The 3.5-in. rear-vision camera pops out from the back of the rearview mirror.


While not as exotic as the H1, it is more stylish than its bigger brother.

A fully welded ladder-type frame featuring a modular three-piece design with a number of hydroformed components gives the H2 outstanding strength, stiffness, and dimensional accuracy. When taken off-road, few others can equal the H2's prowess, thanks to 10 in. of ground clearance, 42° approach and 38° departure angles, ample wheel travel, and a protected underbody.

On the downside, the H2's size (203.5-in. long × 82.1-in. wide) and weight (6,400 lb) may not appeal to the everyday driver due to low gas mileage (around 10 mpg), inaccessibility to low-clearance parking garages, and less cargo room than its competitors.

Under the hood, the H2's 6.0-liter V8 puts out 325 hp at 5,200 rpm and 365 lb-ft of torque at 4,000 rpm through a four-speed automatic transmission. I think a bigger engine would do it justice, as the H2 is slow to reach highway speed.

A standard, full-time dual-range transfer case directs power to the wheels. Also standard is a driver-selectable rear-axle locking differential and drive-by-wire throttle that changes sensitivity in low gear.

Despite its outward appearance, passengers are pampered with cushy, well-padded heated seats, dual-zone automatic climate control, and a Bose audio system with CD and cassette players.

Our test vehicle was equipped with a rear-entertainment system consisting of two DVD players, one on the back of each front-seat headrest. This made for a very pleasant 2-hr trip I took with three friends to southern Ohio. All controls and instrumentation are easy to read and within reach.

On the safety front, the H2 has all the standard air bags and lap/shoulder belts, as well as OnStar.

Our $53,175 test vehicle was equipped with the optional luxury package ($4,865), rear DVD entertainment system ($2,095), navigation radio ($1,720), a rear-vision system with a 3.5-in. full-color display mounted in the rearview mirror ($1,350), power sunroof ($1,550), trailering package ($150), and a $900 destination fee. Add it all up and you can drive out the door (or through it) for $65,340.

Oh yeah, while you're at it, you'd better save some money for the 32-gallon gas tank.