NEW_CAR_PREVIEW

Concept-Hummer HX Preview

2/24/2012
Critical Knowledge:
  • Open-air, entry-level-size, 2-door, off-road concept vehicle

  • Removable roof panels and modular rear roof assembly

  • Full-time 4-wheel drive (4WD)

  • Front and rear locking differentials

  • Aircraft-inspired interior, functional lightweight design elements

  • Reconfigurable instruments for highway/off-road driving

  • 3.6-liter SIDI E85 FlexFuel engine

  • 6-speed automatic transmission

  • Removable fender flares and doors


Introduction
From the very first look, you know it's a HUMMER. With its compact size and go-anywhere attitude, the HUMMER HX concept marks yet another nimble trail-challenging entry in the HUMMER stable, according to the manufacturer. In terms of size, the HX concept, with its 81-inch width and 103-inch wheelbase, is more compact than a HUMMER H3. The open-air top and convertible body that can easily acclimate to varying trail conditions is calculated to appeal to off-road driving enthusiasts. The HUMMER HX concept, if it does come to the marketplace, will be a separate entry in the HUMMER lineup.

Introduced at the 2008 North American International Auto Show, the HX concept shows off its slant-back configuration, decked out in an eye-catching desert-inspired matte olive paint scheme. Removable roof panels (above the driver and front passenger), and a modular, removable rear roof assembly, quickly transforms the HX into a true convertible. HX's design includes several roof assemblies, permitting ultimate versatility. With roof assembly removed, HX becomes a sport utility truck (SUT). Another configuration includes traditional wagon-like design with more cargo space. The concept's convertibility aspects also feature easily removable doors and fender flares for additional trail/rock clearance.

The design is the brainchild of three new GM designers, fresh out of Detroit's College for Creative Studies. This marked their first assignment: to develop concept drawings for a smaller, more youthful HUMMER. The resulting HX concept, which is based on one of their original illustrations, incorporates elements and ideas from all the other designs.

Exterior Design
The HUMMER HX concept's exterior lightweight theme is immediately evident by the exposed billet aluminum suspension components that feature CNC-machined lightening relieves, along with minimal trim and unadorned bodywork.With roof panels, roof assembly and fender flares removed, lightweight goes extreme. Other classic HUMMER styling cues are round headlamps in square housings, upright windshield profile, prominent air intakes and minimal usage of overhangs and hood vents. The functional air intakes feed HX's V-6 engine, and the active hood vents permit the escape of hot underhood air. Design for a purpose also includes high intensity discharge (HID) headlamps with focusing rings to adjust automatically when turned on. LED technology is used for taillamps and front turn signal lamps.

Interior
The youthful design cues extend to the interior of the HX concept with aircraft-inspired seats and tools ready for off-road use-all designed to be appealing and lightweight, yet strong and functional. According to the manufacturer, everything has a purpose. The matte olive exterior color blends seamlessly into the interior with its sheetmetal-covered panels. Handles, switches and other necessary parts are pressed or extruded aluminum components, accenting the color scheme. The instrument panel, another aircraft-inspired element, has a foundation of exposed, extruded aluminum cross-vehicle beam. The instrument cluster and other vital controls are located on the beam, which also features a removable top cover providing extra storage.

The HX concept has seating for 4 with two bucket-like seats in the second row. Seats are mounted on exposed, aircraft-style tracks that are trimmed in weather-resistant neoprene material. The rear seats, virtually identical to the front seats, are easily removed for additional cargo room. All seats have 4-point, racing-style safety harnesses. The console offers plentiful storage as well as providing space for phones, MP3 player, iPods or iPhones. In fact, the HX has no traditional radio at all: only integrated speakers. You simply plug in your iPod (or similar device) into the vehicle's USB connector to play music.

The reconfigurable gauge cluster layout, with three instrument "pods" carrying the same cut-off circle design of the exterior, uses LCD screens with multiple layouts, including navigation system. With GPS and compass information, the navigation system can upload trail information prior to embarking on the destination. The center gauge pod, which houses the speedometer and tachometer, changes to a wheel angle indicator with the transmission in low, for off-road mode. A camera mounted in the rearview mirror can also display the trail view on the instrument panel.

Hardware
Power for the HUMMER HX concept comes from an E85 FlexFuel 3.6-liter SIDI V-6 engine with variable valve timing (VVT) and spark-ignition, direct injection that delivers an estimated 304 hp at 6300 rpm and 273 lb.-ft. of torque at 5200 rpm. The transmission is a 6-speed electronically controlled automatic. The front suspension has an electronic-disconnecting stabilizer bar for greater off-road maneuverability and rear suspension located with computer numerical controlled (CNC)-machined, billet trailing arms. Custom-made, heavy-duty shocks with piggyback reservoirs mounted at each wheel position come from Fox, a renowned racing shock manufacturer.

The full-time 4WD system transfers torque to front and rear axles, both of which have a locking differential. Custom 35-inch off-road Bridgestone Dueler tires are mounted on custom 20-inch bead-lock-style wheels with dark-painted wheel covers and silver-anodized outer rims. The entire underbody of the HX concept is protected from trail perils as well, with a front skid plate, powertrain protection and more. Front and rear bumper-mounted recovery hooks and a power-operated winch on the front bumper provide HX with the capability to extricate other off-roaders from mishaps, says HUMMER.

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