GMC revived the Envoy name for 2002 on a brand-new midsize model related to the Chevrolet TrailBlazer. A five-passenger Envoy arrived first, but GMC soon added an extended-length seven-passenger Envoy XL that featured three rows of seats.
For 2005, Envoy XLs can be equipped with a version of the 5.3-liter V-8 that operates with Displacement on Demand technology to improve fuel economy. A passenger-sensing system goes into the right front seat, and General Motors' OnStar communication system gains upgraded hands-free capability.
New upscale Denali editions of the Envoy and Envoy XL debuted for 2005. Styling differences include honeycomb grilles and an integrated air dam to channel air to the engine. Denali models get Nuance leather seats with French seam stitching, and the front seats are heated.
An Envoy XUV with a power-sliding rear roof debuted for 2004; it's listed separately in the cars.com Research section.
A shield-shaped grille helps give the four-door Envoy a distinct identity. Cast-aluminum wheels hold 17-inch tires. A rear load-leveling suspension is available. The five-passenger Envoy rides on a 113-inch wheelbase, measures 191.6 inches long overall and stands 71.9 inches tall. The extended-wheelbase Envoy XL rides a 129-inch wheelbase, stretches to 207.6 inches long overall and is 3.6 inches taller.
As many as five occupants can fit inside the Envoy, which contains reclining front bucket seats and a split-folding rear seat. The Envoy XL seats up to seven with its additional folding two-place third-row seat. The Envoy XL's maximum cargo volume is 107.4 cubic feet, versus 80.1 cubic feet in the shorter Envoy. XM Satellite Radio and a DVD-based entertainment system are optional. Power-adjustable pedals are available.
Under the Hood
Envoy SLE and SLT models are equipped with a 275-horsepower, 4.2-liter inline-six-cylinder. SLE and SLT Envoy XLs come standard with the six-cylinder but can be equipped with an optional 300-hp, 5.3-liter V-8 that uses Displacement on Demand technology. Denali editions come only with the 5.3-liter V-8, but the engine lacks Displacement on Demand when installed in the Envoy Denali. All models use a four-speed-automatic transmission. Envoys have either rear-wheel drive or Autotrac four-wheel drive, which incorporates a two-speed transfer case.
All-disc antilock brakes are standard. Side curtain-type airbags are optional.
GMC's Envoy rivals the Ford Explorer and Mercury Mountaineer in passing power, ride comfort and handling prowess. While tromping on the gas to pass, the inline-six exudes confidence. Not only is engine sound barely noticeable, but road noise is also virtually absent.
The regular-suspension Envoy rides similar to a car on smooth surfaces. The ride softens, but not dramatically, with the available load-leveling suspension. Handling is on the slow side, but the SUV has a satisfying steering feel. An extra-smooth ride is part of the Envoy XL's attraction, but quite a bit of body roll is evident.