4 November 2004

GM is to produce a new ‘baby’ Hummer in a bid to make the leviathan SUV more socially acceptable following negative publicity in America. Despite adopting the classic Hummer styling cues, the H3 is 429mm shorter than big brother H2 at 4742mm long, and is actually shorter, narrower and a just a shade taller than the 1887mm high new Land Rover Discovery.

Powered by a 3.5-litre 220bhp five-cylinder petrol engine mated to a choice of auto or, for the first time in a Hummer, manual transmissions, the H3 also gets civilised options including heated leather seats, electric sunroof and sat-nav.

Hummer’s reputation for top-notch off-roading ability shouldn’t be harmed by its new smallest model. The ladder-frame chassis and electronically controlled four-wheel-drive system are supplemented by a fully locking rear diff, shielded underbody and low-range ratios. Two tyre sizes will be available.

The H3 is heading for Europe next year, although only in left-hand-drive form, and it’s not yet clear if it will be sold directly in the UK. GM will outline plans later this month for which of its American brands – Cadillac, Corvette and Hummer – will be sold in Europe, and how they will be distributed.

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