The Hummer EV SUV Is Not for the Rational

By 8 Min Read

It is absurd that GMC only offers one shocking color for the Hummer EV: Afterburner Tintcoat, an eye-searing tangerine. Ordering GMC’s self-proclaimed “supertruck” in rental-car silver would be akin to whitewashing Saint Basil’s Cathedral. This design is at its best when screaming for attention. Obviously, when faced with a lineup of Hummers to test, I asked for the bright orange one, cranked up some ‘80s rock, and made sure all eyes would be on me.

Quick Specs 2024 GMC Hummer EV SUV 3X
Drivetrain Twin Rear Motors + Single Front Motor
Output 830 Horsepower / 1,200 Pound-Feet
Range 298 Miles
Base Price $106,945
On-Sale Date Now

It’s a good thing I started there, because grabbing attention turned out to be the Hummer’s greatest strength—on pavement, at least. GMC tossed me the keys in Grand Junction, Colorado, and told me to get to Moab, Utah an hour and a half away. 

As you might expect of a bright orange T-topped SUV, it’s not oozing practicality. The Hummer was “please speak up” noisy at highway speed, courtesy of enormous all-terrain tires and a flat windshield. Steering feel is numb and heavy, and especially vague on-center. The steering wheel is barely adjustable, the synthetic leather seats are neither easy to wipe down nor luxurious, and the interior simultaneously comes off as gaudy and cheap. It doesn’t feel like a six-figure truck. 

2024 GMC Hummer EV SUV Off-Road Review
2024 GMC Hummer EV SUV Off-Road Review

From an engineering standpoint, it’s no standout, either. Despite an estimated 170 kilowatt-hours capacity battery pack—GMC hasn’t released exact kWh stats—the tri-motor 3X trim with the Extreme Off-Road Package is rated by the EPA at just 298 miles of range and 53 combined MPGe. Back-of-the-envelope math works out to 1.76 miles/kWh. The Hummer EV is one of the least-efficient electric vehicles on the road. It doesn’t even get to claim top dog in output as a tradeoff either, as its combined 830 horsepower is bested by the Rivian R1S Quad-Motor’s 835 HP. The Hummer’s 0-60 time of 3.5 seconds is handily defeated by the Cybertruck Beast’s 2.6-second dash to 60 too.

Be assured that 3.5 seconds is still plenty fast in a truck this size. On hard merges, the front end thrusts skyward with such ferocity it feels like the SUV could take off with enough runway. Luckily, you won’t be flying skyward, as the Hummer weighs somewhere between 8,000 and 9,000 pounds, a number that vividly comes to life when you jam the brakes at highway speeds. This mass got exhausting to manhandle on the way to Moab, but luckily GM’s superb Super Cruise level 2 automation comes standard. 

2024 GMC Hummer EV SUV Off-Road Review

Pros: Excellent One-Pedal Driving, Heavily Armored, Mega Attitude

Let us abandon rational auto-reviewer thought for a moment, though. Highway comfort and bragging rights be damned. In bright orange with the T-tops off, every living being in the city of Moab down to the kangaroo rats stared at me as I drove past. If you want attention—and Lord knows I do—it’s impossible to beat the Hummer, even with a Cybertruck.

And what better way to show off your Hummer—and yourself—than to tackle a trail that would leave lesser trucks, and men, broken and battered? This is where the Hummer can surpass its competition on paper. The Hummer EV has eye-watering off-road stats: 15.9 inches of maximum ground clearance, a 35.4-foot turning circle (aided by four-wheel steering), and a staggering 49.6-degree approach angle. This puts it far ahead of the Rivian R1S and Tesla Cybertruck, and the Hummer SUV boasts better breakover and departure than the nine-inch-longer-wheelbase Hummer EV Pickup. (The SUV even bests the plug-in hybrid Jeep Wrangler 4xe in rock-crawling metrics.) Its off-road abilities in the electrified world stand alone.

Reality backs up those impressive numbers. Our test trail was a blue “More Difficult” 4×4 path that looped through the desert south of Moab. It’s a trail you could tackle in a Jeep on 35s, but that you’d still want heaps of body protection for, as it includes sharp rocks and staircase descents. 

2024 GMC Hummer EV SUV Off-Road Review
2024 GMC Hummer EV SUV Off-Road Review

Putting the Hummer into Terrain Mode—which heavily dampens throttle response to allow for easier power modulation—allowed me to (mostly) gently coax the four-and-a-half-ton behemoth down stairs without riding the Extreme All Terrain Package’s rock sliders all the way. One-pedal driving was brilliant and used a combination of physical brakes and regenerative braking that was smooth all the way to zero, a rarity for any EV. Its underbody shielding could make an armadillo jealous; There isn’t a weak point underneath this truck, which gave me extra confidence when sliding down big steps.

Terrain mode also dials up the front/rear steering ratio to 1:1.2—for every one turn of the front wheels, the rears move 1.2 (up to their full ten degrees of angle). It feels absurd at first, but it’s an absolute necessity for the Hummer EV. Although its wheelbase is much shorter than its pickup sibling, it’s still 126.7 inches long—almost half a foot longer than a Chevrolet Tahoe. Once I got the hang of the rear end’s steering, it made the massive Hummer almost corner like a mid-size. If desired, the 3X can also enter parallel-steering mode (known as “crab walking” in Hummer parlance), but I only engaged it as a party trick—I struggle to envision an off-road scenario where it would be useful. 

2024 GMC Hummer EV SUV Off-Road Review

Cons: Cheap-Feeling, Too Big For Most Trails, Massive Weight Impossible To Hide

While the Hummer performed exceptionally in Moab for an almost 9,000-pound truck, I never forgot how massive it was. On the few sections of trail that weren’t slickrock, I watched the first and sixth trucks in our group deal with vastly different conditions, as the massive weight of the Hummer was too much for soft dirt, which fell away from the trail with every subsequent truck. I pinstriped the Afterburner Tintcoat on every patch of sagebrush in southern Utah, because at 86.7 inches—almost half a foot wider than a Hummer H2—it was simply too wide to fit most trails. My line choices were constrained to wherever I could physically fit the truck, which forced me into trickier maneuvers than I might need in a reasonably sized vehicle. 

2024 GMC Hummer EV SUV Off-Road Review

Despite this, its off-road abilities are currently unmatched in its competitive set, although the minute electrified Mercedes G-Wagen hits the market, that title will become much harder to defend. Even if it gets surpassed by the Benz: who cares? I maintain that attempting to rationally analyze the Hummer defeats its entire purpose. Get it in orange. Pop off the T-tops. Crank up Mötley Crüe. The Hummer is here to party, and it’ll get to the party whether it’s in Miami or Moab.

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