UPDATED: Reviews after the jump!
This week’s Wednesday Walkaround is a double feature: We get first drives of the 2009 Hummer H3T pickup and the 2009 Hyundai Genesisi luxury sport sedan. Enjoy!
2009 HUMMER H3T
Here it is folks – the truck for the true adventurist (or at least those who want to look like an adventurist). New for 2009, HUMMER introduces the H3T, vehicle based on the popular H3 SUV with the addition of a 5-foot cargo box.
“With its unique size and HUMMER traits, the H3T is ideal for the customer who works hard and plays harder,” Martin Walsh, HUMMER general manager, said. “It offers the combination of truck versatility and HUMMER off-road prowess that delivers customers to the trail in style.”
We got our first crack at the H3T recently out at the Texas Motor Speedway where HUMMER brand managers were conducting dealer training. At the end of the day they invited journalists to spend a little time with the new truck in both on- and offroad driving situations.
Deep on the back 40 of the expansive racing facility was enough spare room for HUMMER to construct an offroad course to demonstrate the true capabilities of the H3T.
As with all HUMMER models, the new pickup features standard fulltime four-wheel-drive and offers front- and rear-locking differentials as well as an auto-sensing locking rear differential. This adds up to one capable vehicle, one that tackled the TMS course with little difficulty.
My first impression while driving over asphalt surface roads heading to the offroad course was how quiet and smooth the H3T was despite rolling on 32-inch all-terrain rubber.
The steering wheel and interior are isolated from the road exceptionally well, and with the windows rolled up, occupants will be surprised at the level of quiet and comfort afforded by the 2009 HUMMER H3T, rivaling some luxury SUVs we’ve driven.
H3T is built on the H3 chassis that rolls off the Shreveport GM assembly plant, along with the Chevy Colorado pickup, but other than powertrains there is little shared between the two brands.
As with the H3 SUV, the new pickup is offered with choice of 3.7-liter inline five-cylinder engine (rated at 239hp and 241 lb. ft. torque) or Alpha model 5.3-liter V-8 cranking out 300 ponies and 320 lb. ft. of torque. The I-5 can be mated to five-speed manual gearbox or four-speed automatic while the Alpha only comes equipped with the four-speed auto.
All H3T models come with 16-inch wheels (steel is standard and aluminum is optional) that can be fitted with either the 32-inch standard tires or available 33-inch rubber.
With the 32s, H3T’s ground clearance is 9.5 inches but with the upgrade tires that increases to 10.2 inches.
The standard, separate five-foot cargo box is lined and offers 33.5 cubic feet of storage. There is also a standard track system to offer a variety of tiedown and utility options and a tailgate bed extender is available as well.
As we discovered on the offroad track, H3T delivers exceptional rock crawling and climbing performance. The heart of this capability is its electronically controlled four-wheel-drive system and suspension tuning tailored for off-road performance. In addition, the H3T features standard underbody shielding, brake traction control and an optional 4.03:1 transfer case with front- and rear-locking differentials. The H3 and H3T are the first vehicles with independent front suspensions to be offered with a front-locking differential from the factory, but turning radius does not suffer because of it.
This is one of the tightest turning trucks we’ve ever tested with the front differential locked.
Among its off-road credentials, the H3T can ford 24-inch streams at a 5-mph pace, climb 16-inch vertical steps and rocks, make its way through deep sand and race easily over sandy surfaces.
Standard safety features include head curtain side-impact air bags, as well as StabiliTrak electronic stability control system, four-wheel disc brakes with ABS with traction control, dual-stage frontal air bags with passenger sensing system and tire pressure monitoring system.
HUMMER’s rearview camera system and a navigation system are available. The rearview camera system uses a camera mounted on the rear bumper to provide a view of objects directly behind the vehicle. A new picture-in-picture display provides a more integrated viewing screen for the system.
And as always, the safety and security of OnStar is standard, and its Turn-by-Turn Navigation feature is available.
Pricing for the new H3T with I-5 engine starts at $31,495 and Alpha V-8 models start at $36,760. Fuel economy figures for the I-5 are 14 mpg city and 18 mpg highway with Alpha models dropping to 13 and 16 respectively.
2009 Hyundai Genesis
Dictionary.com defines the word “Genesis” as a coming into being, an origin or a creation.
Hyundai defines Genesis as “a vehicle crafted to rival the world’s premier sport sedans.”
I define Genesis as the next big thing. Get ready because you are going to be seeing a lot of these cars on the road soon.
Hyundai has basically taken the design elements of the world’s leading luxury sport sedans and combined that with performance parameters of the top rear-wheel-drive models on the road today and developed “Genesis” – a new beginning for the Korean automaker.
Genesis is offered in two models, defined by the engine that powers each. The Genesis 4.6 features the all-new Tau V-8 powerplant – the first in North America from the automaker – and the Genesis 3.8 utilizes a next-generation Lambda 3.8-liter V-6.
Each are mated to their own six-speed automatic transmission with sport shift, the former harnessed to the same ZF sport gearbox used by Jaguar in its sport models.
Zipping around the upscale suburbs of Miami on a recent press jaunt, we learned the new Genesis is more than just another pretty face. Hyundai has done its homework and Genesis is the real deal. And it is a real Hyundai, meaning it is a great value with a great warranty backing it up.
While Genesis is competitively priced against its performance benchmarks (Chrysler 300C and Pontiac G8 GT), in pure style and content it blows away pricing comparison with its image set models that include Infiniti M, Mercedes-Benz E-Class and BMW 5-Series.
Style with substance – and a killer price.
It appears in waiting to deliver a vehicle in this category has paid off for the automaker as designers and engineers had the benefit of seeing all the competition from East to West had to offer and were able to glean (emulate, complement, illustrate, interpret – OK, copy) the very best at an incredible value.
Genesis highlights include:
• Electronic active front head restraints;
• Electronic stability control;
• Eight airbags;
• Heated front seats;
• Cooled driver’s seat;
• Adaptive Front Lighting system with HID headlamps with adaptive leveling;
• Proximity entry with electric push-button start;
• Navigation with backup camera;
• Bluetooth technology;
• iPod/USB auxiliary inputs;
• HD and XM Satellite radios (with NavTraffic);
• Lexicon surround audio system with 6-disc DVD changer;
• Automatic windshield defogger with humidity sensor;
• Rain-sensing wipers;
• Five-link front and rear suspension with damping control;
• Tau V-8 engine (375hp/333 lb. ft. torque);
• Six-speed automatic transmission with manual sport shift.
Genesis 3.8 models ride on 17-inch wheels and tires while 4.6 models get 18s and all Genesis sedans feature four-wheel disc brakes with ABS, brake assist and electronic brakeforce distribution.
Fuel economy figures for the 3.8 run 19 mpg city and 27 mpg highway while 4.6s should deliver 17 mpg city and 25 mpg highway.
Pricing for the 2009 Hyundai Genesis 3.8 (V-6) models begins at $33,000 and 4.6 (V-8) models start at 38 grand. Hyundai predicts Genesis sales to be around 80 percent V-6 models and 20 percent V-8s.
Genesis is the next big thing for Hyundai but, as the name suggests, is only the beginning of big things to come.