2003 Envoy New Car Test Drive
All-new last year, GMC Envoy has become a standard for mid-size sport utilities. Envoy is smooth, stable, and responsive. It comes with a smooth, powerful inline six-cylinder that gives up nothing to the Ford Explorer's available V8. Envoy carries five people in comfort with two rows of seats.
Envoy XL can carry seven passengers and is available with a V8 engine. XL is a stretched, long-wheelbase version of the Envoy. Its third row adds versatility. XL lacks the response and stability of the standard Envoy, however.
GMC Envoy shares its chassis and engine with the Chevrolet TrailBlazer, Buick Rainier, and Oldsmobile Bravada. Each boasts unique styling, however. Envoy has conservative, upmarket styling. The GMC offers more features than the Chevy.
GMC Envoy comes in two lengths, Envoy and Envoy XL. Each is available in SLE or SLT trim. Each is available with a choice of two- or four-wheel drive. Long-wheelbase models are called Envoy XL and are 16 inches longer overall to provide a third row of seats for seven-passenger capacity.
All Envoys come standard with the Vortec 4200, an all-new six-cylinder engine introduced for 2002. This sophisticated 4.2-liter inline-6 uses dual overhead camshafts, four valves per cylinder, and variable phasing for the exhaust cam to produce 275 horsepower, best by a wide margin in a class that includes Ford and Jeep V8s. Its torque output is impressive at 275 pounds-feet. It's an excellent engine.
A 5.3-liter overhead-valve V8 is available for Envoy XL that develops 290 horsepower and 325 pounds-feet of torque. Equipped with the V8, a 2WD Envoy XL can tow 7,200 pounds (7,000 pounds with 4WD).
SLE ($28,245) is the base trim level and includes slightly less standard equipment this year than last. SLE is still well equipped, with dual-zone air conditioning, CD stereo, anti-lock brakes, power windows and locks, keyless entry, 17-inch aluminum wheels and fog lights. The SLE interior has splashes of brushed nickel on the console and instrument panel, while SLT gets wood trim with nickel trim rings. Envoy XL SLE ($30,545) is equipped similarly.
SLT ($33,095) adds luxury conveniences such as leather upholstery, automatic climate control, separate rear-seat audio controls, power seats with memory, and OnStar telecommunications. SLT also adds a driver information center, light-sensitive outside mirrors with turn signals, and more controls on the steering wheel. Envoy XL SLT ($34,895) is equipped similarly.
Options include Bose premium sound system, headlamp washers, rain-sensing wipers, and TravelNote digital recorder. Also available is a rear seat DVD entertainment system ($1000), with a seven-inch flip-down screen and wireless headphones.
Four-wheel drive adds about $2225 to any model.