2006 Envoy XL New Car Test Drive
The GMC Envoy features a broad lineup of versatile, sophisticated, and highly capable SUVs. About a dozen different variants are available, including the luxurious Denali.
The standard Envoy is a five-passenger SUV with two rows of comfortable seats. The SLE and SLT models are compelling alternatives to the Ford Explorer and other mid-size SUVs. Stable and responsive with excellent road manners, the Envoy comes with a smooth, powerful inline six-cylinder engine that has been updated for 2006.
The Envoy Denali is equipped with a more powerful V8 engine that improves its performance and increases its cargo-hauling and trailer-towing capability. This optional 5.3-liter V8 features GM's Displacement on Demand technology, which idles half the cylinders when cruising to enhance fuel economy. Denali is also upgraded with luxury features and special trim, including 18-inch aluminum wheels for 2006.
The extra-long Envoy XL models are considerably longer, allowing seven-passenger seating and greater hauling versatility. Because it's longer and heavier, the XL doesn't handle as well as the Envoy nor does it feel as reassuring as the wider GMC Yukon. In short, we much prefer the Envoy and Yukon over the Envoy XL, though the latter does represent a value proposition.
Safety gets a major addition for 2006, as all Envoys come equipped with GM's StabiliTrak electronic stability control with Proactive Roll Avoidance. This system uses selective wheel braking and compensating shock absorber adjustments to help maintain vehicle control on slick and uneven road surfaces, as well as during emergency lane changes or avoidance maneuvers. It's a great system.
GMC Envoy and Envoy XL are available in SLE, SLT, and Denali trim, each with a choice of two-wheel drive or four-wheel drive ($2,250). Envoy and Envoy XL models come with the six-cylinder Vortec 4200 engine. Denali models are equipped with the 5.3-liter V8. All models come with a four-speed automatic transmission.
Envoy SLE ($28,590) and Envoy XL SLE ($29,920) come with cloth upholstery, manually controlled dual-zone air conditioning, CD stereo, power windows and locks, keyless entry, an electric rear window defogger, 17-inch aluminum wheels and fog lights. An SLE Enhanced Package ($970) adds an eight-way power driver's seat, an overhead console with Homelink transmitter, illuminated vanity mirrors, and a compass in the rearview mirror.
Envoy SLT ($32,125) and Envoy XL SLT ($33,425) get leather upholstery, automatic climate control, eight-way power seats for driver and passenger with memory on the driver's side, a driver information center, audio controls on the steering wheel, separate rear-seat audio controls, heated outside mirrors with turn signals, a machined finish for the aluminum wheels, and other features.
Denali ($36,435) and Denali XL ($37,865) upgrade with a premium leather interior, unique styling cues, new 18-inch aluminum wheels, and all of the features of the SLT.
(The XUV, with its dual-function tailgate, retractable roof and hose-out cargo bay, has been discontinued.)
Options (and there are a lot of them) include power-adjustable pedals ($150), tilt-and-slide sunroof ($800), automatic load-leveling rear suspension ($375), DVD entertainment ($1,295), XM Satellite Radio ($325), and OnStar telecommunications ($695). Navigation ($1,995) and a Bose premium sound system ($495) are available for SLT models, along with an MP3 player. Discount packages bundle the sunroof with various audio and entertainment options. The 2WD models can be ordered with a locking rear differential ($270) and traction control ($175).
Safety features include anti-lock brakes (ABS) as standard equipment on all models. Head-curtain and side-impact airbags are optional ($495).