The HX concept may carry the familiar Hummer moniker, but with an Ethanol-fed 3.6-litre V6 and moon-buggy styling it shows the way forward for the unique GM brand.
HX, which debuted at the 2008 North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in Detroit, is smaller than the current H2 and H3 models, measuring an entire half a metre less than the H3 in length.
Many panels - including the roof - are easily removable to ensure optimal off-road performance. Easily removable pins in the exposed hinges allow the doors to be removed quickly - an appreciated feature for serious off-roaders - whilst the fender can be removed too if a particularly severe off-rail trial is to be negotiated.
Overall design language is entirely functional while retaining a familiar feel with a distinctive Hummer grille featuring chrome slats and the typically vertical front windscreen. The roofline slopes aggressively down from behind the doors, rendering a fastback appearance.
What? No radio?
Interiors design hinges primarily on an aeronautical theme, with an exposed, extruded aluminum cross-vehicle beam serving as its foundation. On the beam, the instrument cluster and other vital controls are mounted; and it also features a unique, removal top cover that provides significant storage capability.
The centre console has no conventional radio in the HX, only integrated speakers. Passengers plug in an iPod, or similar device, to a USB connector to play music in the HX, illustrating the contemporary design theme of the HX.
Echoing the serious off-road motive of the HX though, is a rubberized floor and ballistic nylon-material covering the instrument panel and other interior components. reinforcing the functional aesthetic whilst allowing hose-off practically.
This strong emphasis on off-road utility extends to the instrumentation too, with the center gauge pod, housing a speedometer and tachometer, changing to a wheel angle indicator when the transmission is shifted into low-range, the precursor to serious off-roading.
Serious 4x4 hardware
With an approach angle of 56-degrees and 320mm of ground clearance it's apparent the HX is no urban kerb-climber, it's intended for severe off-road use.
Featuring an electronic-disconnecting stabilizer bar on the front suspension for enhanced maneuverability when driving off road, and rear suspension located with CNC-machined billet trailing arms and using Fox racing coil-over shocks, HX might be the most capable Hummer off-road since the original, paramilitary H1.
Environmentally friendly flex-fuel engine
A key feature of the HX though, is its low environmental impact, a concept bordering on the oxymoronic in previous Hummers. Not only is it substantially smaller and lighter, HX is powered by a 3.6-litre, double-overhead cam, direct injection V6 flex-fuel engine which can run on either regular unleaded or E85 grade Ethanol.
Producing 221kW and 370Nm - remarkably better figures than the current Hummer H3 3.7-litre - the HX powerplant should ensure a viable future for the Hummer brand in an age of stringent emission and consumption control.