DETROIT — The GMC Hummer EV pickup has been a familiar sight on the roads here for nearly a year. Engineers have been driving test mules to collect data on how the vehicle performs in the real world.
Each time one passes by, you can't help but notice the gargantuan size of the thing. At 87 inches in width, the Hummer eats a lot of the typical 132-inch city traffic lane. It also weighs 9,000 pounds, has a 135-inch wheelbase and is more than 6 and a half feet high. It's a big boy, right on par with the biggest heavy-duty dual rear-wheel pickups.
Those stats had me thinking this new electric Hummer would be as balky and unwieldy as the similarly sized Hummer H1 and H2 from a decade ago.
Not so. As part of the testing for North American Car, Truck and Utility Vehicle of the Year Awards, I spent about 30 minutes driving a GMC Hummer EV pickup around Ann Arbor, Mich., last week.
The Hummer does not drive and handle like a vehicle that weighs more than four Chevrolet Sparks. The turning radius, as tight as 18 feet, is astounding. The electric steering system is pinpoint precise and has a smooth, light feel. The brakes are industrial strength, of course.
It doesn't seem possible that a 9,000-pound vehicle could be sporty, but a sharp jab of the accelerator provokes an instant, neck-snapping response from the 1,000 hp generated by its electric motors. GMC says the Hummer can reach 60 mph in as little as three seconds.
The Hummer's giant 35-inch tires make a lot of noise on the pavement. That's about the only demerit in the truck's demeanor. The interior has two big screens, comfortable seats and removable roof panels and does not appear to use anything from General Motors' parts bin. The entire grille lights up at night.
In America today, where too much is just enough when it comes to trucks, and when automakers have yet to find the ceiling on pickup prices, the GMC Hummer EV looks like a surefire hit.