Originally, Hummer ownership was kind of like hiring a Hollywood pyrotechnic company to run your Fourth of July celebration — complete overkill and massively expensive, but surely a great way to impress the heck out of the neighbors. Then came the Hummer H3. It was designed to be the “real world” Hummer: less pyrotechnics and more sparklers.
That’s not to say that the company’s engineers stopped their testosterone I.V. drip. The H3’s styling still proclaimed loudly that it’s a card-carrying member of the Hummer guild, and the truck had more off-road capability than just about every other midsize SUV when the pavement ends.
For everyday urban use, however, the smallest of Hummers still wasn’t the best choice. Unless you were driving the “Alpha” version, which boasted V8 power, the Hummer H3 was painfully slow in certain situations. It was also let down by other traditional Hummer faults such as poor outward visibility and an interior that isn’t as voluminous as its exterior styling suggests.
If you’re keen on the H3’s looks and style, or if you plan on plenty of recreational use, a used H3 should be a good purchase. Still, our editors feel that most buyers will be better served by other used midsize SUVs.