GMC Envoy - The Power of General Motors
The Envoy nameplate made its first appearance as a luxury trim line of the GMC Jimmy SUV, itself a clone of the Chevrolet Blazer. This version used a 190 hp (142 kW) 4.3L L35 Vortec 4300 V6, and was retired after the 2000 model year. Unlike the Chevrolet Blazer, the GMC Jimmy was no longer produced starting in 2001. Being the top trim of the Jimmy line, the Envoy had many extra features not available on the regular Jimmy, including a remote trunk release, HID headlamps, both heated exterior mirrors and front seats, as well as a Bose audio system. Optional features included a power moonroof, a locking differential, and a power front passenger seat.
The five-passenger Envoy XUV, introduced in 2003, was an attempt to create a combination of pickup truck and SUV. It featured a retractable rear roof section that slid forward, giving an open-topped load area. A 'MidGate' could be raised to partition the load area off from the passenger compartment; this was a solid, waist-height plastic-lined panel and with a retractable glass partition for the top half. The two-way tailgate could either hinge sideways or drop down; the tailgate glass retracted into the solid tailgate. The cargo area was waterproofed and fitted with a drainage system, allowing it to be easily hosed down for cleaning.
The advantage of the Envoy XUV over a pickup truck or a more truck-like configuration such as the Chevrolet Avalanche (which originated the MidGate feature) is that with retractable roof and rear glass closed, the cargo area is sealed, full roof height and lockable, thus making it an enclosed SUV. The disadvantages include a much shorter cargo bed area and breakable side glass. The Envoy XUV's retractable roof was reminiscent of the Studebaker Wagonaire of the 1960s. With the 2009 Envoy, General Motors' GMC brand - known for its neatly styled, comfortable work trucks-offers a truck-based SUV that is closely related to the Chevrolet TrailBlazer, the Buick Rainier, and the Saab 9-7X. The 2009 GMC Envoy is not as good at hauling passengers as other options, but it tackles towing fairly respectably.
Performance from the Envoy's standard 291-horsepower, 4.2-liter six-cylinder engine is adequate for most needs, though it's not particularly perky from a standstill. Both engines can be equipped with either rear- or four-wheel drive. The Envoy's maximum tow rating is 6,600 pounds. The 300-hp, 5.3-liter V-8 that's standard on top Denali models and optional through the rest of the lineup is strongly recommended for towing, as it has plenty of power on reserve, works especially well with the four-speed automatic transmission, and doesn't have any real-world fuel-economy penalty versus the six, due to the fitment of GM's Active Fuel Management technology on the V-8. The V-8 is also easier to tolerate day to day, as the six is smooth in operation but generates a coarse drone in the cabin.
The top-of-the-line 2009 GMC Envoy Denali model gets a seemingly endless list of additional GMC Envoy Accessories, including upgraded mechanicals and plush luxury features, such as a load-leveling rear suspension, upgraded wheels and tires, a stronger alternator, a luggage rack, heated mirrors, power heated leather seats, dual-zone climate control, steering-wheel controls, power-adjustable pedals, and Bose speakers. Major options include a navigation system, a sunroof, and DVD entertainment for the backseat. XM Satellite Radio is now standard across the line, and hands-free Bluetooth technology is at last offered.
The 2009 GMC Envoy has been hit-and-miss in crash-test performance. The 2009 GMC Envoy maintained five-star results from the feds in side-impact protection, but it earned just three stars-the lowest score typically awarded-in the federal government's frontal crash tests for driver protection and four stars for passenger protection. And in IIHS tests, the Envoy was given "acceptable" ratings for frontal protection, "marginal" for side protection (unusual for an SUV), and "poor" for rear impact. GM's StabiliTrak stability control and anti-lock brakes are standard; curtain airbags were made standard for '08.