Road test review: GMC Hummer Edition 1 Pickup

  • GMC HUMMER EDITION 1 PICKUP
  • Basic price: $110,295 (NZD180,500)
  • Powertrain and economy: Three permanent magnet synchronous motors (one front, two rear) and a 212.7kWh battery, 745kW/1625Nm, AWD, combined economy 44.5kWh/100km (unofficial) and 565km range.
  • Vital Statistics: 5506 mm long, 2380 mm wide, 2009 mm high, 3444 mm wheelbase, luggage capacity 320 liters (in trunk, plus 1.5 meter tray), 18-inch alloy wheels.
  • Security: Not tested
  • We like: Brutal performance, serious off-road ability, looks.
  • We don’t like: Some cheap plastic inside. It will probably never get here…

General Motors has reinvented the Hummer brand from being the poster child for all things unnecessary and dirty in the ICE world to, well, the poster child for all things unnecessary and wasteful in the EV world really. Huge, heavy and brutally fast, it stands as GM’s flagship EV and is an absolute blast to drive…

OUTSIDE

The GMC Hummer EV is just as massive as you'd imagine it to be.

Delivered

The GMC Hummer EV is just as massive as you’d imagine it to be.

The blunt, brutal look of the original Hummer was always a love-it-or-hate-it affair (as were the subsequent smaller H2 and H3 models), and the all-electric revival is no different in that regard – huge, square and brutalist in nature, but this time in a much more futuristic way, the new electric Hummer is undeniably a Hummer.

And as impressive as it looks in pictures, I’d say it’s even more impressive in the metal, where its towering size really becomes apparent – ​​it’s “only” 5.5 meters long, but is a rather remarkable 2 meters tall and almost 2 .4 meters wide, including the mirrors. It makes the absolute best of that size, though, with the boxy body pushing almost every inch to those extremes thanks to its boxy styling.

The front end is particularly striking, with its full-width light bar that lights up behind the letters of the Hummer name stretched across the nose and severely truncated overhang to get the best possible approach angle – an impressive 44.3 degrees in ‘Off-Road’ mode, which can bump up to a staggering 49.7 degrees in ‘Extract Mode’ which also increases ground clearance by more than 100mm over the already impressive 300mm in the off-road setting.

Four-wheel steering and 'crab mode' help make what is a massive vehicle surprisingly manoeuvrable.

Delivered

Four-wheel steering and ‘crab mode’ help make what is a massive vehicle surprisingly manoeuvrable.

By comparison, the Jeep Wrangler Rubicon – the most off-road-focused version of easily one of the most capable off-roaders on the market today – has 327mm of ground clearance and an approach angle of 47.4 degrees…

Although the tray part of the pickup compromises its departure angle slightly compared to the SUV version, as well as the Jeep, it is still an impressive 38.4 degrees in its maximum setting – the SUV packs a maximum of 49 degrees, while the Jeep SUV has 40.1 degrees.

All of this means that the Hummer means serious off-road business, and its styling will leave you in no doubt about that.

It also happens to look very cool…

INSIDE

The interior is light years ahead of previous Hummers, but still has some areas of cheap plastics that are out of line with its premium price tag.

Delivered

The interior is light years ahead of previous Hummers, but still has some areas of cheap plastics that are out of line with its premium price tag.

As big an impact as the Hummer’s exterior makes in the metal, its interior really impressed me. Possibly because I still have nightmares about the sheer horrendous interior of the H3 that was briefly sold here, but also because it’s actually really impressive both in terms of build quality and materials. Well, most of them.

The various materials used on the seats, dash and door trim are both high quality and also give you the distinct feeling that you could rinse the mud off it and they’d be fine – a fine line to tread.

While the materials feel like you could flush them down, the electronics packed into the interior may have a different take on how clever it is, with two massive screens dominating the Hummer’s dashboard.

It’s not entirely convincing inside though, as while the quality of the various surfaces is generally good, some of the switchgear feels a bit plasticky, flimsy and generic, while the infotainment touchscreen looks great, but is a bit slow and sluggish. Neither of them look good in something that costs as much as the Hummer.

UNDER MONTANA

Even on gravel, the Hummer's straight line acceleration was brutal.  And a little scary…

Delivered

Even on gravel, the Hummer’s straight line acceleration was brutal. And a little scary…

The Edition 1 version of the Hummer Pickup is based on the ultimate 3X configuration which houses three electric motors and a truly monstrous 212.7kWh battery which is essentially two of GM’s largest Ultium battery packs stacked on top of each other under the big guy’s floor .

As you might expect, this makes the Hummer incredibly heavy (4103kg, actually) but gives it a range of around 565km. Not exactly efficient then, but the Hummer’s best party trick is the breathtaking performance on offer from the triple motor/massive battery setup.

Despite the electrified Hummer weighing a staggering 423kg more than the original H1 Hummer, it will rocket to 100km/h in just over 3 seconds in ‘Watts to Freedom’ mode, which is both the most American name ever and the most fitting name ever, considering its initials are WTF.

Although massive and very heavy, the Hummer is still deeply capable when you get it off-road.

Delivered

Although massive and very heavy, the Hummer is still deeply capable when you get it off-road.

It’s probably not a coincidence by any means that you’ll be shouting another phrase using that abbreviation as you nail the throttle and the massive beast belts forward with a combative and unrelenting ferocity just in normal more – let alone gearing it up to full face -melting mode, which we didn’t get to do because we were on gravel – and that big square nose rises up into the sky and the relentless power comes on right away, rearranging your internal organs and putting an unfair amount of pressure on your brain.

This is because the Hummer packs another mind-boggling set of numbers – namely 745kW of power (that’s a nice, round 1000bhp in US terms) and a frankly silly 1625Nm of peak torque. No, you didn’t read wrong…

ON THE ROAD

A wide range of driving modes allows you to tailor Hummer's response to any situation.

Delivered

A wide range of driving modes allows you to tailor Hummer’s response to any situation.

Pretty much all of our time in the Hummer was on a dirt/off-road track at General Motors’ historic Milford Proving Grounds, about an hour from Detroit, where it proved to be an absolute blast to drive.

For something so huge and insanely heavy, the Hummer was delightfully agile and adjustable on gravel, switching at will between composed cornering at speed and full throttle with just a push of the throttle. Even the scariest of power-induced sideways silliness could be collected and corrected with ease, thanks in large part to the Hummer’s superb four-wheel steering.

That four-wheel steering created transitions between small movements at higher speeds, all the way to the brilliant ‘Crab Mode’ that lets the terrain crawl diagonally sideways, as well as the more extreme steering angles in off-road modes that steer almost as much from the rear as the front. This feels very strange at first, but makes the big pickup so much more maneuverable off-road, and also gives it a much smaller turning circle than anything else its size.

Ride comfort is of course deeply impressive (this is an American car, after all) both on gravel and over the rougher stuff, and the huge extremes of throttle response between modes made progress over that rough stuff all the more comfortable. And quite simply.

And, of course, the massive amounts of torque make it easy to crawl almost anywhere…

Delivered

And, of course, the massive amounts of torque make it easy to crawl almost anywhere…

JUDGMENT

If you hated the original Hummer and everything it stood for, the reborn electric version isn’t likely to change that – after all, the massive battery has just as massive a carbon footprint, and it’s as much macho overcompensation as ever.

But damn it’s good.

It’s as much an overcompensating flex from GM versus other manufacturers as it is from the people who flock to order it, but it’s so convincingly good that I couldn’t help but fall in love with it the minute I drove it.

Ridiculous is the best word to describe the Hummer – ridiculously big, ridiculously wasteful and ridiculously expensive, but also ridiculously capable, ridiculously fast and ridiculously good.

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