AM General started selling the civilian version of the U.S. Army’s newest run-about vehicle in 1992. Since then it has remained a vehicle purchased by two groups of people: those looking for ultimate off-road ability and the ultra-rich seeking the ultimate status symbol.
While we classify the Hummer as a full-size sport-utility vehicle, it is actually a Class 3 truck. This means that it has a gross vehicle rating of over 10,000 pounds and does not have to meet all of the safety guidelines mandated for smaller vehicles (it has no airbags). The only other vehicles sold in new-car dealerships to achieve this rating are some heavy-duty versions of the full-size pickup trucks. Hummer comes in five bodystyles: two- and four-door hardtops, 4-door convertibles with a pickup-type bed, 4-door wagons that has an enclosed rear cargo area like a conventional sport-utility vehicle, and a new 4-door wagon with a sloping rear roof called the slantback. All 4-door models seat a minimum of four people in two front bucket seats and two rear bucket seats, while 2-door models have room for two adults. Only one trim level is offered, and it includes permanent 4-wheel drive, front and rear air conditioning, power windows and door locks, remote keyless entry, and a third row bench seat in wagon models. Dual airbags are not available. There is only one powertrain combination: a 6.5-liter turbodiesel V8 and a 4-speed automatic transmission. Both are built by General Motors. Antilock brakes are standard as is a full-time 4WD system called TorqTrac4. TT4 for short, this system uses the antilock brakes sensors to apply the brakes when wheels start to slip in limited-traction situations. All models can tow up to 5000 pounds with an optional weight-carrying hitch and up to 8300 pounds with a weight-distributing hitch and optional rear springs. Changes for 2000 include rear-seat audio controls, auto-dimming rearview mirror, digital odometer, tinted rear windows, thicker brake pads, new colors, and new optional 17-inch wheels. Returning options include includes a unique central tire inflation system, runflat tires, CD changer with Monsoon audio system, 12,000-pound winch, and highway touring tires. The central tire inflation system allows drivers to inflate or deflate the front and rear tires from inside the vehicle.