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2023 GMC Hummer EV pickup review: Breaking all the rules

With 1,000 horsepower, a manufacturer-estimated 329 miles of range and more bells and whistles than a casino full of slot machines, the GMC Hummer EV Pickup can take you just about anywhere, from the gnarliest mountain-top trails to 350-kilowatt DC fast chargers, from cross-country road trips – hands-free, courtesy of Super Cruise – to stoplight drag races on a Saturday night.

Really, there’s not much this big rig can’t do, including break all the rules, probably by driving over them and crushing them into dust since this Hummer weighs some 9,243 pounds. Because of its size, capability and inefficiency, this truck defies every electric vehicle convention, so, in a weird way, it’s kind of like an anti-EV despite being battery powered.

Ready for battle

Above all else, off-roading is the Hummer pickup’s forte, not driving to and from the office, well, unless your workplace is at the end of an abandoned logging road. Myriad features make this truck an absolute beast out on the trail. For starters, it rolls rugged 35-inch Goodyear mud-terrain tires, though the body has enough room to accommodate massive 37s. Those tires allow the Hummer to climb 18-inch verticals and drive through up to 2 feet of water. That’s not quite as much as a properly equipped Jeep Wrangler can muster – a they can ford up to 33.6 inches of H2O– but 24 inches is still nothing to scoff at.

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This is one intimidating truck. Photo credit: EV Pulse / Craig Cole

If you do end up getting stuck, there’s a pair of gargantuan recovery hooks at each end of the vehicle. These burly D-rings should be able to take the massive loads associated with yanking a near-5-ton truck out of belly-deep mud.

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Helping you steer clear of obstacles that would necessitate using those recovery hooks, the Hummer can be fitted with an UltraVision camera system that provides 18 (!) driver-selectable views, including underneath the vehicle looking forward and back. This allows you to steer clear of boulders, stumps and other obstacles. Keeping hurdles like those away from the underbody is an available air suspension system that gets you just shy of 16 inches of ground clearance in its highest setting, a staggering amount. The suspension travel is nearly as impressive at 13 inches front and rear.

Even if it takes some getting used to, four-wheel steering enhances maneuverability at low speeds, making the turning circle smaller than a Toyota Camry’s. This amenity also aids stability on the highway, where the truck feels absolutely rock solid. Aside from that, four-wheel steering also enables a feature called Crab Walk, which allows you drive diagonally. This can help you avoid obstacles out on the trail, but it’s probably more useful for impressing your friends.

Innovative features

Aside from its trail-dominating hardware, this truck has plenty of other innovative features including an 11.3-cubic-foot front trunk. This is a little smaller than the F-150 Lightning’s Mega Power Frunk, but it’s still a great feature to have, plus this space is commodious enough to house the Hummer’s removable Infinity Roof panels. Just pull a couple levers and these plexiglass sections easily pop off, so you can enjoy an open-air drive whether you’re trundling around town or miles away from cell service out in the wilderness.

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GMC’s MultiPro Tailgate is absolutely ingenious. Photo credit: EV Pulse / Craig Cole

At the opposite end of this vehicle is a 5-foot-long cargo box, which you access through GMC’s versatile MultiPro Tailgate. This ingenious features offers six different postures that make it far easier to access the bed or haul cargo.

Power to the people

To deliver a respectable amount of driving range in such a heavy vehicle, the Hummer EV Pickup needs a large battery, and its Ultium pack is colossal, clocking in at 212 kilowatt-hours. If you’re wondering, that’s enough capacity to build three Chevy Bolt hatchbacks and probably power a small city for several weeks.

Inside that energy reservoir, the cell chemistry uses 70% less cobalt than previous designs, which is great news because this material is tough to get. There’s also wireless battery management that helps maintain balance in the cell groups for better performance and longevity.

Providing the ability to DC fast charge at a thundering 350 kW, the Hummer EV’s battery can switch between 400 and 800 volts. Hooked to an appropriate power source, the truck can absorb 100 miles of range in just 10 minutes.

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According to GMC, the Hummer EV Pickup should be able to go 329 miles between charges, an impressive figure for something this gargantuan. Unfortunately, there are no official EPA estimates for range or efficiency because this truck’s Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) exceeds 10,000 pounds, which should make it a Class 3, medium-duty vehicle.

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The reborn Hummer is huge. Photo credit: EV Pulse / Craig Cole

Driven normally, we’ve been seeing around 1.5 miles per kWh. For reference, in mixed city and highway driving, we got about 2.4 miles per kWh while testing the Ford F-150 Lighting, which weighs around 2,700 pounds less, though that was also during the warmer summer months, and temperatures make a huge difference.

An interesting interior with plenty of tech

The Hummer EV Pickup’s cabin is blockier than a Soviet apartment building, with no shortage of straight lines or hard edges. There are a few too many different materials, colors and textures for my taste, but everything is solidly built and mostly feels nice. When you grab the seat belt, however, the B-pillar trim sounds hollow and scratchy. Also, the sun visors extend, which is normally great for taller folks, but they don’t slide far enough to run the width of the side windows, so what’s the point?

As for circuits and such, ahead of the driver is a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster that is clear, mostly easy to read and simple to cycle through using the steering wheel-mounted controls. Perched on the dashboard is a 13.4-inch touch screen. This display looks great – crisp and sharp – though the infotainment system is merely OK, far from the speediest system I’ve ever used. No, it doesn’t really stutter or lag, the system just moseys along at its own pace. In particular, changing the driving mode is annoyingly slow and you can’t cycle through them using the touch screen, which is really weird, since there are some lovely animations that pop up.

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The infotainment system works well enough, though it could be speedier. Photo credit: EV Pulse / Craig Cole

The Hummer’s front chairs are comfortable enough and you get acres of space in the commodious backseat. The split lower cushion in the rear also flips up to enhance cargo-hauling versatility and there are hidden storage compartments in the backrest that are perfect for smuggling.

3… 2… 1… BLASTOFF!

Hummer EV Pickups like this limited-production Edition 1 model feature three electric motors – one up front and two at the back. Together, this triad delivers an estimated 1,000 horsepower and around 1,200 pound-feet of torque, staggering figures. And you need a lot of oomph to move 9,200-plus pounds, tow up to 7,500 and haul a maximum of 1,300 pounds. Those motors also get you torque vectoring at the rear and locking differentials at both axles for added traction in situations where those Goodyears aren’t quite up to snuff.

With four-figures of horsepower and torque, you’re never wanting for giddy-up. This Hummer accelerates with laughable ease at any speed and up the steepest of hills. But if you really want to impress your friends, just double-tap the traction control button. Doing so engages the theatrical “Watts to Freedom” acceleration mode, (yes, that stands for WTF) which gets the battery ready for blastoff, lowers the suspension, plays a special sound effect through the speakers and vibrates the driver’s seat to build anticipation.

When all systems are go, WTF can get you from 0 to 60 in the 3 second range. Off the line, this Hummer hits with such force it can take your breath away. Frankly, I’m surprised the CV joints can handle that monumental hit of torque.

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There’s a good amount of space in the Hummer’s front trunk. Photo credit: EV Pulse / Craig Cole

In normal driving, four-wheel steering makes this Hummer feels shockingly maneuverable at low speeds, though it is intimidating to park because of its width and length. Despite the rough-and-tumble nature, this truck’s ride is amazingly smooth, mostly free of harshness or jolts. Body control is also good, though you do not want to hustle this truck through corners. While changing directions, the Hummer feels every bit as monstrously large as it is.

Aside from those ponderous dimensions, my biggest complaint about this vehicle is the wind and tire noise, which is not surprising. This truck probably has the aerodynamics of a fully deployed parachute and those mud-terrain rubbers pump out some serious decibels at higher speeds.

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Helping recuperate energy that would normally be wasted, you can turn on a surprisingly aggressive one-pedal driving mode. There’s also a handy Regen-on-Demand paddle you can pull, which does basically the same thing if you don’t feel like digging through the infotainment system.

Beyond all that, you can get this truck with Enhanced Super Cruise, GM’s excellent hands-free driving aid that supports automatic lane changes and allows you to tow. If you’ve seen me review this technology in the past, you know I love Super Cruise. It’s the best driving aid in the business: confidence inspiring, easy to use and it works on some 200,000 miles of approved highway in the U.S. and Canada.

The rules have been broken

The Edition 1 GMC Hummer EV Pickup tested here checks out for $110,295 including $1,595 in destination fees. That’s certainly a lot of money, but at least you also get a lot of vehicle. This truck has 1,000 horsepower, includes four-wheel steering, there’s an adjustable air suspension system, Super Cruise is amazing and those removable roof panels are pretty cool, too.

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The GMC Hummer EV Pickup is unlike any other electric vehicle out there. Photo credit: EV Pulse / Craig Cole

Personally, this is not a vehicle I would ever want to own, and I don’t really understand the appeal of driving something this big and brash, but the Hummer EV Pickup is nonetheless a damn impressive piece of engineering. It’s also an extreme example of what electric vehicles can do – they don’t all have to be low-slung, ultra-efficient, wind-tunnel optimized passenger cars. GMC is basically recalibrating expectations of what an EV can be, and that is probably this truck’s biggest accomplishment.

Written by Craig Cole

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