The Bugatti Chiron. Yet another cinematic interpretation of Batman. KFC’s Double Down sandwich.
What do they all have in common? Absolutely none of them needs to exist – at least not from a rational perspective. But they all do, and I’m extremely glad that’s the case.
The 2022 GMC Hummer EV Pickup also falls into this category. Sure, the original Hummer may have had roots in the Humvee military vehicle, though I highly doubt any armed forces will be crab walking their way into battle any time soon in this revived electric version.
Make no mistake: the new Hummer is a toy – a four-tonne, 1,000-hp, gargantuanly unnecessary, mind-bogglingly capable toy. The so-called “super truck” may be electric, but in terms of sheer attitude it cares as much about the environment as a gas-powered sports car. And after experiencing it on- and off-road, I don’t think I’d want it any other way.
Let’s not kid ourselves: for a significant portion of this truck’s target market, it isn’t really about what it can actually do day-to-day but rather about the bragging rights and bar debate-winning specs. And in that respect, the GMC Hummer absolutely delivers with some frankly ridiculous stats that should make its owners the biggest kahunas on their respective blocks.
As the first General Motors (GM) product to ride on the automaker’s Ultium EV platform, the Hummer boasts three electric motors – one dedicated to each rear wheel, one shared by the fronts – producing a total 1,000 hp and 11,500 lb-ft of torque. Zero to 100 km/h can be accomplished in a little more than three seconds in WTF Mode (more on that later), and the company is claiming 529 km of range. If all that somehow isn’t enough to declare neighbourhood driveway supremacy, perhaps the fact that this beast of an electric vehicle has three windshield wipers can seal its victory.
On top of decimating everything else on paper, the Hummer also has to look dominant out on the road, and it’s safe to assume the designers have accomplished their mission. Its boxy fenders, chunky off-road tires, and slightly sinister front end with a lightbar that reads “HUMMER” mean it won’t be mistaken for anything else – except for maybe a new, still-in-disguise robot from the next Transformers movie. The interior is similarly rugged, outfitted with solid right angles everywhere, burnt-looking semi-gloss bronze trim, and a unique interface in the screens – 12.3-inch in front of the driver, 13.4-inch infotainment – that not-so-subtly brings to mind images of space exploration.
Like most other Fun Vehicles of Note [That’s an official term, folks. Look it up. – Ed.], the Hummer is littered with aesthetic easter eggs. The LED headlight signatures, for example, are shaped like Hs, the speaker grille patterns mimic maps of the Sea of Tranquility, there are little American flags stamped atop the C-pillars, and one of the custom auxiliary switch labels hilariously depicts a Hummer driving on top of what appears to be a Tesla Cybertruck. There’s another windshield-related easter egg that should be visible in the photos here. Kudos to those who find it.
With 35-inch all-terrain tires, air suspension with up to 406 mm (16 in) of ground clearance, electric four-wheel drive, and the ability to effectively lock both axles, this new Hummer is extremely capable off-road. Hitting the rocky dunes is like running laps around a bone-dry race track in a Nissan GT-R with all of the assists on. It feels like cheating.
Not getting stuck or breaking anything becomes a simple exercise in watching where you step – and with 18 cameras strategically placed all around the outside, including two underneath the truck to make sure obstacles can clear between the tires, that becomes trivial as well. Five skid plates and rock sliders are there for extra insurance when the trail gets a bit more challenging.
Rear-wheel steering of up to 10 degrees not only gives this truck a tinier-than-expected turning circle but, in terrain mode, makes it very nimble off-road. It’s able to snake through curvy sand paths and dodge jagged rocks with great agility, spinning around its own centre like a personal tank. The visibly turning rear wheels also makes it look extremely tank-like from the outside, too, which is a very cool effect.
On the topic of cool effects, this same rear-steer system can be locked to move in the same direction as the front wheels, letting the Hummer EV move diagonally like a crab. Go figure – GMC calls this feature crab walk, and engaging it (like many other features in this truck) is accompanied by a nifty video game-style animation in the centre screen. (Fun fact: the Hummer’s graphical UI was done by the same design house that creates a lot of the tech interface animations and title sequences in Marvel movies, including the credit sequence at the end of Avengers: Endgame.)
Crab walk is, by all measures, remarkably neat and should be good for many roadside oohs, aahs, and Instagram stories the first time you show this truck off to family and friends. And while I found myself transfixed watching a fellow journalist get out of a precarious off-road situation by crab walking, I don’t really see the feature being used more than sparingly.
The Hummer EV can apparently ford up to 813 mm (32 in) of water, too. Even when it isn’t rock climbing and wading through rivers, though, the new Hummer is an uncharacteristically approachable vehicle to drive on paved roads. Sheer size aside, this truck’s easy, light inputs and rear-wheel steering make it a relative cinch to navigate through parking lots and around town.
The ride is fairly comfortable on account of the prodigious ground clearance, while on-ramp acceleration is smooth and quite mighty on account of, y’know, the literal thousand electric hp hiding under your right foot.
Highway cruising is similarly fine, but thanks to those off-road tires and the fact that aerodynamics were clearly not very high on engineers’ list of priorities, both road and wind noise are very apparent at speed. I even noticed a disconcertingly loud whistle around the edges of one of the removable roof panels at one point.
While we’re on the subject, the top of this truck consists of four transparent polycarbonate (read: plastic) panels that can be removed for an open-air Jeep Wrangler-like feel. Both the panels themselves and the latches securing them are manageably light, and the panels were designed to fit perfectly inside the frunk. They’re heavily tinted, of course, but sitting in the blazing Arizona sun with the panels attached, I kind of wished there was an additional opaque shade of some sort to keep the cabin cool. The Hummer also features a Toyota 4Runner-style opening rear window if you’d like to get even more fresh air.
While comparing the Hummer Pickup’s off-road abilities to tracking a Nissan GT-R was more figurative than anything else, there’s one aspect of GMC’s super truck that more literally gives Nissan’s supercar slayer a run for its money: off-the-line acceleration.
Put the Hummer EV in the very cheekily – and patriotically – named watts to freedom (WTF) launch control mode (at which point, another Hollywood blockbuster-grade, stars-and-stripes-filled splash screen appears), plant one foot hard on the brake, and mat the accelerator. The Hummer now primes itself and all of its systems for maximum acceleration. The air suspension lowers and vibrating motors underneath the driver’s seat start pulsating to let you know that some serious doo-doo is about to go down. Release the brake when you’re ready, and the electric GMC propels itself from a standstill to 100 km/h in about three seconds.
For reference, that’s Porsche Taycan Turbo S Cross Turismo pace in a gigantic truck that weighs as much as that Taycan and a whole other BMW M3 combined. Ford’s Mustang Mach-E GT Performance Edition does the same run in 3.5 seconds. Circling back to the GT-R analogy, the Nissan GT-R of today will hit the same speed about a half-second quicker than the Hummer but race with an early-model R35 Godzilla and the win wouldn’t exactly be guaranteed.
It’s truly mind-bending stuff, and my inner speed demon quivers at what this same powertrain could do without the off-road truck pretense. Electric-only C9 Chevrolet Corvette hypercar, anyone?
Crushing Ford Mustangs at the drag strip is fun and all, but I suspect most Hummer owners will be using their trucks a lot like a regular EV for the majority of the time. Per GMC, the 800-volt, 350-kW compatible, 529-km Hummer will recoup 160 km of driving range in approximately 12 minutes plugged into a DC fast charger. Going from 20 to 80 per cent battery on that same charger is projected to take 42 minutes in ideal conditions. A Level 2 home charger is said to be able to get the truck’s massive battery – the cell itself is heavier than an entire Honda Civic – from 20 per cent to full in 16.5 hours, equating to about 26 km of range regained per hour.
One-pedal driving can be selected, which consists of two regenerative brake settings varying in strength, and can bring the Hummer to a complete stop without touching the traditional brake. This being a flagship GM product, the company’s Super Cruise hands-off, semi-autonomous highway driving tech is available. Testing this briefly on the highway, the Hummer EV was able to both keep up and deal with changes in traffic really well. It felt stable and its movements felt natural. The system’s automatic lane change function which changes lanes at the flick of the turn signal worked as advertised.
There’s an auto writing cliche in which an overachieving economy car is described as “all the car anyone needs.” The 2022 GMC Hummer EV Pickup is not that car. In fact, it may just be the complete opposite of that car because – and I will not entertain any objections to this – the Hummer EV is a car nobody needs.
But that’s sort of what makes it awesome. It looks the absolute business, has the specs and off-road chops to back it up, will thoroughly frighten your passengers turning watts into tire-squealing American freedom, and, believe it or not, is a decently accessible daily driver as well. Do I need one? Hell, no. Do I want one? You bet.
In Canada, the 2023 GMC Hummer EV Pickup Edition 1 will be available this December. Canadian pricing has yet to be announced, but converting from its already-confirmed American price, expect this tri-motor model to cost somewhere in the ballpark of $140,000. Future dual- and tri-motor models, as well as an SUV variant, will become available in subsequent model years, with the base version expected to start at around $100,000.