Thinking small, Hummer innovates

  • 31-Mar-2008 07:39 EDT
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Hummer’s HX concept

While critics of Hummer may be quick to call the HX concept an exercise in green washing, such an assessment would be limiting. If anything, the HX represents a potentially wise business move on the part of General Motors, since a production version—perhaps dubbed the H4—would be a worthy competitor to the Jeep Wrangler. Even the rhetoric at the company’s NAIAS press conference last month seemed to echo the sentiment.

“This is the Hummer design language stripped down to its essence,” said David Rojas, creative designer. “The HX has an aggressive appearance and great proportions, with beauty lying in its functional austerity.” So basically, Rojas is saying that Hummer trimmed all the fat from the HX’s larger, clumsier-looking siblings—the H2 and H3—and concocted a leaner, more agile vehicle. Again something that might handle with the sportiness of say, a Wrangler, or another vehicle of that ilk. And while the similarities continue, and rightfully so considering the terrain these vehicles are intended for, Hummer has put its own twist on creating a rugged rock crawler, or weekend trail runner.

“The modular design of the roof and removable body panels mark an evolution of Hummer’s design aesthetic,” said Carl Zipfel, Director of Hummer Design. “These features demonstrate a deeper understanding of enthusiast desires when it comes to off-road driving—and the slant-back design gives the HX a look all its own.”

The HX offers more than a study in design, though. Outfitted with one of GM’s direct-injected 3.6-L V6 engines, and a six-speed automatic transmission that drives all four wheels through a full-time 4WD system, this vehicle may be ready for production sooner than some may think. Throw in the fact that the engine can run on regular unleaded or E85 ethanol and it only sweetens the deal for environmentally minded off-roaders.

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