The H2 SUT's advance powertrain system is augmented with an equally advanced braking system. It uses a Bosch four-channel antilock braking/traction control system that's especially adept at providing control on slippery surfaces as well as detecting and adjusting braking forces to rough off-road surfaces such as potholed, gravelled trails. The traction control system also has the ability to gain traction through a single wheel, if necessary, and more wheel slip in the traction control mode for sand and other extremely low-friction conditions.
The H2 SUT is built on a fully welded ladder-type frame that features a modular three-piece design using a number of hydroformed components. According to GM, this design yields a frame with outstanding strength, stiffness, and dimensional accuracy. The rugged frame links to H2's standard independent front torsion bar and five-link coil-spring rear suspension and helps provide high quality on-road ride comfort and control, as well as exceptional off-road capability. And you can get an optional self-leveling rear air spring suspension system for severe off-road and towing duty.
With the first braking input at speed, we notice the SUT has a very compliant chassis. It's got a lot of brake dive but not enough power compared to its weight to get much acceleration squat, and not surprisingly, the SUT has more lean than a street-only suspension. In other words, the on-road handling is compromised slightly in favor of off-road capability and on-road ride quality.
Driving the SUT in traffic and maneuvering around obstacles is, well, interesting for the first couple of days. Because the truck is tall and square with a relatively high hood line, it takes a while to get to know where the rig's edges are. After you get used to it, it's plenty agile to move in a suburban environment of parking in malls and shopping centers as well as in more open off-road terrain. We didn't drive it in snow or rain, but we did drive it off-road in a dry river bed with reasonable deep sand peppered with obstacles. The traction control and AWD system made driving over and through this terrain nearly effortless.
About the only nit we could find to pick on this truck is its fairly large blind spot in the lower portion of the right-hand-side mirror. The mirror's height and the high windowsill make it difficult to see a compact car riding right off your rear-quarter panel. Other than that, this is a fun truck with machine-age styling that gets you noticed and gets you to wherever you want to go.
'05 SSR Gets 390hp Gen. IV 6.0L
All-Aluminum LS2 V-8
Now this is a sport truck. The new SSR with nearly 400 ponies at the business end of an optional Tremec M10 six-speed manual and a host of styling and convenience refinements is the Corvette of trucks. We had a chance to spend about 20 minutes in one at GM's full-line preview and were blown away. Finally, the planets aligned and we have truck with classic American styling and classic American horsepower. We'll tell you more after we've had one on the test track.