By on June 27, 2007

x07gm_en001.jpgYou gotta love a truck division started by a guy named Max Grabowski. Hi! I'm Max Grabowski. I make trucks. What could be more American than that? Fast forward one hundred and six years and I’m face-to-face to face with a GMC SUV named after a diplomat with dubious powers. Go figure. And riddle me this Batman: why in the name of modern science is this four-wheeled Neanderthal still for sale at the tail end of the double-o's?

There is so much to dislike about the base Envoy that I wish to state for the record that it is by no means the worst vehicle ever sold by GM. (Rest easy TWAT fans; the Uplanderelay’s crown of thorns is safe.) Of course, that’s a bit like saying “Sure, Michael Vick was involved with dog fighting. At least he doesn’t support vivisection.” 

OK, looks. The Envoy isn’t meant to be a pretty truck. And by God, it isn’t. It's not that's it's ugly. It's just that it's dull. So dull it's almost an archetype. SUV. Big, boxy and vaguely macho. Done.

That said, the Envoy’s panel gaps my only "real" complaint; they're large enough to accommodate an illegal immigrant. While some might appreciate GMC's sheetmetal homaqe to the Land Rover Defender, you've got to wonder how the company dared offer such blunderbuss construction in this age of robots and millimeter-perfect panel fitment.

x07gm_en002.jpgInside, it’s back to the future– I mean the past. Unlike Doc Brown’s DeLorean, the Envoy’s excursion to a simpler time begins well before the SUV reaches 88 mph. As soon as you sit down, you’re faced with a series of ugly knobs, ticky-tacky plastics and seriously kitsch faux wood trim. As Scarlet O'Hara might have said, why it's so horrendous it's quaint!

Everywhere the discerning eye looks, it lands upon a thoroughly retro lack of effort. The Envoy’s radio’s head unit comes straight from a ‘60’s sci-fi flick. The SUV’s gear lever restricts access to the HVAC controls. The center armrest is made of concrete. The glove box is useless. And the two center vents look like puppy dog eyes, imploring you to put them out of their misery.

The Envoy SLE’s seats offer up the type of thinly-padded insult only a Ford Ranger owner could love. OK, endure. My gluteus was maximized after just 90 minutes of highway driving.

Thankfully, the Envoy spares its driver said torture by reaching its destination briskly. Ye Olde 4.2-liter inline six still knows how to twist (277 ft.-lbs) and shout (291hp). Even better, the engine delivers its power smoothly right across the rev range, helping the 4967lbs. leviathan scoot from zero to 60mph in under nine seconds. 

x07sp_gm007.jpgGoing up hill with the [optional] 4WD system engaged, the Envoy begins to breathe hard– but in no way runs out of breath. No question: the GMC SUV is a capable “trailblazer.” Provided those trails don’t require more than eight to nine inches of ground clearance, you’re OK using all-season tires in the outback and you don’t mind carrying a few large cans of highly explosive liquid in the back (14/20 mpg), the wilderness awaits. 

As far as on-road handling is concerned, remember that the Envoy is a once-upon-a-time body-on-frame design. It’s terrific for towing (6300lbs.) and lousy for anything else. Obviously, no one in their right mind would expect the Envoy to offer the car-like capabilities of a Rav4 or a CR-V, and the Envoy's ride quality is certainly up-to-snuff. But to fully grasp the full awfulness of the Envoy’s handling dynamics, we must leave the automotive universe.

At highway cruising speeds, the Envoy feels like a diesel locomotive riding on rusted rails. Turn the wheel and… nothing. The Envoy simply plunges forward (technical term: understeer). Like a train, it's best to apply a great deal of brake force (i.e. as much as you can) before reaching an obstacle– a term which the Envoy expands to include turns.

If and when the Envoy finally enters a corner, it leans in an entirely unsettling fashion (both physically and emotionally). Suffice it to say (by now), the Envoy’s handling is so atrocious that you have to wonder if its creation predates GM’s legal department. 

x07gm_en003.jpgAfter sampling the Envoy SLE, I tried to think of one reason why the GMC Envoy shouldn’t immediately receive the same doctoring that shuffled Old Yeller off this mortal coil. Let’s see… The Envoy’s got a rough-and-tumble frame and optional 4WD system and not enough clearance to use it. It’s ugly, thirsty, cramped and nasty. At $27k, it’s expensive for what it is (isn’t?).

Nope. Can’t do it. I’m with Forbes magazine. It advises readers seeking something sportier, more stylish, reliable or economical to keep looking. Hey, who wouldn’t?

Get the latest TTAC e-Newsletter!

76 Comments on “GMC Envoy SLE Review...”


  • avatar
    GS650G

    I don’t see many of these on the road, at least not newer ones. The goofy radio follows the current trend of making sure you cannot swap it out for aftermarket head units. That’s great if the radio is good enough, not so great if your interested in DVD players and what not. Considering the target for this vehicle is 25 to 40 YO males ( to some degree ) you would think they would go for more sporting and flexibility.

    • 0 avatar

      What a stupid review. I have owned my Envoy since I bought it new in 2003. This is a fantastic truck that is extremely reliable and has given me ZERO problems in over 8 years and almost 120,000 miles of driving. In fact, this truck runs and drives as great now as it did when new. The Vortec 4200 inline six-cylinder engine, which the writer barely even mentions, is arguably one of the finest engines GM has ever built, delivering V8 performance with V6 efficiency. If you want a good idea as to longevity of these cars, check out Ebay and see the kind of mileage found on these SUV’s for sale there. It’s not at all unusual to see them with 150,000 or even 200,000 miles, and still commanding prices upwards of $5,000 or $8,000.

      The claims the writer makes to the effect of these SUV’s being ugly are subjective at best. I think the Envoy is a great looking truck that ages well. The writer claims that the seats are uncomfortable – BALONEY. His claim that the Envoy doesn’t handle well is telling indeed. I am sure Mr. Syed drives a tiny lawnmower-like car that, by comparison, would render him incapable of objectively rendering an opinion as to the handling characteristics of a mid-sized American SUV like the Envoy. Fact is, it DOES NOT lean on curves even before electronic stability control (Stabilitrak) was introduced as standard in 2006 which was one year before the writer tested this car.

      Fact is, Mr. Syed’s opinions are just that – opinions. They should not be used as a basis for anyone considering whether or not to purchase this truck. Check out the ratings it has from actual owners, look at what kind of mileage the used models have on them, and THEN make up your mind.

      • 0 avatar
        rpn453

        “Fact is, it DOES NOT lean on curves even before electronic stability control (Stabilitrak) was introduced as standard in 2006 which was one year before the writer tested this car.”

        How can it not lean while cornering? Every vehicle with suspension does that. And how is stability control related to body roll?

      • 0 avatar
        wreck

        I’ve owned the 2002 model (1st year of this permutation I believe)…..I can’t really believe this review. The performance of our Envoy has been almost flawless from the time it left the showroom 12 years ago. 125k miles later, I’ve had the fan motor changed ($400, and a common problem I believe for this model), 1 break job, oil changes, and replaced every light bulb once: That’s it! The ride was awesome from the start–and it is still very comfy. The turn radius is amazing, you can park it anywhere–just like a car–roomy inside, tremendous power, high quality interior (nothing has broken) etc…I know there are better options in 2013; newer models etc…but I do wish GM would bring the Envoy back with all the new technology etc…btw, I test drove the Acadia…it’s not the same vehicle for so many reasons…for one it is HUGE etc…different vehicle imo. A good example of a BAD vehicle is the GMC Colorado–horrible turning radius, stupid engine, low power, and shoddy materials–got rid of it for the 2008 Sierra–even better gas milieage.

  • avatar
    AKM

    Thanks for the review. The ratings are particularly hilarious (proof that short and sweet sometimes wins the day)!
    GS650GL: spot on for target audience. Several of my friends/acquaintances have this car or its Chevy twin. For some reason, Explorers seem to attract more female buyers. Anywho, they often bought them when they got out of college, simply because it’s BIG, it’s a TRUCK, and it’s affordable. The fact that the thing rides horribly, sucks gas like an exotic sportscar and has only marginally more utility than my gold did not seem to bother them. “It’s a BIG TRUCK, dude”, did they keep saying.

  • avatar
    mart_o_rama

    This review made me ROFLMAO!

    I just can’t believe they (GMC) still manufacture, and probably sell some of, these. The model seems to be to use any parts that’s sitting in the inventory (from past years’ GMC huge overstock) and bolt them together. Each sell turns into less inventory write-off!

  • avatar
    snoissea

    This review brings back memories of the bad old days when GM’s vehicles were a joke waiting to happen.

    Park this puppy next to an Acadia and you’ll see just how much of an impact Lutz has made. ‘Bout damn time too.

    Let’s hope Cerberus will do the same for Chrysler.

  • avatar
    Detroit-X

    What’s the point here? While I don’t disagree with most of your observations, the exaggeration is a bit out of frame (yeah, I know, for humor). The Envoy appeared back in 2001, so of course it’s old-tech. ‘Old Tech,’ like the 2007 heater controls in many new/redesigned Toyotas; Oh What A Feeling, moving 1970s cables inside plastic sleeves. What’s up with that? The GMC Acadia is now the relevant GM midsize SUV to evaluate. One thing I like about the Acadia is that, unlike the Envoy, it really is something different to consider from the Yukon. More fuel economy, better ride, and the same maximum cargo room.

  • avatar
    tincanman99

    There are quite a few of these gas swilling beasts around. The public likes em, not sure why they are for sale but nobody ever lost money under estimating the taste of the American public ;) .

    I think we need some more gas guzzling trucks. You can never have enough.

  • avatar
    danms6

    Plastic knobs, faux wood, crappy handling? Nothing that we didn’t expect from an SUV review. However, I was wondering why you didn’t compare its driving dynamics to vehicles of similar size. Such as the Highlander/4Runner/Sequoia or Pilot?

  • avatar
    labrat

    In ’02, I leased a Trailblazer, the badge engineered twin of this vehicle. My main reasons for doing so were that I needed to tow a boat, and I got a GM discount. I fully agree with this review. If anything, the Trailblazer’s interior was even worse than the Envoy’s, with coalbin gray everywhere. The quality of the leather on the seats was worse than some vinyls I have seen. The steering was slow and totally lifeless. My boat cornered better. The suspension was woefully underdamped. I got out of my lease early just to get away from this relic.

    My family truckster is now an Acadia, and the difference between these two vehicles is like night and day. I’ll agree with a previous poster that Bob Lutz has had a positive effect of GM’s products, even though he doesn’t get much love on this site.

    BTW, I’m still waiting for the one star rating. While reading this article, I thought this one was headed there.

  • avatar
    ash78

    I put quite a few miles on one of these in Sedona, AZ, two summers ago. We needed something with 4wd for those soft sand, rocky trails, and with enough ground clearance to avoid leaving an oil pan on a straddled rock. This was all they had. I hate throwing out the expression “worst car I’ve ever driven,” but this was as close as I’ve ever come. But I need to say something nice. The A/C worked great in the 100+ heat. And, um, it held a lot of stuff compared to a car.

  • avatar
    socsndaisy

     Lets get one thing straight right off here: I hate this vehicle. SUV=archetype=ugly=big macho hairy chest to pound on? This kind of stuff is really transparent and doesnt phase the alpha in the audience…or the cheerleader in his passenger seat. Compare this to your CRV, RAV4, and even the outback and it boils down to this: The envoy is the only choice if you actually tow ANYthing of subtance (and Johnny Quarterback DOES have a boat, cheerleaders like boats too Samir). These vehicles also regularly do better than 20mpg on a highway basis. Economy is nothing spectacular, but certainly not out of bounds compared to the rest of the so-called girlie-suv segment. And even if you want to hamstring the Envoy for its jacked up status, at least mention that the CRV-RAV etc are only four inches shorter in stature (with less than one of those inches actually lowering the vehicle to the ground!) Handling is superior but thats a weight issues and without the weight, you just cant pull that boat. Finally, even subjectively speaking, the CRV’s exterior along with the RAV4’s interior or easily just as guilty of aesthetic crimes against humanity as this abomination ever was. The fact that its body on frame and has some smooth grunt fine. The real crimes here are the supersized heft of this sled, its price paid in handling, and the awful execution of the design/build.

  • avatar
    johnf514

    “Hi! I’m Max Grabowski. I make trucks. What could be more American than that?”

    . . . . That’s more of a Polish name. ;)

    Great review!

  • avatar
    lprocter1982

    “BTW, I’m still waiting for the one star rating. While reading this article, I thought this one was headed there.”

    The one star rating will come when the Sebring gets reviewed.

  • avatar

    Detroit-X: The Envoy appeared back in 2001, so of course it’s old-tech.
    The GMC Acadia is now the relevant GM midsize SUV to evaluate.

    No one’s disputing the vast improvement the Acadia shows over the Envoy. The question is, why are they still producing the Envoy? It was hardly a ground-breaking design in 2001 and it has even less going for it now, after being allowed to stagnate for over half a decade.

    Unless GM addresses their core business practices, we’ll be saying the same things about the Acadia be in six years.

  • avatar
    craigefa

    “The public likes em…”

    Some of the public. My wife and I ditched our 2004 TrailBlazer at the first opportunity. My brother-in-law gave up on his lemony Envoy after about 6 months and traded it in on a Lexus (I can’t imagine how much he lost on that little transaction). Some friends of ours are currently looking to dump their 3 year old Envoy before it puts them in the poor house.

    Samir’s description of the handling is dead on. I thought my TrailBlazer would be the perfect highway cruiser but instead I didn’t feel safe going over 40 mph. The only thing I thought it was good for was going out for coffee on Saturday mornings. I felt like such a man pulling in next to all the Civics and Jettas.

  • avatar
    Alex Dykes

    Great review Samir, I own a 2002 Envoy (don’t ask) and this review is spot-on.

  • avatar
    durailer

    great review…

    I wonder how much of this truck’s DNA stems from the compact Chevy Blazer/GMC Jimmy. I know people that loved those trucks…back in the ’80s.

    Let’s hope GM puts this model to pasture now that the Acadia is here.

  • avatar
    jurisb

    there is one yet unmentioned silver rim on the whole gloomy, murky envoy saga. it is the … it is the….. offered 3 versions of the envoy. like envoy xuv, the envoy with detachable hardtop roof. well ,looks like the massive frankenstein has tried to be versatile. and flirt with cabrio. envoy the mediocre is no worse product , than the rest of this truck baron family, the same superficial attitude to detailing, the same swaying like grandma after hip operation, the same shiny ,wrinkled like your granny`s…..egh…..forehead benches, and electronics sophistication like that of george orwell1s nightmare. while lexuses stamping workbenches have reached Vernon Vinge`s singularity in fit and finish, the envoy still looks like an honest job done ,only done by some alabama brewery guy.if we consider that assymetry is the mother of art, then envoy is a piece of art. more like van gogh style, with barely discernible edges on panels and joyous vent gaps between most of panels.imagine, by the time of birth , reviews were milder, smooth sippin, and homebred welcome, while todays audience, being pampered and spoiled by lexuses obsession with perfection, arrogantly turn their heads away from their own ol` country boys to get seduced by the heated suede benches of overseas pursuit of perfection. the same people, who can barely nail a picture frame to the wall, turn out to be the experts of car assembly cuisine, and only valid for caviar feinsmecking.

  • avatar

    jurisb: like envoy xuv, the envoy with detachable hardtop roof. well ,looks like the massive frankenstein Actually it had a retractable panel over the cargo area and an Avalanche-style midgate with a power window instead of a removable one.  GMC discontinued the Envoy XUV in March, 2005.

  • avatar

    Samir – the writing is brilliant, the vehicle execrable. As other posters have noted, this is an easy target.

    Yet despite the availability of better cars and trucks from GM, the continued sale of this POS is proof positive that they remain intent on shrinking their market share. Why continue to offer a demonstrably inferior vehicle when the net effect will be to drive buyers into non-GM products? Do they somehow think that their more valued offerings will be made more desirable by the fact that they “sell” these at heavy discounts and thus alienate yet another group of buyers?

    The looks are really secondary. The fact is that a very high percentage of these are never used to tow anything whatsoever, or to do any more serious off roading than inadvertently driving over a curb because the driver couldn’t see it from six feet up.

    Sadly, this vehicle is continuing proof that GM really doesn’t want to get healthy.

  • avatar

    These aren’t great vehicles, but are other midsize conventional SUVs like the Explorer and 4Runner that much better? The Toyota’s steering is at least as dead, and it feels even heavier. Understeer is the order of the day.

    The Jeep Grand Cherokee is an exception; it handles better than the rest, followed by the Nissan Pathfinder.

    Similarly, I don’t see that the Envoy’s styling is worse than that of its actual peers, and in most cases is better.

    It’s not a CR-V, and it’s not an Acadia. Those vehicles are in different segments.

  • avatar
    starlightmica

    I thought the XUV’s cargo area supplier nearly went under because they geared up to build 100k, and GMC sold only 10k.

  • avatar
    phil

    very entertaining review, thanks. i have to comment on the highly subjective assessment of fuel consumption, i.e.
    Envoy 14/20 awful! sucks gas like crazy!
    Acadia 16/22 remarkable! efficient!
    it’s all blah blah. when you do the math and take into account the effect of driving style it’s almost a wash. there won’t be any significant gains in fuel economy until the clean diesels arrive and i personally think this country will make the switch (like europe) when people are able to sample what a modern diesel is like to drive.

  • avatar
    NN

    fantastic writing, and once again, I am happy and impressed that TTAC reviewed a vehicle such as this, right after reviewing a brand new model (Aura). My wife and I are/were slightly considering one of these…why? Well, with all the discounts, a 4wd model can be had for less than a similarly equipped Rav4/CRV, and we do tow a boat(wouldn't do it w/the RAV4/CRV, I would have to keep my old truck still). Also, 16/21 for a truck-based SUV of this size is pretty good, one must admit. But I can't get over a few things. 1) the interior in this vehicle, and worse, the Trailblazer, is in my opinion the absolute worst interior on the market for any vehicle available here today. 2) I sat in a Trailblazer SS at the auto show, hated the interior, and noticed that the door sills said "Chevy" on one side and "GMC" on the other. How embarrassing–especially for an auto-show specimen. Quality control on this vehicle is non-existant…work like this makes me think that the people making them don't deserve to keep their jobs. 3) 7" of ground clearance is pathetic for someone who drives off road from time to time. What is the purpose? The 4.2L Atlas I-6 is relatively new and is apparently a great engine. The only redeemable portion of the vehicle. Also, GM is cancelling the next redo, so I guess they'll sell these for another year or two and then kaput. GMC and Chevy should keep a midsized truck-based SUV, but make it more of a truck…I say take the H3, slide in the Atlas I-6 (or that new 4.5L GM diesel) and the new 6-speed auto, make a decent interior (the H3's is not a bad start), and keep decent ground clearance and towing capabilities. It could bring back the Blazer. On the other hand, fix up the Equinox to fulfill the car-based midsize SUV market with a decent engine, handling, interior, etc…that thing is really just as nasty as the Envoy. My two cents.

  • avatar
    radimus

    It cracks me up when car guys review and comment on trucks as they still don’t get it. Look, getting all hung up on the qualities of the handling and steering is pointless. It’s a truck, and as such nobody really cares. At least not the target market, anyway. If they wanted something that handled, they’d buy a car. Or buy a car in addition to the truck. Maybe even have some hot speed racer, not-street-legal thing and then buy a truck to haul it to the track. Besides, what kind of handling do you really think you’re going to get when most trucks have suspensions that are not that far removed from the kind used on covered wagons. Precision steering? Again, who cares? As long as it generally goes where it’s pointed the target market isn’t going to care.

    So, what does the average truck/SUV buyer care about? I’ll venture to guess plenty of room for stuff and plenty of towing capacity for more stuff.

    For the domestic and reproductive truck/SUV buyer it probably falls along the lines of wanting something to safely seat all the wee ones, have room inside for some stuff, and still have enough umph left over to towing some big object like a boat or a camper. As long as it gets the job done without couphing up a piston rod or a transmission along the way they’ll overlook the fact that it steers like a paddle steamer and handles like the Radio Flyer. And when the SUV isn’t performing the role of vacation mule it’s the daily driver for the stay-at-home soccer mom.

    For the active and less pro-creative guy/gal I suspect it falls along the lines of wanting something that can get themselves, maybe a couple friends, and gear out to where they plan to ski/hike/climb/snowboard/etc without getting stuck. And when that isn’t happening, the truck is the daily driver because the difference in gas mileage is still cheaper than buying a second car.

    Now, about the Envoy.

    It seems to me that the Envoy/Trailblazer is GM’s effort to make two diverse groups happy. The S10-based Blazer buyers and the Astro/Safari customers. Unfortunately, they failed miserably in both respects. A stock S10 in 4WD is a very capable off-roader, and both 2WD and 4WD versions are great tow vehicles. The Astro vans were extremely popular with people who needed 8 seats, a generous towing capacity, and wanted something less boat-like and less expensive than a Suburban. Why GM wanted to cancel the Astro/Safari is beyond me, but the demise of the S10 platform was expected given the thing’s tendancy to roll tits-up at the slightest provocation. So, GM mashed the two together and behold the mess we have now. It still has the ladder-frame, has plenty ot towing grunt, is less apt to flip but can’t go off-road worth beans in stock form, and can’t carry as much butts or stuff as the Astro. Brilliant.

    As to ugly, that’s a standard feature on all GMC trucks. GMC has always been the ugly twin sister to the not-so-hot looking Chevrolet trucks. You can only do so much with the gaping wide-mouth grill motif. As to the craptastic interior and seats, by the review it seems that nothing has changed since my 97 Yukon was built.

  • avatar
    Detroit-X

    To Frank Williams & all the other buddies here…

    As a teen in the late 1970s I became an audio enthusiast for a time. I loved watching the industry increasing in fidelity and all the corporate-competition about that. But, I noticed that I was forever unsatisfied about my stereo system during this time. Not enough highs, not enough signal to noise, too much hiss, and don’t get me started about wow-and-flutter. Something always could have been done better. Finally I said F**k it. I wasn’t happy. I was now going to listen to the music, and not the system. And from that point on, everything got much better, and I never looked back.

    In the case of the Envoy, the ‘music’ is what it does for your life, not how the ‘system’ does it. If you’re going to forever watch the fidelity of the vehicle, at the expense of the music (value/utility/scenery going by), then nothing is good enough at any price. Something always will be better.

    For the Big-3, I’ve sort of come around from the “How can they be so stupid?” inclination, to the “Damn it, what can be done now?” group.

    GM is producing the Envoy for several reasons: there’s a typical, too-long, GM-adjustment period from old to new. Toyota cuts it off and “Moves Forward,” GM, with it’s overpaid executive yes-men, likes to keep nailing that 2:00AM booty-call till it just don’t produce no more. It gives them “confidence.” Contracts in place get completed. Iraq gets ‘general transportation’ vehicles to get riddled with bullets (ever see all the rows of white Trailblazers in the news?). Rooms full of Jobs Bank people don’t get filled. The UAW doesn’t get prematurely pissed-off. And with the heavy discounts, people (with realistic expectations) get a good value for the price. Or even better, a 1-3 year old GMT360 vehicle at $10-15k makes a greater buy.

    So where does the Swan Song of this model happen? Well, just watch; the GMT360 line will be #1 in some J.D. Power survey in the future, and then it’s gone. This always happens, and at least for two reasons: (1) GM does improve it’s vehicles over time, and (2) J.D. Power has to throw bones somewhere, and what safer place then a vehicle gone in the next year?

  • avatar
    NN

    radimus–right on. I was going to go on a tangent of how this vehicle seems to be the result of GM trying to combine some niches and/or please too many people, and ended up with a damn-near useless vehicle…but my piece was long enough. You nailed it.

  • avatar
    nocaster

    “Quality control on this vehicle is non-existant…work like this makes me think that the people making them don’t deserve to keep their jobs.”

    They didn’t. A factory in OKC where these were built closed last year. I don’t know where the rest are being built.

  • avatar

    Radimus, towing capacity was highlighted as one of the strengths of the vehicle in this article.

    Handling is an unavoidable part of a car review. In case you didn’t notice, I did cut it some slack for its body-on-frame design. However, you know and I know that plenty of these will get up to highway speed. What do you do then when an offramp sneaks up on you on a road you don’t know? Or a deer jumps in front of you, because you’re such a rugged mountain man you’re takin’ your SUV out into the wild? You will turn the wheel and hope the truck pulls through.

    Handling is the #1 safety feature on all moving vehicles, be it trucks or cars. Before stability control, ABS, traction control, pre-tensioners and all that jazz – comes handling.

    If you notice, I don’t compare the handling to cars. This thing is miles behind its own peers, including the Cherokee (which is also better offroad).

  • avatar
    BimmerHead

    I recall being excited when I first read about GM’s new inline 6… The power and torque outputs (at that time especially) rivaled many V8s and I remember thinking “Finally, GM has done something right”… Unfortunately, they have not made as much use of the engine as I had hoped (Why is this engine not available in the Silverado?)… and in the vehicles that it is used it is generally burdoned by too much weight. Disappointing.

    The Acadia is a fine vehicle as long as you don’t want to tow anything. I am willing to live with truck like handling to get truck like towing capacity.

  • avatar
    radimus

    radimus–right on. I was going to go on a tangent of how this vehicle seems to be the result of GM trying to combine some niches and/or please too many people, and ended up with a damn-near useless vehicle…but my piece was long enough. You nailed it.

    Thanks, NN. Apparently, the soccer moms must love the Trailblazer. At least around me anyway. I think GM probably kept a good portion of the former Astro market simply by default. There is just nothing else in the category that is even close. As for the S10 buyers that actually used it’s capabilities GM has lost them. The crew cab Colorado is not an adequate replacement due to the lack of the 4.3L V6 as an option. Funny how Jeep is doing so well since Ford and GM stopped building an off-road capable SUV.

    I’m curious to see how well the Acadia/Outlook hold up. These things are basicly a mash-up between a FWD minivan and a SUV. They have better towing capacities than the FWD minivans do, but none of the players in the FWD minivan market have been able to build one with a bulletproof tranny. That’s a real problem when towing as the tranny takes the blunt of it.

  • avatar
    radimus

    Samir, you’re slack cuting has been noted. Thanks.

    What do you do then when an offramp sneaks up on you on a road you don’t know? Or a deer jumps in front of you, because you’re such a rugged mountain man you’re takin’ your SUV out into the wild? You will turn the wheel and hope the truck pulls through.

    Turning wheel and hoping it pulls through is completely the wrong angle of attack on those problems.

    You don’t drive an SUV like a car. That is what got so many of those first-time SUV buyers in trouble. Many of the basic emergency maneuvers you can use with a car would roll an SUV. You have to think more like a truck driver than a car driver. For that onramp scenario you mentioned, you don’t try the panic turn to catch it. You let it pass, find a place to get turned around, and go back. Honestly, you should do the same when driving a car too but I’ll leave that discussion for another day.

    For that deer you mentioned, you don’t bother trying to avoid it. If it’s too close to safely avoid without rolling the truck than you just suck it up and hit it. Same goes for most any other critter found in North America. I’m not being cruel here. It’s a simple matter of your life and safety, as well as your passengers, versus the animal’s. If you swerve to avoid the critter you stand a good chance of rolling over. That places you pretty much in the outcome of serious injury or death. If you hit it dead on, you’ll fair much better. The higher nose of the truck will keep the animal out of the windshield, and the airbags and seat belts will help protect the occupants.

    Also, handling is not the #1 safety feature. The #1 safety feature sits between the steering wheel. If you have no concept of how to stay safe within the limitations of the vehicle you have no business driving it.

  • avatar
    radimus

    Also, handling is not the #1 safety feature. The #1 safety feature sits between the steering wheel. If you have no concept of how to stay safe within the limitations of the vehicle you have no business driving it.

    Make that “sits behind the steering wheel.” Oh well.

  • avatar
    Martin Albright

    Edmunds says the curb weight of the 4wd SLE is 4541, about 400# lighter than what you indicate, although still way too heavy. Isn’t this based on the same platform as the “mid-sized” Colorado truck? How do you get to 4500lbs curb weight? That’s nearly the equivilent of a full sized truck!

  • avatar
    MW

    I rented one of these a year ago and the one thing no one has really commented on that I noticed was its incredibly inefficient packaging. I couldn’t believe that something that BIG can manage to offer less usable passenger and cargo space inside than a CRV. Whenever I see one of these things hauling kids to school I wonder if the purchaser realizes that they bought a large vehicle with the family-transport capabilities of a compact car. As others have noted, I really can’t figure out why you would buy one of these unless you have a soft spot for the driving dynamics of pickup trucks (which some folks do, believe it or not).

  • avatar
    MW

    “If you have no concept of how to stay safe within the limitations of the vehicle you have no business driving it.”

    Agreed. Which raises the question of whether folks are really making a smart trade-off in giving up a lot of useful handling capability in return for towing capacity they probably don’t need.

  • avatar

    Radimus

    Again, your point is noted.

    However, when a Cherokee (or a Pilot, or Ridgeline, or a Rav4, or a CR-V) would sail through the same tests an Envoy would fail miserably at, there’s no real justification for how it handles. Why make it so bad when clearly, the technology is available to make it much better without sacrificing its ruggedness?

    That’s what makes it bad.

    Oh, and, there’s a reason stability control is becoming federally mandated. It’s because most people do not know how differently a truck handles as opposed to a car. It won’t stop them from buying a truck though.

  • avatar
    Jonathon

    “Isn’t this based on the same platform as the ‘mid-sized’ Colorado truck?”

    Nope. The S-10/Sonoma and Blazer/Jimmy were built on slightly different versions of the same platform, but the Trailblazer/Envoy are built on a slightly longer and much wider platform that is completely separate from the Colorado/Canyon. But I’m a little confused by the cited weight of 4967 pounds. Perhaps that’s for the much-longer (and no longer produced) Envoy XL.

    Edited to add: Yup—4967 is the weight of the 4×4 Envoy XL, whose last model year was 2006. It’s a full 16 inches longer than the regular Envoy, which is presumably where the extra 400 pounds comes from.

  • avatar
    radimus

    MW, you’re point is a good one but depending on how much towing or hauling capacity you need the compromise will swing farther from handles-like-it’s-on-rails and closer to handles-like-the-Delta-Queen. It’s just simple physics, and the various electonic compensation systems will only carry that so far.

    Samir, if you want to make the point of the backwardsness of the Envoy I won’t argue. GM is just plain backwards. I’d like to see the tests you mention as while the Cherokee may give the impression of better handling in normal driving I’m having a hard time believing that it would really be any safer. Especially in the scenarios we dicussed earlier.

    I won’t comment on the rest of the vehicles you mention because they really are not the same type of vehicle as an Envoy or Cherokee. The Pilot and Ridgeline are expansions on the Odyssey platform with the only engine available being a 3.5L V6 mounting transversly. Nice trucks, but not in the same class for power and towing. The RAV4 and CR-V and also in a completely different class. Apple SUVs and orange SUVs.

    Oh, and, there’s a reason stability control is becoming federally mandated. It’s because most people do not know how differently a truck handles as opposed to a car. It won’t stop them from buying a truck though.

    Hey, it’s a free country. ESP has it’s limits, though. And as has been demostrated in the past, too often people become emboldened and drive more recklessly thinking that the electronic nanny will bail them out. But there’s no law against stupidity. It’s too good for business.

  • avatar
    Turbo G

    Wasn’t this the MotorTrend SUV of the year a few years ago? Hahahaha

  • avatar
    Slow_Joe_Crow

    Radimus, I think the point of the review is that the Envoy’s handling is bad by the standards of a body on frame truck. Nobody sane expects a 5,000 lb. truck to handle like a Lotus but the trucks I have driven held a straight line well, and responded to steering inputs reasonably quickly. I think the take home here is that if you need a body on frame SUV to tow your boat, camper or whatever, there are many superior choices out there.

  • avatar

    Radimus

    Your continued enthusiasm for commenting is remarkable.

    It is true that the other vehicles are not built in the same way as the Envoy. However, there is an overlap in how/why they are bought and used. Therefore, the comparison is as appropriate as comparing a FWD Acura TSX to a RWD Lexus IS 250.

    Sice you asked, the Jeep Cherokee has a 0.77 skidpad rating and the Envoy has a rating of 0.7-0.72 depending on options and who you ask, which is comparable to the Toyota 4Runner.

  • avatar
    GMrefugee

    My 2002 TrailBlazer EXT was a good truck for everything I needed. Great powertrain, reliable, great ride on the highway. It fit my three kids and the occasional Mother-in-law or cousin. Pulled my camper without a whimper. I still find the exterior design to be decent, although aging.

    Sure, it was a great lease price. Yes, the dash design was awful and I wished it got better mpg.

    So why is GM still producing these trucks? They are built in Moraine, OH by the UAW. GM can either build ‘em and get some money and marketshare or pay the UAW folks to sit in a warehouse and earn 80%+ of their wage anyway.

    Why are folks buying them? To some of us, they look fine, do what we need, and deals can be found. Even bruised bananas look better when marked down.

  • avatar
    jerseydevil

    My friend rented one of these things for a move to NYC a few months ago. I had to hoist myself into it, because it was so tall. It was kinda funny. The space behind the front seats was large when the back seats were put down, so we could haul alot of stuff. It went down the highway easily enough, after I got used to its sheer size (I drive a Golf). It was a little unstable in crosswinds – frankly it was scary – bit it recovered. When I got to NYC from Philly, I had been driving for about 2 hours, and I and it felt fine.

    Would I buy such a vehicle? Absolutely not. Would I rent it again for an apartment move. Absolutely yes.

    I think its the biggest thing I ever drove, tho. I cant imagine there are too many people who actually need one. But then again, how many people actually need a Jaguar convertible, my dreammobile of the week. Needless to say, Id rather have the Jag, and continue to rent the truck if necessary.

  • avatar
    ihatetrees

    Samir, Radimus…

    Excellent (and civilized) back and forth about handling characteristics.

    RE Radimus’ comment:
    Hey, it’s a free country. ESP has it’s limits, though. And as has been demostrated in the past, too often people become emboldened and drive more recklessly thinking that the electronic nanny will bail them out. But there’s no law against stupidity. It’s too good for business.

    Excellent point. One can define tragedy as Financially Strapped Soccer Mom’s ESP failing as her 8 year old, (never maintained) Envoy (full of kids) hits an offramp too fast…

    SUV and Truck driving anecdote: I often parallel park on a wide, one way residential street. I signal my intentions and move to the parking side of the road (leaving plenty of room to pass) before doing so.
    While stopped and checking my rear I’ve observed some truck/SUV drivers tend to
    (1) approach too fast and too close.
    (2) quicky move to the empty side of the road while checking their side mirror.
    (3) oversteer and (then) have to correct when approaching the empty side of the road’s curb.

    This is rare/non-existent behaviour for car drivers…

  • avatar
    Johnster

    Most people who are potential customers for this vehicle cross-shop it with the full-sized GMC Yukon/Chevy Tahoe/Suburban. GM’s full-sized utes do cost more, but they handle and ride better, have nicer interiors, and even more towing capacity. Sure the gas mileage is worse, but not significantly so. Sure they cost more, but not that much more, and the resale value is slightly better.

    If you want a decent tow vehicle, get the full-sized ute. If you want a decent daily driver, get the Acadia.

  • avatar
    zenith

    Never drove one, but rode in the back of one with my wife and a child seat.

    Someone hit the parked Grand Caravan I owned at the time and actually admitted it rather than haul ass into oblivion.

    Enterprise was meeting the wife and me plus another body shop customer with her baby’s seat in tow at the shop to take us to our respective insurance rentals.

    Compared to the much-hated-by -this -site Aztek we own the Envoy that Enterprise sent to haul us from shop to office was huge on the outside and curiously smaller than the Aztek inside. The floor and ceiling were much closer together than on Az, meaning I hit my head getting in and the vehicle interior seemed narrower, to boot.

    My wife, who has ridden with our daughter and our child-seated granddaughter in the back of the Az remarked that this thing was really cramped by comparison.

    Actually, the off-white interior trim didn’t seem that awful, though the chrome “bling” around the vents seemed to be arranged in such a way as to annoy the hell out of our driver.

    Body lean in turns seemed much more pronounced than an Aztek’s as well.

    My Aztek gets an average 22mpg city 3 seasons and 18 in winter weather below +20. AC doesn’t seem to affect mileage, but cold really knocks it down. 14/20 EPA for the Envoy means that if my experience at getting about 15% better than EPA mileage holds true here, my best in an Envoy would be 1.8 mpg lower than my worst in an Aztek.

    Why would anyone want to give up 33% of one’s gas mileage for a “neater-looking” big box SUV that handles worse, accomodates passengers worse, has chrome in glaringly-wrong places.

    The Aztek may be the most controversially-styled GM product, but the build quality on ours is quite good, the interior is spacious, the economy pretty good for a heavy vehicle.

    I vote Trailbazer/Envoy as the worst GM vehicle that I’ve personally experienced thus far.

  • avatar
    dean

    Zenith: if only Pontiac had not deemed it necessary to make the Aztek criminally ugly…

    The Buick Rendezvous, which also does not get a lot of love, at least looked a little better. One wonders if there might have been a market for the Aztek if it came out looking more like the ‘vous.

  • avatar
    theflyersfan

    There’s a reason why I enjoy this site – solid questions and answers without flaming. What a concept!
    I personally think that GM did not go far enough in creating their new crossovers (except in the chrome department…wear sunglasses!) I don’t want to kick companies too much when they are down, but after comparing the specs of the Envoy/Trailblazer to examples like the Envoy/Outlook – the weights are around the same, the third row is still tight, and it still borders on underpowered with crummy mileage? When you go from, say a Pathfinder to Murano or a 4Runner to a Highlander, you will notice the savings at the pump – maybe in excess of 5mpg depending on driving style. However between the GM body-on-frame to crossovers, the mileage savings just aren’t there.
    I do commend GM for finally realizing the truck-frame SUV craze is finally winding down, If they don’t give up following a Toyota/Honda example of constant improvement, they should have a sustained winner. These creossovers just scream for a hybrid or diesel option and if they pull that off (quickly), that is gold for their dealers.
    It took GM so long (and it is still taking Ford and Chrysler ages) to get something that they could hopefully sell with a minimum of cash on the hood. I wonder if GM is starting to sweat a bit as the new Highlander hits the road soon, Mazda is selling a lot of the CX-7′s (at least in Ohio/Indiana/Kentucky), the Murano and Pilot are near the end of the current cycle and BMW and Audi are fielding decent crossovers especially now that BMW has gotten rid of some of the tooth-breaking suspension tuning issues.
    I 100% agree with an earlier comment that GMC/Chevy is begging others to cross-shop when they keep this body-on-frame relic on the lots. They need to hide or destroy all traces of these fossils!!!

    On a lighter note – if you want the ultimate channel-flipping commercial (besides “HEAD-ON”), the HORRID commercial of the flying gas pumps with the annoying remake of “I’ll Stop the World With You” would keep me from that dealer lot…and I used to like that song. Every single bleeping commercial break on FSN Ohio…every one.

  • avatar
    factotum

    I always chuckle to myself when I read the EPA mileage estimates. Are these based on the new methodologies? What I’d like to know is the as tested mileage when the truck is used as it was designed: full of people and their luggage, A/C on, towing a fully-laden trailer (or boat, tent trailer, etc.). I can only imagine the handling characteristics of this vehicle in this state!

    As an aside, when I viewed the first picture in this review, my eye was immediately drawn past the boring, generic gray block of the Envoy to the magnificently engineered stone wall behind. That! is a fine example of beautifully-designed, useful engineering and completely puts the Envoy to shame.

  • avatar
    jerseydevil

    True, the wall behind the truck is beautiful.

  • avatar
    radimus

    Your continued enthusiasm for commenting is remarkable.

    I’m not quite sure how to take that. :)

    It is true that the other vehicles are not built in the same way as the Envoy. However, there is an overlap in how/why they are bought and used. Therefore, the comparison is as appropriate as comparing a FWD Acura TSX to a RWD Lexus IS 250.

    It is, and it isn’t. While someone might buy a Pilot to perform the same function that a Envoy or Cherokee could do, that doesn’t make them equivelent vehicles. As I mentioned, the Pilot is a transversed engined FWD based vehicle with a unibody. The same with the rest of the vehicles you mention, minus the Cherokee. Construction wise, they are very different. Let’s stick to a Envoy vs Pilot comparison just to keep it simple. The Pilot has independant suspensions on both ends, and has the vast majority of its drivetrain sitting at the front wheels and forward. The Envoy is RWD, has a live solid rear axel an indenpendant suspension up front. Because its RWD the drivetrain sits at the front wheels and behind. Weight distribution and handling characteristics are very different between the two. Being the more technologically advanced design, I would expect the Pilot to out handle an Envoy. For a customer who can live within the the 3.5L V6 and 4500 lb towing capacity, why not give the Pilot greater consideration? For the ones who cannot, Pilots, RAV4′s, CR-V’s, etc are off the list. They’ll be shopping the Envoy/Trailblazer, Tahoe/Yukon, Explorer, Expedition, and the big Toyotas.

    I think Johnster hit the nail right on the head. People were cross shopping the Envoy and Trailblazer with the Yukon and Tahoe and deciding on the latter for all the reasons he mentioned. It makes sense that GM is killing off the Envoy in favor of the Acadia and Outlook.

    Since you asked, the Jeep Cherokee has a 0.77 skidpad rating and the Envoy has a rating of 0.7-0.72 depending on options and who you ask, which is comparable to the Toyota 4Runner.

    So it’s a contest between sucks and sucks slightly less. I suspect that those numbers are with the stability control active as well. Even so, at those numbers, if pull a hard panic turn to avoid the deer or catch the off ramp you’re still at high risk of a rollover, stability nanny or no. You have an extra margin of error from the stability control system, but if you torque the center of gravity past the tipping point you’re still going over. The ESP can control the brakes and throttle but it has no control over the steering. In a panic turn most people overcompensate, so the risk of a roll over is still there. Again, it’s a truck so you still need to drive it like one.

    The point made by ihatetrees is also dead on. The other risk of having all these nanny systems is that you can end up in serious straits when they fail. You become accustomed to ABS, and when it’s not working you’re not accustomed to stopping without it. The same can be said of ESP, even though it has the potential to be integrated into the vehicle systems in a much deeper fashion than ABS. If the ECM can control the throttle and the ABS than ESP is nothing more than programming code and a few extra sensors. However, ABS systems have a habit of blinking out and reverting you back to conventional brakes. How well could an ESP perform if it has lost brake control?

  • avatar
    Claude Dickson

    I’m wondering what it takes to get a one-star rating. Do you have to be a TTAC 10 worst to only merit one star???

  • avatar
    blautens

    I own a 2006 TrailBlazer SS, and I wholeheartedly agree with most of the review. The GMT 360 platform makes inefficient use of space (the rear seat is tighter than my 2nd gen CRV and insufficient headroom for driver in models with sunroofs just to name two issues), the build quality is woefully lacking, the interior obviously a product of late 90′s truck designers, and well…like I said, I agree.

    I’m not sure why people buy these typically. I don’t tow (although mine’s rated for 6800 lbs). I rarely put the kids in it except for short trips (our RX330 is far more comfortable for 4 for any lengthy trip). My dog is my most frequent passenger.

    But still – I bought mine because for $27,300, I couldn’t get a RWD V-8 this fast anywhere else new. Plus, it doesn’t hurt my back when I get in and out, unlike the Vette or GTO, the other LS2 powered vehicles I was considering (okay, the GTO).

    And thanks to the substantial amount of LS2 powered performance vehicles, there’s huge aftermarket support for the motor.

    It’s big, cheap, V8, RWD fun, direct competition to the Hemi powered Dodge Charger (a motor which has very little aftermarket support compared to the LS2). GM doesn’t have anything else like it – it’s the spiritual successor to my beloved 1996 Impala SS. And it puts a smile on everyone’s face (except the dog) when you mash on the go pedal. You start shopping for 20 inch replacement tires fairly quickly.

    But the 4.2L 6 cylinder and 5.3L V8 versions? Nahhh…I can barely stomach mine and the crapass dealer network I have to deal with to buy and service it.

  • avatar
    beken

    I’ll have to give kudos to Radimus for putting up a great counterpoint to this article. As good or bad as this truck is, it’s still in the market because somebody still buys em and GM still sees people buying them in the near future.
    Of note also, a count of all those who said the actually drove one, most of you said you leased or rented one. Which gives me the impression that this write-up is totally accurate in your assessment of this vehicle, but there is actually a need for it. There are people out there who actually need this vehicle for the purpose in which it was designed (and built). Okay…the quality could be better, the panels could look nicer. But at what cost? If you were to buy this SUV, there are more expensive ones out there with better build quality, nicer plastics, better seats. But if you only tow your camper or boat out to the lake or moorage once or twice a year, and you have a far better car to drive, would you pay an extra 10K or so for an upgraded Envoy? I hardly think so. Why not just rent it as I need it? So it makes sense for GM to make them cheap and sell them cheap. I’m sure this is one of those cars GM makes money on. It’s low tech and all the infrastructure on the factory to build these antiques have long been amortized and payed off.

    Frankly, I didn’t see the point in even why you did a review on one of these. I would not even consider buying one of these, but I could see how useful they can be at certain times. Good article, good follow-up discussion. That what I love about TTAC.

  • avatar
    William C Montgomery

    radimus: It cracks me up when car guys review and comment on trucks as they still don’t get it. Look, getting all hung up on the qualities of the handling and steering is pointless. It’s a truck, and as such nobody really cares.

    I consider myself a car and a truck guy – and I thing Samir is dead on with this one. I disagree with the notion that truck guys don’t care about handling. Yes, they care about cargo room and towing capacity, as well as ground clearance.

    But handling is also a big concern. Not track handling, but when you are weaving your way through mountains under full load or towing a 5,000 lbs trailer at 65mph, two land highways seem awfully narrow. The handling characteristics of the Envoy and its sister under the skin, TrailBlazer, are dangerously bad. They pitch and roll like a bobblehead doll on top of an agitating clothes washer.

    Buyers, especially those that intend to handle heavy loads, should stay away from these vehicles. The existence of the Saab 9-7x proves that GM can manufacture a good handling machine off this platform.

  • avatar
    ihatetrees

    William C Montgomery: I consider myself a car and a truck guy – and I thing Samir is dead on with this one. I disagree with the notion that truck guys don’t care about handling. Yes, they care about cargo room and towing capacity, as well as ground clearance.

    Excellent point. I’ve driven everything from military 2 1/2 tons to early 70’s pickups – and while trucks will never be Miata’s – I’m amazed at the huge differences between vehicles in the same class. Why does crap handling seem to be engineered IN to some vehicles?

    The handling characteristics of the Envoy and its sister under the skin, TrailBlazer, are dangerously bad. They pitch and roll like a bobblehead doll on top of an agitating clothes washer.

    Yep.

    I don’t post the following lightly… I may even be out of line.

    http://www.buffalonews.com/home/story/108254.html?imw=Y

  • avatar
    radimus

    I did some digging and now suspect that Samir’s and William’s assessment of the Envoy’s handling is most likely not due to isolated events. In the Edmunds review they point out a lot of serious issues:

    http://www.edmunds.com/insideline/do/Drives/FullTests/articleId=47050

    Their test vehicle had a loose ball joint, but after that was fixed they still noticed no improvement in handling. Their tester even had the optional air suspension.

    That’s pretty bad. The fact that GM pulled the rollover warnings is even worse. Not only do you have to make sure your drive it like a truck, you would probably need to drive it like a medium duty truck. No excuse for that at all. My 97 Yukon is no where near that bad and it sits much higher.

  • avatar
    beken

    That’s still a pretty competitive looking truck for 2001. For 2007, it’s strictly for the profit margin. The excuse is, people are still buying them. GM’s marketing philosophy still has not changed. They still do not invest in updating their vehicles as time moves on.

  • avatar
    indi500fan

    FWIW Moraine isn’t UAW, it’s IUE

  • avatar
    blue adidas

    The Envoy has been perfectly suitable for its intended purpose. It’s a fine daily driver and very comfortable. I drove one (actually, it was a Trailblazer) the entire length of Long Island and back and it was very nice. Obviously the interior is trash, but GMs newer interiors are class leading. The Acadia is vastly better in every way. So much so, it will relegate the Envoy into the history books very soon.

  • avatar
    LamborghiniZ

    People only buy these because dealers can’t move them at MSRP, so they sell them at insanely cheap prices, mainly because they are GOD AWFUL vehicles as you so accurately pointed out! Good review dog!

  • avatar
    davey49

    sales of the TB/Envoy were above 250K units per year. Someone likes them.
    Seems nice enough for me. I’m not so car OCD as a lot of people on the web.

  • avatar
    davey49

    ihatetrees- are you saying that the driver of the TB would not have crashed if she was driving an Explorer or 4runner or Durango or Commander?
    I’m guessing no seatbelts either.

  • avatar
    ihatetrees

    davey49:
    Any of the truck based SUV’s you mentioned would be a problem in the hands of an inexperienced driver – although I suspect the TB/Envoy more so than others. I’m only familiar with (and fond of) Exploders – they handle well (for trucks). Again, these vehicles aren’t appropriate for inexperienced drivers.

    Your guess regarding seatbelts is just that. Head-on into a tractor-trailer at highway speeds equals death-even-with-seatbelts.

    A thought: TTAC could use a series on “How an enthusiast teaches his/her teenager to drive.”

  • avatar
    OhMyGoat

    A co-worker recently purchased an ’04(?) Envoy after totaling her Suzuki XL-7 while attempting to avoid an idiot who lost control of her car. Looks like it’s in great shape (complete with big chrome rims which she hates) and got a great(?) deal on it, but after reading this review I hope she never finds herself in another evasive maneuver situation with this tank. Guess I’d better not point out this review to her…

    As far as build quality goes, if this is any indication I was looking her Envoy yesterday and by gosh, you can actually see the difference in gaps between the leading and trailing edges of the doors.

  • avatar
    jfoxwi78

    So what vehicle do you like? I drive a Chevrolet Trailblazer…not much different than the Envoy…and don’t think it’s outdated…I don’t think Ford or Chrysler has done any better? What do you want to see in a vehicle. You do very well telling what you don’t like about it…but don’t say what you like or make recommendations of what you would change.

  • avatar

    jfoxwi78:

    The Envoy is beyond saving. I wouldn’t change a thing, I’d stop selling it! There are better propositions to tow, to go off road, to haul people.

    Since you asked what I liked, the GM vehicles I like at the moment are the Silverado, Avalanche and Corvette.

    None of their passenger cars are up to snuff, in my opinion. The closest to being competitive are the Aura and the G6.

    The Cobalt SS is pretty hot, but it’s being discontinued in the current supercharged form.

  • avatar

    TheHammer: Is that the same as $5,000 in incentives that Toyota is dumping on their new slow selling Turdra? I'm not sure why you feel compelled to make this point on three posts, but there are a few points worth mentioning. 1. The Tundra is not slow-selling, June sales were up 146%. They're on track to meet their 200k per annum target. Obviously, the incentives helped. It's what they're supposed to do. 2. Even if you dispute the above, Toyota can afford incentives. GM can't.  3. As I stated previously, Toyota's major mistake in this regard: their product mix. Now that they've increased production of the larger truck with the larger engine, the incentives will slow.

  • avatar
    dak56

    It’s always good to see a royal bashing 5 years after a model is released. Rewind back to 2002 when the Envoy achieved Motor Trends SUV of the year or truck of the year whatever, compared to it’s similiar market, it did what it was supposed to do. Granted the newer models have a few more ponies but look at the facts…..270 HP, almost 5,000 lbs in 4WD trim, and hits 60 MPH in the 8′s, what are you looking for…..40 MPG, gimme a break. What else in 2002 could do this while tow 6300 LBS and ride, QUIET, the models with the Michelin Cross-Terrains are very quiet. Like the other poster stated…you buy this for space, towing, and you don’t want a big full-size Yukon. Now that you have current RAV 4′s, RX 330′s, and other MODERN mid-size SUV’s, the dated envoy platform is a bit out of it’s league. The others mentioned won’t be hauling 6300 lbs without their frames twisted believe me. I’m not saying there are’nt much better alternatives to the trailblazer/envoy, but smart buyers who research before they buy, know what they are getting beforehand. Full length, very rigid truck frame, smooth engine, decent towing capacity, choice of V8 power…sorry, give me a plastic interior that doesn’t rattle (for a change) over a cheap grocery-getting uni-body that twists and creaks when you try to pull jet-ski. Believe me, I would love to get the designers in a room for about 30 min and ask them what were they thinking on alot of things…but oh-well, works for me, and getting 17/22 MPG ain’t too bad considering the power and weight of this thing. When the Acadia is 5 years old…it will get bashed also. You don’t like it…don’t but it, should have rented one for a few days before you bought it…smart people do this if they don’t know what they want, 2 days rent is better than depreciation. Too embarrassed to drive a mini-van, can’t get a full-size in your garage or a parking space? Go buy your $55,000 GX470, I’ll save 20 grand and still get to the park at the same time you do.

  • avatar

    dak56: It’s always good to see a royal bashing 5 years after a model is released. Rewind back to 2002 It's now 2007 and the Envoy is exactly the same as it was when it was introduced in 2002.  It was hardly a class-leader then. The competition has improved. The Envoy has stagnated. the Envoy achieved Motor Trends SUV of the year or truck of the year whatever, compared to it’s similiar market, it did what it was supposed to do. And in 1963, when the Rambler American "achieved" MT's Car of the Year, "compared to it’s similiar market, it did what it was supposed to do." BUT Rambler/AMC didn't make any substantial changes in it as the competition from Europe and Japan became more sophisticated. Where is AMC now? Exactly where GM will be in a few years if they don't wake up and realize in today's market you can't keep selling a run-of-the-mill five-year-old design and remain competitive. When the Acadia is 5 years old…it will get bashed also. And deservedly so, if GM lets it rot on the vine like they do all their other decent designs. GM sees vehicles like the Acadia as the end point. Toyota et al see them as a starting point — and therein lies the secret of their success.

  • avatar
    gmcEnvoylover

     The envoys are loved by their owners. The 4.2 I6 makes more power than any other comparable 6 cylinder and more power than many V8's. The ride in incredibly smooth! it looks outstanding(like a small DENALI)? Great turning radius, great build quality. strong and reliable engines. 4X4 and all wheel drive. great interior: dual zone climate control, Panasonic dvd player, memory everything, sun roof, comfortable 10 way power heated seats, onstar! 

  • avatar
    inthemountains

    I bought a 2002 envoy with 141000 miles on it in 2010. It look like it had been abused for most of its life. I put a few hundered dollars into this beast along with alot of elbow grease. what I got in return was really surprising.The interior cleaned up really well, the body needed a good buffing and a wax job and relpaced some parts that a previous onwer removed. What I have now is one of the best overall vehicle i’ve ever had. I have had new a silverado,ford f-250 Deisel crew cab, new mitsubishi eclipse, new subaru outback. This envoy is the best of all worlds. My wife liked my so much she sold her 2007 durango to by a 2003 envoy. So now we have two and we both love our suvs. And the do coner good enough if you know how to drive. I drive a canyon road close to my house and I keep up, and somtimes pass xovers. On the 2003 0-60 6.77 sec. I live in Montana and this suv is perfect for here. And there are alot of envoys and trailblazer here as well. They pull the passes with trailes with ease. Also this suv has personality. LOVE THIS SUV

  • avatar
    joynercon@msn.com

    I like my 2002 envoy. I use it for ski trips, rock climbing trips, mountain biking trips all in Colorado, 12 months a year. As soon as we hear that my kid has a snow day off school we are off through 13000′ mountain passes in blizzards to get to the back country pow. Never gotten stuck. It is now 10 years old with 89K miles. Never performed anything but routine maintenance (I do diligently). I find comfort good. power good, milage 17 mpg. Handling is truck like. This has helped me as my lovely wife crashed my Audi Quattro 4 time in 7 years. Totaled it the last time. My driveway is steep, long, snowy, and twisty. Two of her 4 destruction incidences were on my driveway. The Envoy has a real transfer case and 4 wheel drive not all wheel drive (that is really two wheel drive; one front and one rear). This allows her to put it in first gear, four wheel low and its top speed is about 6 mph. perfect to get down my nightmare driveway. The click it into 4wd high for the trip. I believe the Audi’s great power and handling caused her to exceed her ability and crash. The Envoy is rugged and will get you through, but it doesn’t encourage you to drive it like a race car.


Back to TopLeave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Subscribe without commenting

Recent Comments

New Car Research

Get a Free Dealer Quote

Staff

  • Authors

  • Brendan McAleer, Canada
  • Marcelo De Vasconcellos, Brazil
  • Matthias Gasnier, Australia
  • W. Christian 'Mental' Ward, Abu Dhabi
  • Mark Stevenson, Canada
  • Faisal Ali Khan, India