The Beast from Factory Zero Now Has an SUV Twin
The SUV version of the electric Hummer is more like the pickup than unlike it.
It has the rugged looks of a traditional ICE Hummer but with EV gear underneath.
GMC backs up the Hummer SUV’s Supertruck positioning with ladles of tech like the Extreme Off-Road package, CrabWalk, UltraVision, and Super Cruise.
The paint scheme was Moonshot Green Matte. The interior was Lunar Shadow. It had a WTF (Watts to Freedom) mode that could be described as the closest thing to a rocket launch horizontally on the ground.
In spite of these intergalactic aspirations, the 2024 GMC Hummer SUV Edition 1 is a completely earthbound machine. In fact, due to its 9000-pound curb weight (GMC wouldn’t specify the exact poundage), and in spite of the WTF mode, you could say it is firmly anchored on terra firma.
Now that we’ve established this is a car, let’s place it in the pantheon of automobiles. First, in overall appearance, the GMC Hummer SUV fits unmistakably in the timeline of Hummer vehicles. It’s a visual direct descendant of the military machines known as HUMVEEs (around since 1983), used in combat whenever the US engaged in a conflict.
Second, it’s the close relation to the Hummer EV pickup launched last year and so far delivered in relatively small numbers out of the same plant that is building this SUV version and other General Motors EVs. (While GMC sold 854 Hummer pickups in 2022, production has stalled, with only three units sold in January and February 2023.) In the most basic sense, the Hummer SUV is merely a pickup model with a permanently enclosed rear deck. More details on that later.
Finally, the GMC Hummer SUV represents another notch in GM’s electrification strategy, in this case inching the company toward CEO Mary Barra’s stated goal of being an all-EV company by 2035. The Hummer twins will be joined at the Hamtramck plant now known as Factory Zero by two other higher volume electric pickups—the Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra.
Go (Almost) Anywhere Mode
We know, from numerous studies conducted in some of the finest cities in the world by Autoweek staff, that the off-road capability of a given SUV bears little relation to its actual off-road use. That said, the Hummer SUV is equipped with technology and features that put it in the top echelon of off-road machines.
The launch Edition 1 can be equipped with a $5000 Extreme Off-Road package that includes 18-inch black aluminum wheels, rocker protectors, a full underbody skidpad, UltraVision (a total of 17 cameras, including two underneath the truck), mud terrain tires, and front and rear driver-selectable electronically locking differentials.
Part of the launch edition with all of its Moon trappings is the adaptive air suspension that provides 13 inches of suspension travel, almost 16 inches of ground clearance, and the ability to ford 32 inches of water.
The high ride and 35-inch-tall tires were appreciated during the vehicle’s preview in rain-drenched northern California. Our GMC hosts took journalists through a mudbog that was made more challenging by the atmospheric river rolling through town, but ably illustrated the machine’s capabilities.
You might not take your $105,000 Hummer SUV Edition 1 on that kind of excursion, but it is good to know it can do it if needed.
The More Likely Road
The more likely place you’ll see most Hummer SUVs is on the highways and byways of the place where we got to preview the vehicle—California’s Napa Valley. The world-renown wine region is full of cars and SUVs rivaling the Hummer’s price range, with most put to similar use, i.e., driving from winery to winery for pricey wine-tasting sessions.
With the Hummer, you can do something those other expensive SUVs can’t—“crabwalk” through the parking lot to demonstrate the truck’s 4-Wheel Steering package that can move the huge vehicle diagonally in tight locations—a parallel parking spot, for instance. It also promises a 35-foot turning circle, pretty good for an almost 200-inch vehicle.
On those winery roads the Hummer SUV acquits itself surprisingly well, considering its height, demeanor, and bulk. The highway ride is smooth as the suspension soaks up any imperfections along the roadway. GM’s hands-free SuperCruise, now available on 400,000 miles of roads, including some of the two-lane highways we traversed, worked without incident, keeping the wide rig centered and moving with traffic.
Fuel Economy & the Environment
There’s a section on the standard window label that comes on all cars entitled “Fuel Economy & the Environment.” That section on our test Hummer SUV’s label (likely a pre-production model) was blank with this disclaimer: Not Applicable to this Vehicle. We couldn’t have said it better.
The Hummer SUV is an all-electric vehicle, so every mile driven is one less mile in a gasoline or diesel rig. That said, this big rig has taken its share of criticism for its comparative value in the battle to reduce greenhouse gases and transition everyone to zero-emission transportation.
Because of its weight (much due to the 20 module/roughly 205-kWh Ultium battery and three-motor setup), it is not the paragon of efficiency. In our test drives, we could never get the efficiency up to 2.0 miles per kWh consumed, which is a low bar in the EV world. The heavy package did promise and deliver lively performance from its 839 hp and ridiculous (in a good way if you’re towing) 11,500 lb-ft of torque as well as more than 300 miles of range.
The argument continues that GM could build three times the number of EVs if the Hummer’s batteries and motors were allocated to smaller, more efficient models. Of course, that ignores that there appears to be a substantial market for a high-end all-electric off-road capable SUV.
GMC officials told us they had 90,000 reservation holders waiting for a Hummer pickup or SUV. Their estimate is the split between the two models is about 50-50. It will take GMC at least a couple years to whittle down that list of hand-raisers, assuming they don’t get siphoned off when the Tesla Cybertruck or Ram 1500 REV or even the Silverado or Sierra EVs become available.
In the end the 2024 GMC Hummer EV SUV sits atop GM’s growing electric-vehicle stable as the ultimate example of what an off-road SUV could be. The sold-out launch edition starts at $105,595 delivered (and those deliveries are imminent), but less expensive models are due during the coming years. It’s a conundrum that is as capable as it looks—and perhaps suited for lunar roving duties.
If you have to choose between the Hummer SUV or the Hummer SUT pickup, which one better fits your needs? Please comment below.