This year, even if you ignore the demise of Pontiac and the uncertain future of Saturn, and Hummer, there's already going to be a very noticeable difference at Chevrolet and GMC dealerships: the 2009 Chevrolet Trailblazer and 2009 GMC Envoy are gone, and they're not coming back for 2010.
That's right; those once top-selling mid-size SUVs have seen a big decline in interest along with a slow and quiet death over the past couple of years. GM discontinued the three-row Trailblazer EXT and Envoy XL models after 2006 and all but confirmed the demise of their shorter counterparts models around that time—though they soldiered on for nearly three years. And then the Trailblazer and Envoy continued for a year or two while their replacements—the Chevrolet Traverse and GMC Acadia—had already gone on sale.
Quite honestly, we won't miss those discontinued trucks much at all. They were outclassed in nearly every respect, and were among the lowest-rated SUVs by TheCarConnection.com for 2009, with an overall score of just 6.4. Although GM had done a decent job keeping them updated with features, they were woefully behind the curve in safety and relatively noisy and unrefined inside, and they looked stuck in the '90s.
Fortunately, the Traverse and Acadia, along with the Saturn Outlook and Buick Enclave that are closely related, have been excellent replacements. While they haven't sold quite as well as we would have expected, they're attractively designed, roomy, safe, and very comfortable. And surprisingly, they basically match the Envoy's towing ability.
TheCarConnection.com just posted updated Full Reviews, along with Bottom Line assessments—for the 2010 Buick Enclave and 2010 GMC Acadia, which return with no major changes. And that's just fine; according to the editors here at TheCarConnection.com, along with other reviewers and our colleagues in the automotive media. In repeated drives, these vehicles continue to impress with their low-key but luxurious styling, high-quality feel, smooth ride, and refined character.
Some might wish for a little stronger acceleration, and TheCarConnection.com has noticed hesitant behavior from the six-speed automatic transmission and noted somewhat disappointing fuel economy, but the 288-horsepower, 3.6-liter direct-injection V-6 will do just fine for most families, whether with the front-wheel drive or available all-wheel drive.
Overall, we say that the curvy 2010 Buick Enclave takes on the 2010 Lexus RX 350, yet provides a luxurious, uniquely American interior while the slightly more traditional-looking 2010 GMC Acadia is equally attractive in its own right and strikes a much better balance overall when compared to full-size SUVs. In both cases, these vehicles have spacious seven-passenger seating.
Most noteworthy on these models for 2010 are new wheel designs—including newly optional 20-inch chrome wheels on the Acadia, and on both models a new USB port that interfaces with personal media players and charges them.
Prices have stayed virtually the same at the entry level for both the 2010 GMC Acadia and 2010 Buick Enclave, while their top-of-the-line SLT2 and CXL models have risen steeply but gained more standard equipment.