Cool Features That Made Hummers Great

Lower front view of the Hummer H1.
Tim Boyle / Getty Images

A Hummer is an unmistakable vehicle due to its military-grade strength and unique appearance. AM General started making High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicles (or Humvees) for the U.S. Army in 1983. They started building the civilian models (or Hummers) in 1992. In 1999, General Motors acquired exclusive ownership of the Hummer brand name and the marketing rights from AM General. The H2 is GM's own version of the original Humvee, and it is built on GM's Suburban frame.

Hummers are no longer made, the last Hummer H3 model was made in 2010. In 2015, AM General lost the bid to construct the High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle (HMMWV) replacement (the HMMWV is the military-grade Hummer).

Hummer Features

These are some of the more interesting features that have made Hummer vehicles stand out from the rest and not all Hummers are equipped with these features.

  • Run-flat tires: Run-flat tires have rubber spacer assemblies placed inside each wheel enabling you to drive on one or more flat tires for up to 30 miles at 20 mph.
  • The Central Tire Inflation System (CTIS): This enables the driver to inflate or deflate the front tires together, the rear tires together, or all four tires at the same time -- all from within the cabin by flipping a switch. This feature is ideal for off-roading situations. In 1994 models and later, the manufacturer added a connector at the compressor so you can inflate other items. It also has an alarm if air pressure goes below a certain psi.
  • Special lighting: Since the Hummer is over the clearance height limit, by federal law it is required to have clearance lights along the roof. There are amber marker lights on the front exterior of the cabin and red marker lights on the rear of the cabin.
  • Dual fuel tanks: Some Hummers come with two fuel tanks. Tanks vary in size depending on the model year. This is a cool feature to have when drivers want to ensure they have enough fuel on board -- and a bit extra, too. 
  • Smart bumpers: The front end and rear end overhangs were reduced to a bare minimum for the best possible approach and departure angles off-road, so you won't scrape your bumper as you approach or descend an incline.
  • Traction control: A unique traction control system that prevents wheel spin called TorqueTrac4. TT4 automatically applies the brakes to the wheel that is spinning, allowing traction to take place on the wheels that aren't spinning.
  • Driver Information Center: On some models, this feature provides up to 28 warnings for specific vehicle functions and allows two drivers to personalize their driving environment, taking advantage of separate memory settings.

Disadvantages of Driving a Hummer

In addition to all of the highly unique features, the following are some of the downsides of owning a Hummer:

  • Replacement tires for Hummers are large carry an equivalent price tag.
  • It takes some time to get used to driving a vehicle nearly seven feet wide.
  • Narrow roads, parking and trying to fit it into your garage each pose unique challenges.
  • Insurance is higher than most vehicles.
  • Gas mileage is poor (roughly 12 mpg), especially when used as a daily car.
  • Maintenance costs are high. Depending on where you live, it might be difficult to find qualified mechanics.
  • The Hummer makes for a noisier road ride than many other SUVs.
  • It can be difficult to pass other vehicles on narrow roads.
  • Despite the size of the vehicle, there's not much cargo space inside.
  • Towing capacity of approximately 7,000 lbs. in some models is not best in class for an SUV of this size.
  • Rear visibility is particularly difficult through the small back window.
  • Front visibility over the tall, boxy hood can be a challenge for drivers under 6 feet tall.
  • Can only seat six passengers comfortably (counting the optional third-row "seat" that takes up the cargo space on some models).
  • Since a Hummer requires high ground clearance, many engine and transmission components are placed inside the cab itself -- taking up to 3 feet of space in some places.
  • Due to its massive weight, it can be slow to stop in emergency braking situations.