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You would expect a military tactical vehicle to ride rough. Stripped bare with no creature comforts, it is what a military vehicle should be. But the Humvee replacement, the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle, rides like a Cadillac. That’s not good according to the Army majordomos who have determined that it rides too smooth. It’s too comfortable.

The Humvee replacement’s ride is too smooth

Close shot of older Hummer grille with Hummer spelled out under the main part of the grille.
Hummer | Getty Images

“For leadership, the ride is so smooth it brings its own concerns,” 1st ABCT spokesman Maj. Pete Bogart told Task & Purpose. “My wife has a brand new Volkswagen Atlas, and it does so much for you that you often forget you’re hurtling down the highway in a several-thousand-pound vehicle. Leadership wants soldiers to remember that they’re in a tactical vehicle, not a Nissan Altima.”

So, just to clear up any confusion, the US Army wants the JLTV to ride rougher so that “soldiers remember that they’re in a tactical vehicle.” As opposed to the Humvee, which was scorned unanimously for many shortcomings, including how it rode? 

“Compared to the Humvee, it’s like night and day”

JLTV Humvee replacement
JLTV Humvee replacement | Army

“The suspension system is magnificent,” Staff Sgt. Robert Sanders, a signal support systems specialist with the 1st ABCT, told Task & Purpose. “Compared to the Humvee, it’s like night and day. When you hit a bump in the JLTV, you feel it. But when you hit a bump in the Humvee, you really feel it.”

So, that’s good? “It’s by far the smoothest ride of any wheeled vehicle I’ve operated,” Spc. Donald Vargas, a combat engineer, told Task & Purpose. “But when you hit a bump in the Humvee, you feel it.” 

According to the brave men and women who have to wrangle Humvees, you have to slow to a crawl once you come to a 12-15-inch washout. But those testing the JLTV were told to keep their foot on the accelerator. Vargas said, “It’s by far the smoothest ride of any wheeled vehicle I’ve operated.”

So, why isn’t this a better Humvee?

2022 GMC Hummer EV splashing through some water
The GMC Hummer EV | GM

So, why isn’t that a good thing? Upcoming testing by the 2nd ABCT will drill down on the good and bad characteristics of the JLTV. “The vehicles are better on your back and better for operability, which is good for our mission,” Bogart said. “But just because you don’t feel the bumps doesn’t mean the trailer you’re hauling won’t. You go over a 14- or 18-inch washout, the trailer still feels it.”

The good news for the enlisted? “I have a place for my coffee,” Sanders said. “The seats are more adjustable than the Humvee. There’s even a cut-out in the seats for when you’re wearing body armor or a CamelBak. That makes it a far more comfortable ride.”


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