Earth, Fire, wind, water….. HUMMER. The essential elements, or at least according to me. Because GMC has created something that holds so much power and is so amazing, it’s comparable with the forces of nature. Let me explain.
Now, full disclosure, I own a HUMMER EV Edition 1 Pickup and have been driving it for the last six months. So I have some experience to back up that previous statement. To say that I’ve been excited about sampling the HUMMER EV SUV variant would be putting it very mildly. After all, driving our Edition 1 Pickup has redefined my world as an automotive enthusiast.
So when GMC invited me to try out the Edition 1 SUV a few weeks ago, I immediately said yes, and promptly traveled to San Francisco and nearby NAPA valley to put this slightly different take on the HUMMER EV to the test.
While the pickup variant is large and imposing, the SUV version is more compact and approachable. Make no mistake, both share most of the same bodywork and width, but the SUV is nearly 9 inches shorter. The SUV also carries a smaller battery, bringing the total weight of the vehicle down slightly.
With that smaller battery, less weight, and shorter overall length, you won’t even notice that the SUV has only 830 horsepower- compared to the pickup’s 1,000 horsepower. Now, not every SUV and pickup will eventually come with those extreme power numbers; GMC will eventually produce lower-rated versions. However, when directly comparing the Edition 1 pickup to the Edition 1 SUV- don’t let the smaller output fool you. Both accelerate way quicker than you’d ever need to go, and both take your breath away when you smash the accelerator pedal. And to be honest, I couldn’t tell the difference.
While in California, I drove the HUMMER EV Edition 1 SUV in two configurations. One with the standard on-road biased tires and one with the extreme off-road package, wearing knobby off-road rubber. Both were romping good fun, supremely quick and 100% live up to the same amazing standard the pickup sets. Not surprisingly, when comparing the SUV to the Pickup, the biggest differences we noticed directly correlated to the SUV’s more compact size and different shape.
The HUMMER EV SUV is exceptionally smooth with on-road biased tires. The 9-inch shorter wheelbase allows for an even more agile vehicle. Considering the pickup is already one of the most maneuverable vehicles we’ve ever tested, that’s saying a lot that the SUV is even more nimble.
With the smaller wheelbase in mind, I see the SUV being the superior choice for future owners if they plan on driving in more urban environments. I also preferred the base “on-road” tire setup for everyday driving, especially on paved roads. But even if hard-packed trails and gravel roads are on your daily routine, the SUV without the off-road package will do just fine. Only if you plan on driving in snow, mud, or crawling over rocks should the extreme off-road package with its more aggressive tires and virtually locking differentials ever be necessary.
The HUMMER EV Edition 1 SUV comes with many features we love about our HUMMER EV Pickup, including crabwalk, WTF (watts to freedom) mode, and full-time four-wheel steering. While crabwalk and “watts to freedom” are mostly party tricks, four-wheel steering is a huge daily benefit. The ability to turn the rear wheels independently from the front gives the HUMMER EV SUV a turning radius on par with a Chevy Bolt. It’s incredible.
Off-road capability for the SUV is similar to the pickup. However, as with the pickup, the HUMMER EV’s Achilles heel is its overall HD truck surpassing weight. The SUV, without passengers, tips the scales at around 9,000 pounds. Only 400 less than the pickup. As we’ve found, more weight is not a great thing when it comes to off-roading, driving in snow, or traversing soft muddy locations.
So not surprisingly, with heavy rain on the days preceding our trip to NAPA, GM engineers decided it would be best to limit the off-road portion of our drive to “ride along” status only. Considering our own experiences getting our HUMMER EV Pickup stuck on seemingly innocent unpacked snow and gravel- we agreed with the choice as disappointing as it was. There was not enough time in the day to let dozens of journalists drive in the mud and pull them all out one by one. And believe me; it would have happened.
It’s also a stark reminder that despite wearing the HUMMER name, the pickup and SUV perform far better on packed gravel and pavement than when the going gets tough. Because if you get stuck in a HUMMER EV far down a beaten path, even with lots of help around, you’re going to be struggling to get out. I know this from experience. The one time we got our Edition 1 pickup dug into soft gravel, we needed a front end loader to extract it. Tred carefully in the HUMMER EV.
Inside, the HUMMER EV SUV shares the same dash, console, and seats as the pickup. The interior room between the pickup and SUV are nearly identical in the front two rows. But, unlike the pickup, the SUV has a nice little enclosed space in the back along with a power swing gate. Now, that space is not huge, and while you can fold down the second row to make things even more extensive, the bed of the pickup is going to offer much more space on a daily basis.
I liked the grey accents of the SUV’s interior. Far more than the white accents found in the Edition 1 pickup, which gets dirty the second you look at it but admittedly cleans up easily.
The SUV also has the pickup’s removable sky panels. At this event, I also had my first chance to check out the opaque roof panels, which will be an option on both the pickup and SUV going forward. While I like the transparent panels on my edition 1 pickup, if you live in an area with a lot of sun and heat- I’d highly recommend the solid versions. They are still removable- just like the transparent versions, but let a lot less light into the cabin.
Regarding charging and range, not much has changed from the pickup to the SUV but there are some differences. With four fewer battery modules, the SUV has a slightly reduced range, around 300 miles, compared to the 330 of the pickup. The GMC HUMMER EV SUV’s battery capacity is around 177kW versus the pickup’s 212kW. But our pickup exceeds its rated range almost regularly, so I wouldn’t get too stuck on the published range numbers. As they say, your mileage may vary.
The SUV, however has an updated charge controller- allowing for a few cool tricks the pickup so far can’t do. While the pickup can only charge at 11.5kW at home using level two charging, the SUV ups that amount to 19.2kW. That means you can add an impressive 30 miles of range per hour of charging at home. Our Edition 1 pickup can only manage 16 miles of range per hour using our 11.5kW home charger.
Bi-directional and vehicle-to-vehicle charging is also a trick the SUV has over the pickup. An optional accessory gives you a 3kW external power box for use anywhere you need generator-sized power levels. Unfortunately, that power only comes at 120 volts, so it won’t exactly replace a proper generator.
When DC fast charging, the SUV has a slightly lower charging rate, up to 300kW, compared to the pickups’ 350kW. But with a slightly smaller battery, the overall charge time is a wash. When DC fast charging, you can pack on 100 miles of additional range in around 15 minutes.
So, is the SUV as impressive as the pickup? Absolutely. And perhaps even more practical than the pickup as well as more fun. It’s quieter, smaller, and more maneuverable, but with overall less storage space. Considering we’d never use the bed in our HUMMER EV Pickup for dirty work, maybe having a smaller but weather-tight area, as you find in the SUV could be a better choice for the day-to-day. For sure the smaller wheelbase gives the SUV an added level of agility and “parkability” you’d never have with the pickup in a crowded city street.
No matter if you like the pickup or the SUV, the HUMMER EV lineup is some of the most exciting vehicles that GMC has ever produced. If you ever get the chance to drive or ride in one, the experience will stick with you for years to come. We can’t wait to get more time behind the wheel of the SUV soon. Especially so we can do a head-to-head comparison with our Edition 1 Pickup.