More people stopped me to talk about the 2023 GMC Hummer EV than any other car I’ve driven, reviewed, or owned. For better or worse, that is; either side has a strong opinion, and they’ll let you know about it. I’ll be honest, though; my week with the Hummer EV didn’t go as planned. Life derailed an adventure as life sometimes does, my time behind the wheel of the 9,100-pound, 1,000-horsepower beast thus constrained to about 60 miles of fun rather than the 250 I intended to put on it. So while I can’t deliver a conclusion on how the electric monster is to road trip, I can shed some light as to whether it’s a well-executed super-truck that can serve as a civilized daily driver or just a modern high-roller’s novelty item.
The outside of the GMC Hummer EV echoes the design of its predecessors while nailing the motif of looking futuristic and supremely macho. It’s a bonafide success. The “easter eggs” are a bit tacky, though the person that buys the Hummer EV will likely love them. And while the truck is unquestionably massive, it hides its weight quite well on a visual level. Funny how 35-inch tires look appropriate, isn’t it?
Big blocky shapes bring the bro-forward style to the cabin. It works in some places and doesn’t in others. Example: The big, horizontally-laid rectangular screen maximizes functionality. Meanwhile, there are crevices that go into the automotive Bermuda Triangle, hiding nooks and crannies that’ll take Larry Kosilla to clean. Frustratingly, much of the switchgear is plucked straight from the Silverado or Sierra parts bin, namely the shifter, buttons, and so on. Everything works, though it’s a bit disappointing in a vehicle stickering at $110,285. Bespoke is unrealistic, but the plastic feels below the price.
From the driver’s seat, the worst offender is visibility. As a consequence of the wild exterior, the low windshield brow is reminiscent of the Dodge Viper. That’s not a compliment. You have to duck your head to see a stoplight, even when the front tires are well behind the white line. And those side mirrors are close to useless. Trying to park this thing in a tight lot is a nightmare. It’s worse at night when the upright glass reflects every light in sight.
Drives like nothing else
The Hummer EV provides as commanding a view of the road as you’d expect it to be. You sit up high, tower over almost everything else, and the ~87” width makes cars around you duck out of the way in fear. Power is immediate, as it should be; the electric motors and 750 kW battery make 1,000 horsepower. Even against the truck’s ~9,100 pounds, it accelerates with fury.
The headline of the EV fun is “WTF” mode. That’s for “Watts to Freedom,” not the other “WTF.” It’s activated by pressing the traction control button twice. The truck then pre-conditions the battery, lowers the suspension, and plays pseudo-spaceship noises through the mediocre Bose stereo. With the right traction, 0-60 MPH can disappear in three seconds flat. Unsuspecting supercar drivers won’t know what hit them.
In normal driving, the EV power suits the Hummer well, even despite compliance drawbacks. The ride quality is so-so, though I’d wager getting this much weight perched atop 35” E-rated mud terrain tires to ride with any sort of grace is no easy feat. The problem is the removable “Infinity Roof” panels creak like crazy at every bounce of the body. So while the Hummer EV rides reasonably well, the panels betray it. Given this was a ~5,000-mile pre-production press vehicle, that’s likely had a rough life thus far. Still, the spot where the windshield meets the roof let in so much air on the highway that, in a light breeze, the noise was reminiscent of highway cruising in a Jeep Wrangler.
All that said, the Hummer is fairly tame. The low-speed rear steer helps, as it makes for a remarkably tight turning radius. The big MTs chirp like crazy when getting close to full lock on a dry surface, though that’s a small price to pay for the added maneuverability. Regarding range, I used about 80 miles of battery life over my 60-ish miles of driving. It was cold, and I played with WTF mode, but don’t expect this to be the EV martyr: The EPA rates it at 47 MPGe. For reference, the Kia EV6 is rated at 117 MPGe, the Ford F-150 Lightning at 63-78 MPGe, and the Rivian R1T at 70 MPGe. Big difference.
All about the fun
GM announced the Hummer with a claim that it would make 11,500 lb-ft of torque. This was, unsurprisingly, misleading. But GM also said it would have a crabwalk feature, an incredibly high Extract mode for its air suspension, unprecedented roof modularity for a pickup, and so on. At least they delivered on these.
About the less exciting things. The rear window rolls down, like in a Toyota. Better, the upcoming Silverado EV that the Hummer EV shares a platform with can drop its midgate like the long-departed Chevrolet Avalanche. Then there’s the power tonneau cover, which is helpful, yet the tailgate isn’t powered. And up front, the frunk does open and close itself, but it needed help getting fully sealed twice. Pre-pro vehicle, yes. Long-term reliability? Not sure.
WTF and WTF some more
Really, the 2023 GMC Hummer EV is a rolling billboard for its appropriately-named race-launch mode. It’s exactly the show-stopper that GM wanted to build, and on that front, it’s a huge success. The curb presence, novelties, and size alone make for a vehicle unlike anything else on sale today. That it’s an EV is great for the push into an electrified future, even if it is incredibly inefficient relative to other EVs. It’s hard to look at individual failures and still consider the GMC Hummer EV as one in and of itself, even if those issues do make for a troubling vehicle to live with. At the end of the day, the Hummer EV is exactly the halo super truck everyone expected it to be. And it feels like a genuine Hummer with some of that “But why?” feel baked in, just like it was with the Hummer EV’s street-going predecessors.