It’s safe to bet that where there’s an all-new performance car or truck, some goofy gimmick will be there to accompany it. Sure, it might add a bit of capability but, more often than not, it’s mainly a marketing ploy. Take the Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat’s second key, for example—the engine could make full power whenever, but inserting that red key makes it an event. The 2022 GMC Hummer EV’s CrabWalk feature seems similarly shallow at a glance, but it’s a genuinely innovative trick that can make the difference driving off-road.
The Hummer EV is large in just about every measurable way. Look at its 135.6-inch wheelbase, for example, and compare that to the Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon’s footprint of 118.4 inches. Even with its short bed, the Hummer’s length totals 216.8 inches; for reference, that’s nearly two and a half feet longer than the four-door Wrangler from bumper to bumper. As such, the engineering team had to think up a way to make it just as maneuverable on tight trails.
CrabWalk is the result of many brainstorming sessions, and it utilizes four-wheel steering to execute side-to-side movement. The rear wheels turn the same direction as the fronts and can match the steering angle up to 10 degrees at low speeds. This enables the relatively gargantuan Hummer to drive diagonally, adapting to sharp turns that might otherwise damage the rig.
GMC uses a rocky off-road situation to demonstrate the fancy feature. Essentially, the trail includes a sharp angle that would normally require a multi-point turn to navigate. Even then, the fit seems iffy. With CrabWalk engaged, though, the Hummer EV is able to move with the trail, up and away from the rock wall.
You don’t have to go wheeling in the desert to find this handy, however. The development team used a winding dirt trail for reference, one that proved tricky for their Chevy Colorado ZR2 test mule and busted its taillight. Now, the Hummer EV is marginally longer than the Colorado ZR2. But thanks to its CrabWalk functionality, it can go up and around the hill without bashing up its bodywork.
When you spend $112,595 on a truck, the last thing you want is a banged-up bed.
When using only the front wheels, the Hummer EV’s turning circle measures 44.3 feet. Make use of the four-wheel steering and that tightens by more than seven feet to 37.1, or a full foot and a half shorter than the Chevy Spark compact. Keep in mind that the Spark’s overall length is only eight inches longer than the Hummer EV’s wheelbase alone.
And wouldn’t you know it, this can be useful around town, too. Or at least in teensy parking spaces. The four-wheel steering system can also be used outside of CrabWalk in Auto mode, which turns the rear wheels in the opposite direction of the fronts for low-speed maneuvers. Then, at higher speeds, it turns them in the same direction. (The first person to parallel park this way and send video to The Drive wins a prize. Internet glory, or a sandwich or something. I’ll figure something out.)
In all, CrabWalk is just one of the 1,000-horsepower truck’s party tricks. Extract Mode raises the suspension by up to six inches when you need a quick boost in ground clearance, and the front electric motor’s e-locker ensures you’re getting power to the wheels in limited traction events. Pair all this with a set of the optional 35-inch Goodyear all-terrains and you’ve got an EV that’s ready to rock (and hopefully not roll).
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