Hummer H2 vs H3: Which One is Actually Better?

Remember way back when Arnold Schwarzenegger got his hands on a military vehicle? Those were odd times, American was at war, and some famous actor/former body builder wanted one of the vehicles used in war.

So he got a street legal one built for him. After he got that one built for him it was all down hill. Other famous people began wanting one too, and then average Joe’s wanted them as well. Thats where the whole Hummer brand starts.

Hummer H2

After the questionable success of the original Hummer, AM General knew that there was a potential market for their vehicles. So, the Hummer H2 was launched in 2002 by AM General.

The front half of the frame was GM 2500, whilst the rear half was GM 1500. In all reality its basically a beefed up Tahoe frame. The engine was also borrowed from GM, it was their 6.0L that came in 1500 and 2500 trucks.


All of these GM parts made the Hummer H2 fairly easy to work on, and fairly reliable. The GM parts also made it much more friendly for the average consumer than the original Hummer was.

Additional H2 info on Wikipedia

Hummer H3

The Hummer H3 brought massive change to the Hummer brand. The original Hummer and the H2 were both ridiculously massive SUV’s. In order to become more consumer friendly, it was decided to down size the next Hummer.

I can remember it like it was yesterday. The commercials about the down sizing of the all new H3. Quite frankly it was pretty gimmicky, but then again so was the entire Hummer brand at the time.


Much like the H2, the H3 was built on top of GM components. The H3 chassis is borrowed from the Colorado and Canyon. The Canyon and Colorado were just like the H3, they were relatively small vehicles in their class.

The 6.0L V8 was replaced by a rather odd 3.5L inline-5. Later down the line the 3.5L was replaced by a 3.7L, and in 2008 an optional 5.3L V8 from the Chevy Tahoe was added.

Additional H3 info on Wikipedia

H2 vs H3: Exterior

Obviously since the H3 was down sized from the H2, the exterior was also redesigned. The odd thing is, as different as they look, they actually look the same. A lot of times when a sequel is introduced to a car, the sequel is either uglier, doesn’t represent the original, or both.

But, the Hummer managed a way around that. While these vehicle have very different proportions, they look so similar. You can really get a sense of family looking at these two.

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The Hummer H2 quite honestly isn’t the best looking SUV in the book. It’s extremely massive, and have very few curves or body lines. Its basically just a giant box on wheels. But, this was done so it actually looked like a successor to the original Hummer, which was also very boxy.


The Hummer H3 on the other hand is actually somewhat good looking. While it is still very boxy, it was rounded off quite a bit. The body was downsized significantly, but the wheel arches poke out of the body a huge amount. This gives the H3 a really muscular look.

Honestly, it looks meaner, leaner, and more muscular than the H2.

I know for a lot of people, the outside looks of a vehicle aren’t that big of a deal. It if was a big deal you wouldn’t see half the cars that are on the road today. But, for the people who do care what their car looks like, the H3 is the obvious winner here.

I know that this is very subjective, but the H3 is so much better looking than any Hummer before it.

H2 vs H3: Suspension

Do you remember the one super weird thing about the original Hummer? Thats right, it used fully independent suspension. All other heavy duty vehicles at the time were solid axle rear, and a lot of them were also solid axle front.

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Remember earlier when I told you that the front of the Hummer H2’s frame was a GM 2500? The front suspension is also GM 2500. GM uses a torsion bar suspension setup in the front of all their trucks. I honestly don’t know why they use torsion bars, but thats a discussion for a different time.

The rear suspension was sourced from the Chevy Tahoe, but with upgraded air bags to replace the standard coil springs. This was done to increase ride quality while still giving it great towing/hauling capabilities.

The H2 was much different than the original Hummer in the fact that it used a solid rear axle. That solid rear is sourced from a GM pickup truck, making it pretty strong.


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The Hummer H3 is also based entirely on a GM product underneath. The H3 uses its front, and rear suspension from the Canyon/Colorado chassis. The rear suspension was changed from air bag, to leaf spring. This helped bring costs down significantly while still keeping the decent towing capacity.

H2 vs H3: Power Train

The original Hummer came with a Detroit diesel. That engine was loud, slow, and expensive to maintain. Some of the original Hummers had a gas engine, but it seems like most of them were diesel.

When the H2 came along, that diesel engine was completely ditched in favor of the 6.0L V8. The 6.0L V8 was borrowed from GM. Its your typically GM truck engine which is based off of the LS engine family.

The 6.0L was the largest engine available at the time through GM. Its a stout engine, pushing out an impressive 325 horsepower. That 325 horsepower pushes the H2 from 0-60 in a surprisingly unimpressive 10.7 seconds, not to shabby!

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Like I mentioned earlier, the H3 is based mostly off of the Canyon/Colorado. Since its based off of those trucks, it also received the power plant of those trucks. Its a 3.5L inline-5, that produces 220 horsepower.

That 3.5L was later replaced by a 3.7L inline-5 which produced 242 horsepower. An optional 5.3L V8 was offered in 2008, and bumped power output up to an impressive 300 horsepower.

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Heres the bottom line; the H2 has a 6.0L V8, and the H3 has an inline-5 with an optional 5.3L V8. All engines are sourced directly from GM trucks.

H2 vs H3: Cost

One of the single most important factors when purchasing a vehicle is obviously the price. We are all strictly limited by money, so which one is better lb/dollar? The H2 or the H3? Well, one thing you have to understand before judging either vehicle, is that one is luxury SUV, and the other isn’t.

The H2 was designed to be a luxury SUV, that why it has air bag rear suspension and lots of other unnecessary features. The H3 was designed more for the average consumer and is much less of a luxury SUV. With that out of the way, lets look at prices for both.

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In 2008, a base model H2 was north of $53,000! Thats quite a lot for a vehicle thats 90% Chevy Tahoe. The H3 on the other hand was about $33,000 for a base model. Thats right, a different of $20,000+. That $20k difference is what make the H2 a luxury SUV and the H3 a consumer SUV.

H2 vs H3: Summary

As you might have noticed by now, the Hummer family gets smaller and more efficient the farther down the line it goes. The original Hummer sucked up fuel like crazy, the H2 improved upon that, and the H3 perfected it.

Heres how I look at it, the H2 is a massive boxy SUV that is basically just a Tahoe with a different body and different interior. The H3 is based off of a pickup truck but is obviously an SUV.

The H3 also looks better than an H2, and is more efficient at nearly everything. In my opinion the H3 is better in nearly every where, plus its way cheaper. What do you think? Let me know in the comments below!

14 thoughts on “Hummer H2 vs H3: Which One is Actually Better?”

  1. The Hummer H2 is a lot more image Stylish,plus it’s obviously much Stronger at towing compacity…More Spacious…And can go places the H3 can’t for instance like 6-Feet Deep Floods & more physically durable at tackling rough terrain…
    And clearly a lot Safer collision wise protecting passengers…
    To prefer a smaller H3 is a choice personally…*
    But the winner and far most popular is the H2 !!!!!???

    • I think the h2 is sexier than the 3 it’s 2022 and I am just now considering buying a used one for a second vehicle I found one in perfect garage kept 2 owner condition… it’s white and it’s spotless!

  2. Iv owned both h2 and h3 (inline5 3.7) My h3 was the adventure package equipped with front and rear diff lock, which came in handy for off road rock climbing. I favor the h2 for style inside and out, h3 just cant compete with the big aggressive look of the h2. But honestly off road the h3 performed a lot better and was actually more durable. I had 2 tie rods snap when offroading with my h2 due to the skinny weak tie rods which cannot handle the weight of the heavy suv. My h3 on the other hand never had this issue and was used on the exact same trails and more often. To sum it up, h2 for looks and drive quality, h3 for off roading and for those who care about the fuel consumtion.

  3. The base price of a 2008 H2 was actually 70 grand, making it around 95 grand in todays value and the H3 was 40 which is like 55 grand in today’s money value. Unsurprisingly (But surprising to many others, especially Hummer haters) All Hummer models have kept their resale value high. No other car in its class is like that. Hummers are awesome and I hope they come back to the market soon.

  4. Ok, I’ve never driven an H2, But I did rent an H3 while on a vacation in Co and Wyoming with my wife, back in 2007. We flew out to Denver from Boston Ma for a two-week adventure that for me was a return to the area after a 3-year hitch in the U.S.Army while stationed at Ft Carson CO. I decided to go back 30 years later with my wife. We rented a new H3 because that was in my mind the most capable rental vehicle for the job! In ten days we put over 3,800 miles, covering the area from Denver Colorado Springs, to Mt Rushmore Crazy Horse S.Dakota to Yellowstone, parts of nearby Utah with many sights to see Along the way. We took a fairly rough dirt and in some areas snow-covered roads in the center of Wyoming, we discovered a stone monolithic feature that marked the geographic center of the state, also discovered The Hole In The Wall, an old Outlaw Hideout. That dirt/mud/snow road was over 120 miles that brought us back out to the interstate in the northern part if the state in about 5-6 hours! The only problem we had over the entire trip was a flat tire! I feel the H3 was a much better vehicle functionality that the hulking H2. That I feel was a gas hog, especially the early models! But the later with the 6.2 was marginally better, but the H3T V8 was my favorite. I did find one for sale locally, a very nice all black H3T V8, that had very high mileage! like over 220,000! Miles! The original owner said he used it to tie his Airstream all-over the continental N.American areas, from as far south as Key West, to Prince Edward Island, to as far north-west as the end of The Dalton Hyw in Alaska! Plus down to Imperial Beach CA. All while carrying two spare tires for the truck and trailer, plus an auxiliary 60 gal gas tank. All together with a CGVW of just over 9,000 lbs! He said they averaged 10 mpg on the two-year trip if a lifetime of n my mind! I would have bought that H3T, except for the fact he was selling it for $18,000!! Sure it ran and drove like new! With only all rubber replaced, two new batteries in a custom box, good tires with at least 70% tread left, he had changed the water pump twice, the alternator just before putting it up for sale. But the mileage on the original engine and transmission scared me away. Even though the truck was still worth it if you had the extra time and money to transplant the engine and transmission with a great LS/Transmission upgrade! I guess I’ll keep looking, but I want to fine a V8, that 5 cyl I’m afraid won’t do towing my travel trailer when needed, even though they are rated to. There’s been an issue with the timing chain in those engines, that I’ve been told is a complicated job. Plus I can’t find any info on changing from the 5 cylindersc to a V8? But this one is a nice candidate that I will go look at later today.

  5. h2 is way better my dad had one and we went offroading sometimes the tie rods never broke and he has had it for 16 years and all he has done to it was change the fluids and tires and it has over 240 thousand miles on it so h2 is better than h3 plus it looks way better

  6. I own a 2009 Hummer H3. This is my first experience with a Hummer. I don’t know the Hummer H2. In my life, now 55 years old. More than 50 cars have passed in my life. And so many others that I took a test drive. I like cars. I’m not an expert. I just like it. I’m not an agency. I just like it and when I get the chance. I sell and already buy another. It doesn’t matter if it’s old or new. I just like having car experiences. And the Hummer H3 surprised me for being a practical, comfortable, economical car. You feel good driving. For my analysis of someone who only likes and doesn’t understand. It was one of the best cars I have ever had. Of course, in time I will sell. But not now.

  7. H2 is nicest driving large truck and maintains an air of exclusivity about it. It is instantly recognizable and draws people in like a magnet.

    I take exception to the assertion that it is a Tahoe frame….it is definitely not. The front 1/3 is 2500, the back 1/3 is 1500, and the center frame is a custom section designed specifically for the H2. The truck does use commodity GM truck parts, so cost to maintain is very reasonable and readily doable by most shade tree mechanics. A great truck! Only the H1 is more impressive.

  8. I haven’t driven either so I’m not offering an opinion on one vs the other, I’m just here to ask why everyone who has shared theor opinion has actually only driven one of the two vehicles? Your opinion is not valid unless you’ve driven both vehicles.

  9. I have never owned or driven the H2 so I cannot and will not make a comparison between the H2 and H3. I do however currently own the 2008 Hummer H3 Alpha model (5.3L V8) and I also have it “tuned” professionally from PCM of N.C.
    My H3 will beat any modern Jeep or SUV in the same class on speed, take off and towing capacity. Hummer haters will continue to do just that ..hate…I would put the H3 (with the V8) up against any modern day Jeep or the new “fad” Bronco. The only Jeep that would beat a V8 powered H3 is the Rubicon 392.


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