Our Motors editor and overland guru Bryon Dorr spent 2 days in Phoenix, Ariz., driving the GMC Hummer EV on and off road. This electric ‘supertruck’ truly impressed in some ways — and flopped in a few as well.
Somehow, the all-star team at GMC was able to go from napkin sketch to market of the Hummer EV truck in only 2 years. That’s roughly half the normal product development cycle of most vehicles.
This self-proclaimed supertruck sounds insane on paper: 1,000 horsepower, 11,500 pound-feet of torque, 0-60 mph in 3 seconds, a 329-mile range, four-wheel steering, 35-inch tires, etc.
So we were super excited to finally get behind the wheel.
GMC invited us to experience all that the Hummer EV First Edition has to offer through two off-road driving courses. Of course, we also blew up a small drag strip and drove on road in the city and on the highway, as well as a few hours of proper Arizona desert off-road terrain.
We put in the time, crawled all over and under the truck, pushed all the buttons, and spoke with engineers and designers to find out the important stuff about this all-new truck.
GMC Hummer EV Edition 1 Truck Review
If you want a bunch of specs on the Hummer EV, just Google it. If you want the skinny on what this truck is really all about, then read on, as we’ve got the details.
In short: The GMC Hummer EV truck is a lifestyle vehicle that exemplifies the latest in technology and proves an electric vehicle can be better than an internal combustion-engine vehicle in nearly every way.
It’s also way too heavy and lacking in driver ergonomics. Also, the vehicle has a barely usable truck bed and way too many cheap-feeling interior materials for a truck that costs north of $100,000.
- Extremely smooth adaptive suspension on all terrain
- 4-wheel steering is much more than a party trick
- Impressive brakes
- Open-air off-road adventures with removable Infinity Roof panels
- All the tech and modern creature comforts
- Cheap-feeling interior materials
- Poor driver ergonomics
- Annoying alarms and sounds, especially when off-roading
- Tiny truck bed that won’t accommodate a camper
Off-Roading in the Hummer EV Truck
A three-motor (two at back and one up front) AWD system propels this 9,243-pound American electric pickup. As you might expect of a vehicle with the Hummer name, this truck is big.
It’s 86.7 inches wide and 135.6 inches long. When off road, expect that weight and size to cause some issues, like nearly guaranteed pinstriping when there’s any vegetation near the trail.
While a super-tall hood and short cockpit make it crazy difficult to see the ground around the truck, GMC provides a host of impressive camera angles — 18 to be exact.
The trail cameras under the truck even stay on at any speed when in Terrain or Off-Road driving modes, which isn’t that common. (For example, the trail camera on the Mazda CX-50 turns off when the wheel speed exceeds 10 mph.)
Four-wheel steering also greatly helps to make this truck feel smaller than it is. And it allows the truck to tackle technical off-road obstacles much easier than you’d expect.
The rear wheels can turn up to 10 degrees, which is way more effective than you might think.
In Terrain Mode, the rear steering is the most aggressive, and you quickly notice it while on the trail. It helps make the truck feel maneuverable but also takes a bit of getting used to in order to keep the truck on the exact path you want it to travel.
Terrain Mode is specifically for slower speed, more technical terrain, and drags the friction brakes aggressively when below 8 mph, for a near one-foot driving experience.
Think of this mode as an auto left-foot-braking mode for smooth control over technical terrain. Also, note that the truck allows you to effectively left-foot brake in any mode. I found that this helped smooth out my off-road driving in this truck quite a bit, as it’s how I’m used to driving off-road vehicles.
Off-Road Mode is for higher-speed, off-pavement adventures. This truck has no issues going quickly over easy-to-moderate terrain.
The adaptive dampers and adjustable ride height airbag system are impressive in all conditions. In fact, the adaptive suspension is so good, it was one of my very favorite features, and probably the most overlooked supertruck feature on the GMC Hummer EV.
Do note that the truck currently adjusts to only three height settings. A super-tall “Extract” ride height setting is shown in the vehicle. But this will be accessible only with an over-the-air update (OTA), coming later.
The Hummer EV truck offers familiar interfaces, but some virtual systems, to better tackle off-road terrain. For example, there’s an “L” drive mode. But instead of an actual two-speed transfer case with low range, it offers simulated low gearing by heavily dragging the friction brakes.
Selectable lockers are similar. The truck has an e-locker on the front axle and a selectable rear “locker” that is virtual — by way of keeping the rear axles, one from each of the rear motors, spinning at the same speed.
While the menus in the infotainment system are plentiful and pretty complicated, they show tons of cool data and are easier than you’d expect to navigate. You get a ton of information, like drift angle, a G-meter, torque being sent to each wheel, axle torque, pitch and roll, and a really cool suspension articulation graphic.
Also, this electric truck offers a very respectable 32-inch water-fording depth. This just tells you how waterproof and dustproof all the systems are on this truck.
The battery pack is so well sealed that it uses a waterproof-breathable membrane, similar to GORE-TEX, as a pressure valve to let air escape but keep water out.
On Road in the Hummer EV Truck
While in either of the off-pavement driving modes, the truck is basically a one-pedal-drive situation, as there’s noticeable friction braking.
There’s a separate One Pedal Driving feature that you can activate in any mode, which is true one-pedal driving. With it, the truck will slow and stop relatively quickly if you’re not actively on the accelerator pedal. I found this mode to be a bit twitchy on road, but it smoothed out as I got used to how it works.
The thing I just can’t explain — the thing you won’t understand until you try the vehicle for yourself — is the near-instantaneous rapid momentum this truck gathers when traveling at any speed. I felt it passing on the highway and even more so when using launch control, or what GMC has dubbed WTF (Watts To Freedom) mode.
To access 0-60 mph in about 3 seconds, you just need to double-tap the traction control piano key on the dash. A theatrical video with exciting electronic sounds will play. The truck will crouch down as the air suspension lowers all the way, and the batteries and inverter are actively cooled to condition them for optimal power output.
As you build up brake pressure with your left foot, the seat cushion starts to rumble. Once you have enough brake pressure and drop the skinny pedal to the floor, the system lets you know it’s ready for action.
Release the brake, and the truck vaults forward as if it were shot out of a cannon. Not only is WTF mode awesome to experience, but you’ll also want to do it over and over again. And the Hummer EV is ready to do just that.
It stays in WTF Mode even after the launch, meaning it’s instantly ready to do it all over again. And it even learns and adapts to the road surface over multiple launches for optimal performance. Tap the traction control button once to turn off the system.
While the big power of the three-motor system is impressive on road, the truck will sadly not let you drift very well on hard surfaces. The AWD and four-wheel steering just won’t let you get to fun slide angles. I was told it slides around pretty well on softer surfaces, however.
‘Super Cruise,’ Navigation
GM’s Super Cruise is a really impressive system, but it only works on certain sections of major roads and highways and still has some bugs. The auto lane-change feature is impressive, but once the lane was changed, the system shut off on multiple occasions in our testing.
We also found that the amount of throttle input to keep the vehicle rolling smoothly when the system shuts down was excessive, as the shutoff is abrupt and slows the car quickly with a lot of brake drag.
And we received word that the Hummer EV Edition 1 will offer Trailering Super Cruise with an OTA update later this year.
The infotainment system and Bose stereo are also quite impressive. We particularly loved the integration of Google Maps as the go-to navigation option. It just works, and it’s great to not have to activate Apple CarPlay or Android Auto with your phone to use it.
Hummer EV Party Tricks
Of course, the party trick that everyone likes to talk about is Crab Walk Mode. While fun, it has very little real application and no practical use case.
In fact, between an engineer and me, we came to only one that made sense: being able to get back onto a road when a soft road/trail surface shoulder sucks your tires off the road.
Activate Crab Walk by holding the four-wheel-steering button on the steering wheel. As with WTF Mode, you get some theatrics with on-screen graphics and cool sounds. Then, the front underbody camera displays on the infotainment screen.
The rear tires can turn up to 10 degrees in the same direction as you point the front tires. Deactivate the system with a single four-wheel-steering button press.
Roof, Tailgate, Windows
You also have to love that this massive truck offers removable infinity roof panels. Open-air off-roading is all kinds of good fun!
The roof panels all stow into the frunk, which GMC calls the E-Trunk on the Hummer EV, in bags that come with the truck.
Our tester was equipped with the optional “pizza box” Infinity Top cases for the frunk, which made stowing and re-installing the tops even easier.
At the back of the truck, the GMC MultiPro tailgate is like an impressive transformer and is a really useful feature. It can also be optioned with an optional Bluetooth Kicker sound system.
The rear window of the Hummer EV truck is fully retractable like you’d find on an old Chevy Avalanche or a Toyota Tundra.
‘Air Down’ Tires
A cool off-road feature in the infotainment menus is Air Down Mode. This system allows you to set your desired tire pressure on the screen, and the truck tells you with a honk when the tire pressure at each corner of the truck has reached the desired setting.
Sure, a handheld tire gauge will do basically the same thing. But the built-in system is super convenient and should save you a bit of time when airing down for off-road adventures.
While the 5-foot truck bed is pretty small and not great at doing truck things, it does have some cool GMC tricks up its sleeve. And, sadly, there is a label inside the glove box that states that the Hummer EV can’t be used with a slide-in truck camper.
Roof Rack, Easter Eggs
GMC did think ahead and built this lifestyle vehicle with optional factory roof racks. They even work with the roof panels removed.
Imagine heading down to the river for a kayak or SUP, with the top off, and the boats/boards strapped to the roof. It might leave you with some odd tan lines, but it would be a ton of fun.
The last party trick the Hummer EV truck has to offer is the plethora of fun Easter eggs. Yes, this is a concept pioneered by Jeep and continued by Bronco, but it’s still fun. This is especially so if you’re into space, as the Hummer EV is NASA- and moon-themed.
So not only do you have the front silhouette of the truck Easter eggs everywhere, but you also have moon boot prints and moon-themed graphics, like a topo map of the Sea of Tranquility, throughout.
What We Don’t Like: Hummer EV Drawbacks
While this supertruck is packed with impressive, useful, and novel features, it also misses the mark in a few areas. The most noticeable to me is the cheap-feeling plastics and material choices on the interior.
While they look good, they feel and sound cheap when you touch them, especially for a $100,000-plus vehicle.
It’s obvious that you’re getting EV tech, not a luxury interior, with this vehicle.
Wind & Sun
We also found that the interior of the Hummer EV pickup is overall quieter than we anticipated, especially with it having removable roof panels made of thin plastic.
There’s a bit of wind noise, though, and multiple trucks on the media drive event experienced wind whistles from different areas of the roof at different speeds. But none were as bad as the pre-recall Ford Bronco Hardtop whistles.
The Edition 1 trucks are also only available with the smoked, but transparent, roof panels. These are great at making the truck feel more open, but they also let midday overhead sun glare into the cabin.
Driver ergonomics weren’t at the forefront of engineering thought on the Hummer EV. The first thing you’ll notice is that the floor is super high (because of the battery pack), which offers about the same poor-quality driver seating position as a Toyota Tacoma, albeit with plenty of legroom.
The steering wheel also doesn’t telescope out far enough for taller drivers. The driver’s seat has OK adjustability, a firm bottom cushion, and a hard plastic Hummer EV logo and material stitching seam that runs right across your shoulder blades, which proved annoying.
While we were impressed overall with the infotainment system, it does have big load delays between screens and on startup. The HVAC controls are also not actually touchscreen, and the piano keys that control the system aren’t lit in any way, making it a bit hard to control at night.
The windows offer one-touch down but not one-touch up functionality — an odd choice for such an advanced modern vehicle.
Sights & Sounds
When the truck is on and the diver’s door is open, there’s an instant beep — even when parked. While a smart safety thing for most situations, it’s super annoying for off-road situations and when getting in and out of the truck often.
The Hummer EV truck has auto park assist. Yes, it will basically parallel park itself. While we didn’t get a chance to try that feature, we did notice that when the system is active, the default setting vibrates the driver’s seat every time you get near a bush or big rock when off road. Luckily, the driver can disable the system with one touch of a piano key.
There is, of course, a low-speed outside pedestrian safety noise on this EV. While an important feature, it’s annoying when off-roading at slow speeds. We imagine it probably won’t help to try to sneak up on wildlife, either, something that would otherwise be possible with this quiet EV.
While visibility, in general, isn’t great in the Hummer EV pickup, the C-pillar blind spot, in particular, is pretty horrible. You for sure need to lean on the safety systems like the blind-spot warning system in the mirrors when changing lanes.
When off-roading, the camera systems are pretty much required to avoid hitting things unless you have a really good spotter.
While we didn’t get a chance to tow anything, the Hummer EV truck has 7,500 pounds of towing capability and a 1,307-pound max payload. These aren’t very impressive figures for such a big truck.
Hummer EV Pricing & Options
The GMC Hummer EV Edition 1, in black-and-white inside and out only, has been sold out for some time now. It just began delivering to customers. With an MSRP of about $110,000, these are currently reselling on online auction sites for an astounding $300,000-plus.
It came fully loaded and only had a few options, mostly three appearance packages: Red, Tech Bronze, and Black.
While GMC hasn’t revealed the next available version of the Hummer EV truck, we do know that it will be available with a few fewer features and come in at a slightly lower price point. We also know that the automaker will start delivering the Hummer EV SUV to customers in early 2023.
GMC is still taking reservations on both, with over 66,000 made to date. The company told us that it has a less than 5% cancel rate, which makes sense when you figure you can flip it for a massive profit.
It also said that reservations are split about 50-50 between truck and SUV, 70% of reservation-holders are new to EVs, and that CA/FL/TX make up about 30% of reservation-holders.
Hummer EV Documentary
You can also now watch how this truck came to be in the “Revolution: GMC Hummer EV” documentary. It’s worth a watch if you want a behind-the-scenes look at the design, engineering, and manufacturing of this impressive electric pickup.