It weighs as much as a small school bus and has more torque than a heavy-duty pickup—and it left us grinning from ear to ear.
Packing 830 hp and 1,200 lb-ft of torque, outfitted with 35-inch off-road tires, and capable of bolting to 60 mph in 3.5 seconds, the 2024 GMC Hummer EV SUV is just as outrageous as the pickup version that preceded it. It's certainly not the most efficient electric people mover ever built, but it lives up to its Hummer name by being incredibly capable off-road and the most rugged-looking SUV in your Whole Foods parking lot. With the Hummer pickup getting into owners' hands with some regularity, GMC has finally also begun shipping the long-awaited SUV to dealers.
A pleasant and familiar space presents itself inside; the Hummer SUV is identical to the pickup from the C-pillar forward. Screens impress with their unbelievably crisp and detailed graphics and animations, powered by the Unreal Engine (the 3D graphics system used to create many popular video games) and created in collaboration with Perception, a creative agency best known for work within the Marvel cinematic universe. The 13.4-inch infotainment screen controls most functions and is intuitive to use while also being incredibly responsive. You also appreciate the large 12.3-inch driver information display, even if the steering wheel blocks a bit of the most important stuff, like the speedometer in some display modes.
The interior is comfortable, and aside from being identical to the pickup's, it's pieced together in part from Sierra bits. The seats, console, shifter, and key fob are all Sierra. Wide horizontal lines, large physical buttons, chunky grab handles, and vinyl accents give the cabin a rugged feel, while gold accents bring in a touch of class. However, it would be nicer if those accents were metal instead of plastic.
Like the pickup, this SUV is loud inside. Wind noise seems on par with or worse than a hardtop Jeep Wrangler or Ford Bronco. You endure a lot of road noise with the 22-inch wheels, and with 18s you're treated to a mud-terrain symphony. And then there's the "futuristic" effect that constantly pumps through the speakers; at times it sounds like a cross between George Jetson's spacecraft and Tron. (Yes, we're dating ourselves here, but it's the most accurate description.) Roll onto the accelerator, and what can also be described as a techno-V-8 rumble kicks in. Want to drown it out with the radio? Good luck—on the move, all Bose fidelity is lost for anything other than listening to podcasts.
Because the vehicles are built on the modular Ultium platform, the Hummer SUV's 9-inch-shorter wheelbase accommodates four fewer battery modules (20 versus the pickup's 24). The result is a battery pack with about 170 kWh of usable storage (our estimate; neither GM nor the EPA has released official figures). At this capacity, GM targets a 300-mile range, which isn't a substantial drop from the Hummer pickup's GMC-estimated 329 miles. During our time behind the wheel, we covered nearly 200 miles of tarmac that consisted of a good mix of highway, two-lane, twisty mountain, and crowded urban roads. We began our cool and rainy spring drive with the battery at about 80 percent and ended at about 15 percent. Looking at those stats, GM's 300-mile estimate could be a touch conservative.
Edition 1 Hummer SUVs come standard with GM's nifty battery technology that automatically switches from parallel to series to facilitate the use of 800-volt DC fast chargers at speeds of up to 300 kW (slightly less than the pickup's 350-kW ability due to the smaller battery size).
What this means in reality, assuming the charger is up for it, is the Hummer SUV has ability to add 100 miles of range in as little as 14 minutes. The charging system is also designed to support legacy 400-volt charging infrastructure, without the need for a converter box or other accessories. And people who want to juice at home will be glad to hear the SUV is able to support the latest 19.2-kW Level 2 chargers. With this L2 hardware you can theoretically charge the Hummer SUV from flat to full in about 8 hours. A standard 7.2-kW setup would take almost a full day. You've been warned.
The Hummer SUV also has the ability to export power. Using the available Power Station, it can provide power to jump-charge another EV at 240 volts/25 amps/6 kW or power a variety of equipment or accessories at 120 volts/25 amps/3 kW. To do so, the SUV takes DC energy from the battery pack, converts it to AC, and sends it out the charge port. An accessory cable with interchangeable connectors will be available to facilitate this function.
The Hummer EV SUV's ultimate party trick is, of course, its ludicrous Watts to Freedom launch control, which enables maximum straight-line performance. With the battery charged to greater than 80 percent, the nearly 9,000-pound SUV launches from naught to 60 mph in just 3.5 seconds. To enable WTF mode, the Hummer needs to be turned on and in park. A quick double-tap of the dash-mounted traction control button brings the system to life with nifty animations splashed across the screens, a rumble of the driver's seat through its haptic feedback, and dramatic sounds played through the audio system. At the same time, the Hummer will begin to precondition the battery pack and motors and drop the ride height by about 3.5 inches to its lowest position. All of this happens incredibly quickly.
Despite abundant moisture from California's latest atmospheric river event, GMC closed a private stretch of road for us to experience WTF, complete with a Hummer-powered dragstrip "Christmas tree." Pulling up to the line, a graphic on the driver information display indicates whether the system is in standby or ready to use. With it armed, we pressed on the brake pedal then stomped the accelerator. Lift off the brake, and the tri-motor Hummer rockets forward with an appropriate level of spin from all four of the 35-inch tires while pressing its occupants firmly into their seats' backrests. Lifting off the throttle with one-pedal driving turned on brings the Hummer back to a modest pace without needing to get into the friction brakes.
Here's the really fun part: The traction control system is intelligent enough that the vehicle analyzes wheelslip on the first launch and adjusts for it during subsequent passes, getting quicker as it learns. Our first WTF run in the rain resulted in copious wheelspin and a fair bit of steering input to remain straight, but by the third or fourth hit the Hummer clicked off consistent sub-four-second runs with little drama, in the rain. And although you get the maximum effect with a full battery, GM engineers said that with the pack half depleted, the Hummer only drops one second on the stopwatch, and you can use WTF until the battery is basically flat.
With the Hummer SUV carrying a price tag north of six figures and rocking more than 800 hp, you might be inclined to think it would have highway chops to match. On the contrary, it instead feels more like an amusement park ride than the "supertruck" GMC describes it as. Each body movement feels wildly exaggerated; the way the SUV pitches, dives, and yaws will have the driver giggling at the lunacy while passengers clutch at grab handles. With a stiff press of the accelerator, the Hummer squats wildly, the nose heaves skyward, and the SUV rockets forward in a whir of space-age noises, most of which are augmented through the audio system.
Despite the suspension's general softness, the SUV handles with an impressive level of composure because of the vehicle's incredibly low center of gravity. Even as the body bobbles to and fro, the chassis has no issue handling tight and twisty roads with confidence. The steering offers good responsiveness along with a good amount of weight and feedback. The adjustable air suspension easily absorbs big bumps and moderate road undulations. However, we noticed that when equipped with 22-inch wheels and lower-profile tires, the suspension is less able to absorb small, high-frequency bumps, transmitting more of the vibrations through the cabin than in Hummers fitted with 18-inchers.
Jumping into the Hummer fresh, you may need a few miles to get used to the feeling of the rear steering. While it's not overly aggressive, in normal drive modes it steers at a ratio of 0.3:1 of front angle, which is noticeable. At low speeds the rear wheels will turn out of phase with the front, which is what enables the incredibly tight turning ability. Navigating parking lots and tight urban environments with the relatively massive Hummer SUV is a total nonevent. At highway speeds, the rear tires switch to turning in phase with the front for greater stability.
Thankfully, the amazing CrabWalk function, first seen on the Hummer pickup, returns. This ability, enabled via a long press of the CrabWalk button on the drive mode selector, allows the rear wheels to match the front steering angle, in phase, up to the full 10 degrees of motion.
When exactly CrabWalk is useful is another story entirely. Picture this: You're driving up a steep, loose, off-camber trail, and suddenly there's a boulder in the way. Unfortunately, because of your rear locking differential, the truck's rear end starts to slide down the grade. This wouldn't be an issue if not for that pesky rock. Well, if you have the ability to crab by turning the rear wheels the same direction as the front, you can crab-walk up the hill and around the obstacle with ease. But we know the function will be used far more frequently to impress people in mall parking lots, which is fine.
The Hummer SUV is a riot on the road, but when pavement gives way to dirt, the real fun begins. With specs that rival Jeep's Wrangler Rubicon, the Hummer SUV boasts an approach angle of 49.6 degrees, a breakover angle of 34.4 degrees, and a departure angle of 45.6 degrees. (Removing the spare tire bumps departure angle up to 49.0 degrees.) It also has up to 16 inches of ground clearance and 13 inches of wheel travel, can climb an 18-inch vertical wall, and can ford up to 32 inches of water.
We can't overlook the two off-road-oriented drive modes, either. In addition to Normal, Tow/Haul, and the user-configurable My modes, the Hummer SUV features the Off-Road and Terrain settings. GMC doesn't include the three submodes (WTF, CrabWalk, and Extract) in the official count. So what's the difference between the Off-Road and Terrain drive modes?
All of the Hummer's drive modes affect throttle maps, torque distribution, steering, ride height, shock damping, braking, and interior sound enhancements. Off-Road mode is the go-to setting for general driving off the beaten path; it gives a good mix of increased damping, a sensitive but manageable accelerator, increased rear steering (0.6:1 of front angle), and a more aggressive rear virtual-locking differential. Terrain, the Hummer's most capable off-road drive mode, takes everything up a notch by dampening throttle inputs for smoother torque application in hill- and rock-climbing situations. It features softer shock damping for better articulation than in Off-Road mode, and it has the most aggressive traction control and rear locker settings. Most impressive, Terrain mode also increases the rear steering angle to 1.2 times the front angle, which allows the rear axle to oversteer the front.
The Hummer SUV is built at GM's Factory Zero in Hamtramck, Michigan. To streamline production, Edition 1 models are being made first. Once that version's run is complete, the company will move on to the rest of the trims in descending order: The mechanically similar EV3X will trail the Edition 1, followed by the two-motor EV2X. The lower-range, two-motor $79,999 base EV2 will round out the lineup in early 2024.