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February 13, 2008

How Big is Too Big? Supersized Hummer Provides Parking Problems

Parking_ramp The delivery guy drove the 2008 Hummer H2 up the ramp into my parking structure without any problems at all. I watched as he slowly drove under the bar that indicated the height limitation and I could see that he went safely underneath with inches to spare.

Imagine my surprise upon exiting down the ramp, when we felt the roof of the humongous Hummer drag against the pole. And as if that wasn’t enough, when the back wheels rolled over the security gate’s track, the rearend bounced upward against the limiter, denting the top of the car.


2008_hummer_h2_rear Vehicle manufacturers often loan their cars to journalists so we can get driving impressions and road test results, but this was the fist time one of my road tests turned into a parking test. Honestly, even though the Hummer is among the largest vehicles the average consumer can drive without a special license, it handles as easily as most sedans I have driven. It is a testament to the vehicle’s power steering system, 393-horsepower/6.2-liter V-8 engine, six-speed transmission, and four-wheel-disc braking setup to provide a driving experience that belies its 6600-pound curb weight and 6-foot, 9-inch beam.

Rearviewscreen A rear-vision system which utilizes a wide-angle camera to display what’s behind the behemoth on a dash-mounted video screen assists with navigating the land yacht. This feature is not just useful, it’s necessary to prevent backing over small children and animals -- and even full-size sedans -- that would otherwise be impossible to see through the rear window.

Rearwheel Nonetheless, even with all these features, parking was a problem wherever I went. I confess, on the street, I didn’t dare try to parallel-park the beast. In mall parking lots, I chose to drive through most spots to get to the one on the other side, so I could be facing nose out upon exiting. While this made it easy to exit, it also caused problems if another vehicle parked too close behind as the rear-mounted spare tire must be swung completely out of the way to allow the cargo hatch to be raised.

And my own parking structure’s entryway presented problems of its own, which I solved by backing down the exit whenever I left, in order to prevent additional damage to the roof of the loaner. Don’t ask me to explain it in technical terms, but essentially, the weight of the engine at the front of the vehicle causes the lighter rear end to lift slightly when ascending a slope.

A quick and informal survey of two other people I knew who drove Hummers revealed that both of them had challenges fitting their SUV into their garage, even on level ground.

With great size comes great responsibility. If you are considering becoming the pilot of this barge, be sure that you have a place to berth it.

Watch for additional information from my road test of the 2008 Hummer H2 in an upcoming Woman's Look at

By Brandy Schaffels
Contributing Editor

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