PHOTO CREDIT: CHRIS DOANE FOR BRENDA PRIDDY & COMPANY
Hummer H3 Exposed
Catching the new Hummer H3 with minimal camo' was quite a coup for our factory moles. The new downsized Hummer H3's timing couldn't be better in light of the rise in fuel prices. Consequently, our sources tell us the downsizing may actually increase Hummer sales by as much as an estimated 100,000 units annually.
This smaller and less expensive Hummer is actually a derivative of the newly introduced Chevrolet Colorado/GMC Canyon midsize trucks. But the H3's SUV body layout is styled with aggressive Hummer cues and additional off-road capability.
From what we gather, the '05 H3 will be powered by a straight-six and should be priced nearly $75,000 less than the H1, and around $15,000-$20,000 less than the $50,000 H2. The Oshawa, Ontario-built H3 is shaping up to be a bargain if it remains in the $30,000-$35,000 range when it arrives at dealerships in mid-2005.
New Truck Review
'04 Chevy Silverado 1500 Crew Cab
Chevy's New 1/2-Ton Four-Door Delivers Cabin Space, Comfort, And Style
GM's Silverado 1500 line of pickups is offered in so many configurations, you'd think there wasn't any room for a new model that actually had some pent up demand for it. But there was one - in hindsight at least - blaring hole in the lineup: a 1/2-ton Crew Cab. Previous to the launch of the new 1/2-ton Crew, the only way to get a four-door cab in the Silverado line was to step up to a heavy-duty chassis. If you needed the power, towing, and payload capacity of the HD, no problem; if you didn't but still found the need or desire for the roomy four-door cab, then you had to pay the extra freight for the HD and deal with an industrial quality ride. Chevy's new 1/2-ton Crew is intended to fill the latter buyer's needs.
So how's it to drive?
It handled the high-speed curves and low-speed switchbacks on our mountain test-loop better than expected. As mentioned, the ride is very good. It's soft and almost falls into the mushy category, yet still maintains a performance feel. The use of a stiff-enough antiroll bar to control body lean while still allowing the soft springs to travel, combined with appropriate shock valving, give it a smooth, comfortable ride over irregular road surfaces. The Crew is pretty heavy, so you get a lot of tire noise in the corners. The tires are typical OE: soft sidewall; tuned more for ride and straight line stopping than performance handling.
We did note a couple of minor weaknesses in the truck's ride quality. The length of the frame allows it to vibrate more to a given level of road shock than the Extended Cab and standard units. The frame vibrated enough over some rough patches that road grip and braking were reduced. The shocks can't do their job if the chassis is vibrating. But the frame settles quickly and was only a handling or braking issue very briefly. We felt the suspension tune allowed too much vertical movement in the nose at times, causing the ride to porpoise too much when driving over road surfaces such as less-than-perfect railroad track crossings.