I spent a weekend with the new all-electric Hummer pickup truck.
The GMC Hummer EV is ridiculously large, astonishingly quick, and excessive in every way.
GM lent me a Hummer EV Edition 1, which retails for around $113,000.
General Motors' Hummer brand died in 2010 after the financial crash slammed sales of the big gas guzzler. Now, 12 years later, we have a new stock market rout, a new potential housing bubble, and, to top it all off, the Hummer is back.
Only this time, it's electric.
Although the GMC Hummer EV doesn't gulp fossil fuels or spew climate-warming gasses like its predecessors, it still very much carries on the Hummer's tradition of being stupidly large and outrageously excessive.
A lot of people criticize it for that, but that's also what makes it so darn fun.
First, the basics
GM plucked the Hummer name from the scrapyard to create a new all-electric brand under GMC in 2020. The Hummer EV pickup launched in late 2021, and an SUV is on the way for 2023.
Over time, the pickup lineup will expand to include several trucks at various price points, including an $80,000 base model. GMC is starting out with the $113,000 Edition 1, a fully loaded truck with 1,000 horsepower, three electric motors, and a long list of quirky features.
The Hummer rivals two other electric pickups: Ford's F-150 Lightning and Rivian's R1T. It also competes with glitzy SUVs like the Mercedes-Benz G-Wagen, because although the Hummer has a bed and major off-road chops, odds are most buyers won't use it that way.
What stands out: An over-the-top truck packed with cool features
Nothing about the Hummer EV is subtle. It smacks you right in the face with its brawny looks and flashy interior. It's packed with outlandish features and all amped up on Monster energy drink, ready to show you what it can do.
The Hummer EV's glass roof is removable, because why not? It comes off surprisingly easily using latches that lock four glass panels into place. They all stow away nice and snug in the Hummer's spacious front trunk. Sans roof panels, the frunk offers 11.3 cubic feet of cargo room, rivaling the trunks of some small cars.
Inside, the Hummer gets two big screens, gold-accented air vents the size of your head, and designs inspired by the Moon's surface throughout as a nod to GM's work on the Apollo 15 lunar rover. There's more than enough headroom and legroom for passengers of most shapes and sizes, plus a sprawling central cubby that's big enough to fit a Thanksgiving turkey. (We've all been there.)
Cycle through the Hummer's drive modes and you'll see detailed, video game-like animations of the pickup zooming across different terrains. In Off-Road mode, the truck scrambles across the sands of Mars. In Tow/Haul, it's shown pulling a rocket. The Hummer brings a bit of flair to the mundane parts of driving.
Driving the Hummer
When switched into the tongue-in-cheek "Watts to Freedom" (WTF) mode, the Hummer EV claims to hit 60 mph as quickly as a supercar - in an astonishing three seconds.
Even in the more subdued Normal setting, which is what I stuck to, the Hummer is a 9,000-pound rocket ship. Stomping the throttle sends the entire truck rearing backward like a powerboat as it gathers speed. With the top down and the gargantuan truck bobbing all over the place, I couldn't help but giggle at the absurdity of it all.
Equipped with a healthy 329 miles of Environmental Protection Agency-estimated range, the Hummer does a great job of soothing range anxiety. It rides comfortably and comes with Super Cruise, GM's excellent hands-free driving feature that relieves some of the monotony of longer highway stints.
One thing I couldn't get used to was just how freakin' big the thing is. It's ridiculously wide and tall and its boxy proportions impede visibility in most directions. I drove with the looming fear that I'd misjudge how close I was to something - or someone - and felt the urge to constantly apologize to other motorists for the amount of space I occupied.
However, maneuvering in tight spaces was surprisingly painless thanks to the Hummer's rear-wheel steering. At low speeds, the truck's back wheels swivel the opposite direction as the front ones, cutting its turning circle.
That system also enables the Hummer's buzziest feature: Crab Walk. It points the rear wheels in the same orientation as the front ones, letting you drive diagonally in off-pavement settings. Featuring tons of ground clearance, underbody armor, and lots of torque, the EV is supposed to be incredibly capable off-road, but I didn't get to test that.
What falls short: New Hummer, same problems
The Hummer EV is wildly inefficient compared to its competitors, which is both unfortunate and on brand. It gets 47 miles per gallon of gasoline equivalent (MPGe), according to the EPA. The F-150 Lightning gets up to 70 MPGe, while a highly efficient EV like the Tesla Model 3 earns 132.
Another concerning bit about the Hummer: Its size. The thought that any sufficiently rich bozo can go buy a truck that weighs three Honda Civics and accelerates like a Lamborghini is frankly worrisome given the deadly epidemic of car crashes in this country.
But then again, if people are always going to want big trucks, they might as well be powered sustainably.
Our impressions: American excess, electrified
I didn't expect to enjoy the Hummer EV nearly as much as I did. An extravagant truck that's hard to see out of and bigger than anyone needs just isn't my personal cup of tea.
But the Hummer's pointlessness is charming, and its capabilities are downright impressive. It's so perfectly optimized to put a smile on your face that you can't help but give in.