And the Winner of the Inept Race for the Biggest and Ugliest Luxury Electric SUV Is…

And the Winner of the Inept Race for the Biggest and Ugliest Luxury Electric SUV Is… 6 photos
Photo: MHERO
GMC Hummer EV SUVInterior of MHERO1The battery's capacity is 142 kWh, the WLTP maximum range is 450 km or some 280 miles, the maximum fast-charge power is limited to 100 kWMercedes-Benz G 580 with EQ TechnologyIn Switzerland, MHERO1's starting price is CHF148,990, translating to €155,000 or $167,000
So, you wanna spend more than a hundred grand, or even two hundred, on a bulky electric four-wheeled rig and don't mind it being kitschy or simply tasteless. You're in luck because the Chinese have the perfect answer for your megalomaniac ego.
Do you remember when Schwarzenegger became a fan of the Hummer H1, the four-wheeled star of the Gulf War? It was just natural for "The Terminator" to be seen in the most popular army car. Correction: the second most popular, after the Jeep Wrangler, which owes its monumental reputation to the WWII Willys.

Arnold had an entire collection, and one of those Humvees was converted into an electric one. After the company went bankrupt in 2010, GM resurrected Hummer in the 2020s as an EV monicker sold under the GMC brand.

There are few contenders, but what a big game!

The GMC Hummer EV SUV is by no means a tamed offspring of the rough H1. Nevertheless, in our modern world dominated by aerodynamic electric cars and SUVs, its bulky, muscular stance makes it easily stand out in the crowd.

Photo: GMC
I don't like it a bit, and I can't figure out why on earth anybody would spend at least $96,000 (or even close to $140,000 for the top-of-the-line Omega Edition fitted with an Extreme Off-Road Package) for this SUV with only a 300-mile range.

Well, excuse my ignorance; of course, you'd expect the recognition of other drivers around for the Hummer reputation, while its offroad capabilities should make any Model X or Cybertruck owner burst into tears of envy.

But get this: Mercedes-Benz joined the electrified "it's not a damn SUV, it's a tough real-deal offroader!" arena with its iconic G-Wagen. While it's a little smaller than the Hummer EV (182 in / 4.62 m in length compared to 206.7 in / 5.25 m for the American contender), the G580 with EQ Technology is more expensive.

The Edition One starts at around $168,000, which is $30,000 more than the top trim of the Hummer EV SUV. Besides having a uselessly long name, the German electric offroader is clearly a luxury car — the Hummer's interior looks kind of cheap by comparison.

On the other hand, the German's estimated EPA range is around 50 miles below the 300-mile mark because the battery pack between its frame rails has a maximum capacity of only 116 kWh, compared to the 170 kWh Ultium battery pack for the Hummer.

Also, the Hummer is around one second quicker in the 0-60 mph sprint thanks to its three electric motors' combined power of 830 HP. At the same time, the G is happy with only two electric motors delivering a combined power of less than 600 HP.

Mercedes\-Benz G 580 with EQ Technology
Photo: Mercedes-Benz
Of course, it's a bit far-fetched to emphasize dynamic performances when these gladiators should be put to hard work outside the asphalt. But, you know, one cannot omit the quarter-mile challenge in the land of the muscle cars. Fortunately, electric motors' instant torque shoots two birds with one stone.

Beware of the Chinese instigation!

It was a longer-than-usual introduction because I wanted to immerse you in the context of electric luxury offroaders. This is where Dongfeng stated, "Enough! Move over, boys." In 2024, the behemoth Chinese company spawned a new brand, MHERO, thanks to its Mengshi subsidiary in Wuhan. The first product is called MHERO 1, and it's meant to steal the show from the electric Hummer and G-Wagen.

First of all, it's ugly. Well, not the kind of ugliness the Pontiac Aztek or the SsangYong Rodius promoted back in the day. But, compared to the flamboyant muscles of the Hummer or the very logical and pragmatic boxy style of the G-Wagen, the MHERO 1 simply has an aggressive and blunt stance.

In Switzerland, MHERO1's starting price is CHF148,990, translating to €155,000 or \$167,000
Photo: MHERO
It's the kind of vehicle the Russian mafia (or army, it's not that big difference) would be comfortable with. While its length (196 in / 5 meters) is less than Hummer's, the Chinese so-called offroader looks even bigger than its American contender because of those incondite wheel arches.

By comparison, the electric G seems like a compact SUV, but I bet you'll be surprised that this Chinese car is as expensive as the German offroader. In Switzerland, the only place you can order an MHERO1 in Europe, its starting price is CHF148,990, translating to €155,000 or $167,000.

I don't know how much this car would cost in the United States, but as the Biden Administration recently increased the tariffs on EVs from China to 100%, the MHERO1 would rival a Rolls-Royce Cullinan. I guess Hummer EV has nothing to worry about, right?

So, what do you get for more than the price of an electric Mercedes-Benz G-Class?

Well, if you don't agree with me and don't find the MHERO1 ugly, that would be good for you. After all, we have different tastes, right? Still, it's very hard for me to understand why anyone would go for such an electric behemoth. A polluting diesel would suit better.

I won't insist on the three displays in the dashboard; I'm sure Chinese engineers plied up tons of gadgets for the five passengers. I'm more interested in what's underneath them because the specs sound very interesting: four electric motors and more than 1,000 HP.

Interior of MHERO1
Photo: MHERO
As advertised, this 7.3 lb (3.3 tons) behemoth shouldn't be a problem to reach 60 mph in just over 4 seconds. From this perspective, it matches Hummer and G's performance level. At least in theory.

Interestingly, it's not fitted with a state-of-the-art, latest-tech zillion-kWh battery pack. The CATL rather conventional NMC lithium-ion battery's capacity is only 142 kWh (more than Mercedes-Benz and less than Hummer's).

This translates to a WLTP maximum range of 450 km or some 280 miles (again, more than Mercedes-Benz and less than Hummer's). Also, its maximum fast-charge power is limited to only 100 kW, half that of G's battery and three times less than GM's Ultium capability.

Frankly, that's rather disappointing for a car that Dongfeng wants you to believe its "Smart Off-Road Architecture" could carry you everywhere, without boundaries. I guess those offroad adventures will have to wait because of the range anxiety – Hummer and G 580 are in the same situation.

At least it has four-wheel steering and pneumatic suspension, which can raise the ground clearance up to 13.2 in / 335 mm (which is 3.3 in / 85 mm - higher than the electric G-Wagen!). It also has better offroad angles and up to 35 in / 900 mm wading depth.

The M Tech smart off-road architecture (MORA, in short) is a skateboard off-road platform totally different from MHERO's predecessors. Its "father" can be considered the MS600 chassis cab, a Ford F250 copycat using engines developed by Dongfeng-Cummins (a Chinese-American joint venture established in 1986).

The" grandfather" is the M50 Humvee copycat, basically a civilian version of the diesel pick-up truck developed for the Chinese army and police. Back to the MORA platform, I should note that the four electric motors and the four-wheel drive & steering system are sourced from BYD's Yangwang U8 (aka "the water-floating SUV" on social media).

The battery's capacity is 142 kWh, the WLTP maximum range is 450 km or some 280 miles, the maximum fast\-charge power is limited to 100 kW
Photo: MHERO
While the Yangwang U8 is China's most expensive mass-produced car, starting at 1,098,000 yuan ($159,000), the Mengshi MHERO 1 is clearly a more affordable option. The least costly version starts at 637,700 yuan ($87,500 USD), which is almost half as expensive as the U8.

Both the U8 and the "cheap" MHERO1 are EREVs (electric range-extender vehicles), meaning they also benefit from a gasoline engine to provide electricity to the battery, whose capacity is only 49 kWh for the U8 and 66 kWh for the MHERO 1. The BEV version of MHERO1 starts from 697,700 yuan ($95,730), which makes it a third less expensive than the U8.

At this point, let me remind you that MHERO 1's price in Switzerland is around $167,000—double what it costs in China! The new US tariffs could see an almost $200,000 tag price for this car in America. I'll let you decide if that'd be a good deal. As for me, I'd spend that money on an electric G-Wagen, that's for sure.
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About the author: Oraan Marc
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After graduating college with an automotive degree, Oraan went for a journalism career. 15 years went by and another switch turned him from a petrolhead into an electrohead, so watch his profile for insight into green tech, EVs of all kinds and alternative propulsion systems.
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