Midsize SUV; Built in USA
  • 4-door wagon
  • longitudinal front-engine/all-wheel drive
Good condition price range: $13,800 – $31,500*

2006 Hummer H3

2006 Hummer H3

2006 Hummer H3

2006 Hummer H3

  • Cargo room
  • Control layout and materials
  • Acceleration (highway)
  • Fuel economy
  • Rear-seat comfort
  • Steering/handling

Hummer’s smallest offering is also its most sensible SUV–but that’s faint praise indeed. H3 combines comfortable accommodations and decent on-pavement dynamics with the promise of real off-road proficiency. Still, shoppers looking for more power and passenger room are better served by the similarly capable Jeep Grand Cherokee. A host of like-priced rivals are quieter and offer six- or eight-cylinder engines, while matching the H3’s assets. Even so, for adventure seekers who are comfortable with Hummer styling, the H3 is worth a look.


General Motors-owned Hummer fielded its first midsize sport-utility vehicle for 2006, ready to compete against the Ford Explorer, Jeep Grand Cherokee, and Toyota 4Runner. Seating five passengers, the H3 shared a powertrain and truck-type body-on-frame architecture with GM’s midsize Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon pickup trucks.

Compared to Hummer’s H2, the H3 was 11 inches shorter in wheelbase, 3.3 inches shorter overall, 6.5 inches wider–and 1700 pounds lighter. Sole engine was a Vortec 220-horsepower inline five-cylinder, mated to a five-speed manual transmission or a four-speed automatic. This was the first Hummer to offer a choice of transmissions. Each H3 came with all-wheel drive that included low-range gearing.

An H3 could ford 16 inches of water at 20 mph, according to Hummer; 24 inches if slowed to 5 mph. Ground clearance was 9.1 inches, and the H3 could climb 16-inch vertical steps and rocks.

An available Adventure Off-Road Suspension Package included special suspension tuning, ultra-low transfer-case gearing, and a locking rear axle. All H3s had antilock four-wheel disc brakes, tire-pressure monitor, and StabiliTrak traction/antiskid control. Available but not standard were head-protecting curtain side airbags with rollover deployment.

All H3s also had split folding rear seats, 16-inch alloy wheels, underbody shielding, and a swing-open rear cargo door with fixed glass and outside-mounted spare tire. Also standard was GM’s OnStar assistance. Options included a sunroof, leather upholstery, heated front seats, and satellite radio.

Yearly Updates

2007 H3
Output from the H3’s five-cylinder engine grew from 220 to 242 horsepower for 2007. A new H3x trim package included chrome styling add-ons, leather upholstery, and 18-inch wheels.
2008 H3
The 2008 Hummer H3 got a top-line Alpha model that brought V8 power to this midsize SUV lineup. The new Alpha sported a 300-hp 5.3-liter V8 borrowed from General Motors’ large pickups.
2009 H3
A crew-cab pickup-truck body style (called H3T) was added to the H3 roster. Otherwise, the lineup for this off-road-ready midsize SUV was largely unchanged.
2010 H3
The 2010 Hummer H3 was largely unchanged for what was its final model year.


longitudinal front-engine/all-wheel drive

In its first season, the H3’s 3.5-liter inline five-cylinder engine developed 220 horsepower. Output grew to 242 hp for 2007, as the five-cylinder was enlarged to 3.7 liters. Both engines drove either a five-speed manual transmission or a four-speed automatic. All-wheel drive included low-range gearing. A new-for-2008 Alpha model got a 300-hp 5.3-liter V8.

dohc I5
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 3.5/211
Engine HP 220
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 225
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
5-speed manual
4-speed automatic
dohc I5
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 3.7/223
Engine HP 242
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 242
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
5-speed manual
4-speed automatic
ohv V8
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 5.3/325
Engine HP 300
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 320
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
4-speed automatic


Road Test

Acceleration is more than adequate–actually good–around town. The automatic transmission kicks down promptly for more power, but highway passing or merging requires foot-to-the-floor effort. So, it ranks only as adequate.

Fuel economy is nothing to boast about, but certainly better than the Hummer H2. A test automatic-transmission H3 with the 3.5-liter engine averaged 15 mpg in mostly city driving. Hummer recommends regular-grade fuel.

Ride comfort could be better. Base suspensions absorb low-speed bumps well, but the H3 is prone to bobbing and abrupt vertical motions at high speed. Unwanted motion seems less pronounced with 18-inch tires.

Reasonably agile, the H3 suffers no excess body lean in turns. Responsive steering has a hefty feel, and the relatively tight turning circle translates to good low-speed maneuverability. Stopping power is good, too, though some testers have complained of mushy pedal action.

Tire noise is surprisingly well muffled with standard treads. Generally, there’s little wind rush, though headwinds generate considerable roar. The H3 engine is obtrusive in rapid acceleration, but otherwise muted.

Hummer’s H3 represents a notable improvement in material quality and general design over the H2. Simple, white-on-black gauges are easy to read in any lighting condition. Most controls fall readily to hand. Power-window switches are set too far back on the armrest, requiring awkward contortions to manipulate. Some testers have said cupholders interfered with best access to the automatic-transmission lever. Hummer’s navigation system does not absorb audio controls, but operates using tiny, fussy controls.

Front occupants get good head, leg, and shoulder room. Getting in demands a high step-up, but handgrips and available running boards help. Rearward visibility is compromised by thick roof pillars and narrow glass openings, and the spare tire blocks much of the rear window. High step-up into the rear and awkwardly shaped door opening complicate entry/exit. There’s plenty of rear head clearance, but legroom is limited for taller passengers. Sub par comfort is due to a low, poorly shaped seat cushion.

Cargo space is ample, but the side-opening, single-piece rear hatch is large and heavy–a disadvantage in confined quarters. A waist-high load floor makes a chore of loading heavier objects. The large rubber-floored cargo area is usefully shaped, and suffers little wheel arch intrusion. Interior storage is limited to a glovebox, tiny door pockets, and small center console.


Model Tested: Hummer H3 w/auto.

Ratings values are on a 1-10 scale, with 10 being the best. With the exception of Value, these numbers reflect how the vehicle compares against the universe of vehicles, not just against rivals in its class.


Acceleration - 4
Fuel Economy - 3
Ride Quality - 5
Steering/Handling - 4
Quietness - 5


Controls/Materials - 7
Room/Comfort Front - 6
Room/Comfort Rear - 4
Cargo Room - 7


Value - 4

Total: 49


4-door wagon
Wheelbase (in.) Length (in.) Width (in.) Height (in.) Weight (lbs)
111.9 186.7 85.5 74.5
Cargo Volume (cu/ft) Payload Capacity (cu/ft) Fuel Capacity (gal.) Seating Capacity
55.7 23.0 5
Headroom Legroom
Front Rear Front Rear
40.6 39.9 41.9 35.0
Safety Ratings

Model Tested: 2006 H3 4-door wagon


(5 is the highest rating)

Front Impact Test

Driver Injury - 5
Front Passenger Injury - 4

Side Impact Test

Driver Injury - 5
Rear Passenger Injury - 5


(A score of 100 is average. Lower is better)

Collision N/A
Injury N/A
Theft N/A

Trouble Spots

Description: The airbag warning light may not go off due to a faulty seat belt tension sensor in the right front seat belt retractor assembly. (2006-07)
Air conditioner
Description: Erroneous diagnosis of a parasitic drain may be due to the control head for the dual-zone heating and A/C system staying powered up for up to four hours. (2003-08)
Coolant leak
Description: Coolant leaks from the reservoir when vehicle driven at increased angles such as off-road requiring replacement with revised component. (2006)
Tail/brake lights
Description: The taillight housing may come loose requiring a redesigned retainer. (2006)
Water pump
Description: There was a campaign to replace the rear window washer pump. (2006)
Electrical problem
Description: The trailer wiring harness can contact the muffler and melt rendering the circuits inoperative. (2006)
Electrical problem
Description: The DVD monitors in the front seat headrests may quit working because the video feed cable comes loose requiring installation of cable clamps. (2006-08)
Electrical problem
Description: When using a portable music player (e.g. iPod) there may be noise in the car’s speakers whenever the vehicle’s power adapter is used and a ground loop isolator (from Radio Shack) is required between the device and the power outlet to prevent the noise. (2006-07)
Description: There was a campaign to replace the jack with a more durable on for some early model year vehicles. (2006)
Check-engine light
Description: The engine may run at lower power and the check engine light may illuminate if the engine was started with a weak battery. (2006-07)

Recall History

2006 H3
Description: Tire and loading information labels may contain inaccurate vehicle capacity weight.
2006 H3 w/aftermarket leather seats
Description: Testing has indicated that the aftermarket leather seat covers can cause the passenger sensing system to malfunction. If the passenger sensing system malfunctions, the front air bag on the passenger side may be disabled when it should be enabled, or enabled when it should be disabled. GM will purchase these vehicles for the full price paid for it (not exceeding the fair market value at the time it was bought), including taxes and fees, if the vehicle is returned to GM’s possession by January 31, 2007. Through January 31, 2007, GM will also pay for the removal of any aftermarket accessories that may have been installed and return them to the customer.
Description: Some of these vehicles have a condition in which the integral clip-tabs on the louver on the hood may fracture, causing the hood louver to rattle against the hood and become loose. If this indicator is unnoticed, additional clips could fracture and the hood louver could detach from the vehicle. If the vehicle is being driving when this occurs, it could strike a following vehicle and cause injury and/or property damage. Dealers will apply an adhesive to the hood louver to secure it to the hood. This service will be performed free of charge.
2009 H3T
Description: Some of these vehicles have a condition in which the fuel tank front support strap may fracture. The fuel tank could eventually separate from the vehicle, increasing the risk of a crash. Dealers will install a new design fuel tank front support strap free of charge.

Equipment Lists

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