 miles on the odometer, but despite that, the interior looked respectable. In full production trim the Hummer’s toughness and premium vibe will shine, we expect. The two screens, a 13.4-inch infotainment interface and a 12.3-inch driver display are easy to read and colorful. With production so close, the trucks appear to be clearing their final tests with ease.
And no, the chip shortage won’t be impacting the Hummer Edition 1 models, as Oppenheiser tells Autoblog the truck is on a list of GM vehicles with priority. SuperCruise with the new lane-changing feature will be standard on all Hummers, even as other spotlight vehicles like the Cadillac Escalade are getting passed over for the driver assistance feature. Six-figure sticker, electric powertrain, a Super Bowl commercial — those things help your vehicle get the chips.
Developed in two years as opposed to the typical four-year product cycle, the Hummer gives GM a strong entry into a growing field of electric trucks. A year ago, the Hummer’s reveal was met with excitement and some confusion. Why resurrect the Hummer name and its martial demeanor for an EV? But as new rivals enter the field, it’s clear GM wasn’t preparing for just another electric vehicle tussle. Not by a long shot. GM is starting a supertruck war. In that context, bringing the Hummer back makes a lot of sense.
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