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2009 HUMMER H3

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2009 HUMMER H3 Review

Although the H3 is great for off-road driving, it does not appeal in any way to the suburban driver. Poor fuel economy and lackluster storage space make this a vehicle best passed over for other SUVs on the market.

Reviewed by Automotive on


The 2009 model year saw the Hummer company in a bit of trouble. Sales were sliding so badly that the company was doomed to fold in the following year. Still, they continued making vehicles like the Hummer H3. This big monster is made for the off-road but serves little purpose in the suburban environment. Nothing about the H3 is utilitarian.

The Hummer H3 is a midsize SUV that is available in two trim lines: the five-cylinder base H3 and the H3 Alpha.

The Range

Body Styles: midsize SUV
Engines: 3.7-liter five-cylinder engine; 5.3-liter V-8 engine
Transmissions: five-speed manual transmission, four-speed automatic transmission.
Models: five-cylinder base H3, H3 Alpha

What's New

The 2009 Hummer H3 was upgraded with several performance and luxury features.

  • Hill-star assist was introduced this year, as well as an optional front-locking differential.
  • Bluetooth connectivity as well as a rearview camera was available as well.
  • Several exterior appearance changes were made.


The H3 is a big and burly beast. Several metallic color finishes are available in 2009, giving the H3 a slick, futuristic look. The H3X suspension package also includes several chrome features that greatly change the appearance of the vehicle.

Different suspension packages were available as well depending on your driving needs. A Z85 suspension system is standard. This system provides a suspension system that is balanced between on-road and off-road driving. The Off-Road Adventure package provides larger tires, off-road shock tuning, a front-differential made from cast iron, locking front and rear differentials, and shortened transfer cases for better reaction time in the wilderness.

The standard H3 had 16-inch alloy wheels, skid plates, hill-start assistance when trapped on a hill, fog lamps for low visibility situations. On the H3 Alpha, the 16-inch wheels are now polished.


Looking at the H3 from the outside you might think that the interior would be just as fancy. Unfortunately, the H3 can be quite bland. Leather seating with the two-tone piping will greatly improve the interiors aesthetic appeal. Build quality is so-so, something you wouldn’t expect with the dizzying price tag of an H3.

Seating is comfortable throughout. If you are a shorter driver you may find that seeing out of the vehicle is a bit difficult due to the low rise of the seats. Cargo space inside the measures 63 cubic feet, not that much in comparison with the competition.

The standard H3 had AC, cruise control, keyless entry, OnStar system, Bluetooth connectivity, and a six-speaker audio system hooked up to a CD player and satellite radio. The H3 Alpha has a few extras. You also get leather-trimmed seating, leather-covered steering wheel, carpet floor mats, heated front seats, and power adjusting front seats.

Several packages were available as well. The Luxury package adds to the base model a Monsoon audio system with a six-CD audio player. A H3X Appearance package adds a chrome fuel cap with a filter, chrome wheels, and a roof rack. Several optional items are available as well including a sunroof, special metal paints, a navigation system, and a rearview camera system for parking.

Performance & Handling

The H3 comes with standard full-time four-wheel drive as well as a two-wheel transfer case for off-road driving. The H3 is equipped with a 3.7-liter five-cylinder engine that produces 239 horsepower with 241 pound-feet of torque. The engine is controlled by a five-speed manual transmission, or you can opt for the four-speed automatic transmission.

The Alpha model has a larger 5.3-liter V-8 engine that produces 300 horsepower with 320 pound-feet of torque. The engine is controlled by a four-speed automatic transmission.

Acceleration is disappointing due to the weak engine on the base model, and the nearly 5,000 pound curb weight of the vehicle. The Alpha model does slightly better with its V-8 engine.


The H3 comes equipped with standard anti-lock brakes, traction control, stability control, hill-start assist, OnStar, and full -length side curtain airbags. The H3 did fairly well in government crash tests, receiving five stars for driver protection and four stars for the passenger.

EPA Fuel Economy

H3 with the five-cylinder: 14/18 mpg city/highway
Alpha with the V-8: 13/16 mpg city/highway

You'll Like

  • The H3 is strong off-road.
  • The new hill-start assist ensures you’re safe even in the most harrowing situations.
  • The H3 does well both on and off-road, a feat not quite accomplished by the Hummer H2.
  • The ride is comfortable.

You Won't Like

  • The base five-cylinder engine is a bit weak.
  • Visibility, especially for shorter drivers, is poor.
  • The cargo space does not compete with other SUVs on the market.
  • The masculine, metallic design might not appeal to some consumers.
  • Terrible fuel economy.

Sum Up

Although the H3 is great for off-road driving, it does not appeal in any way to the suburban driver. Poor fuel economy and lackluster storage space make this a vehicle best passed over for other SUVs on the market.

If You Like This Vehicle

  • Jeep Wrangler Unlimited
  • Jeep Grand Cherokee
  • Nissan Pathfinder

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