2008 GMC Envoy Review

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The Car Connection Expert Review

Marty Padgett Marty Padgett Editorial Director
July 2, 2008

If you have a load to pull on a regular basis, the 2008 GMC Envoy might make sense. Otherwise, you can do better when hauling passengers.

TheCarConnection.com’s vehicle experts have sampled what other critics have had to say regarding the 2008 GMC Envoy. Then the editors at TheCarConnection.com have incorporated their own driving impressions and firsthand experience with the vehicle, to make this review especially useful.

The Envoy is GMC's mid-size sport-utility vehicle, closely related to the Chevrolet TrailBlazer, Buick Rainier, and Saab 9-7X. Unlike many new utility vehicles, the 2008 GMC Envoy has traditional truck-based underpinnings, which make it better suited for towing but less proficient at hauling passengers than car-based crossovers.

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. The 2008 GMC Envoy is also rather coarse-sounding from inside the cabin. 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. Both engines can be equipped with either rear- or four-wheel drive. The Envoy's maximum tow rating is 6,600 pounds.

The extended-length XL models are no longer offered, so all Envoys have two rows of seating for five, but the overall interior space is disappointing compared to more modern designs. The ride is quite soft, but can be bouncy on the roughest roads; its handling isn't very crisp or secure, either. Interior appointments feel rather outdated and materials lack luster or a high-quality feel. The 2008 GMC Envoy has reasonably comfortable seating, but road and engine noise are prominent.

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The top-of-the-line 2008 GMC Envoy Denali model gets a seemingly endless list of additional equipment, including upgraded mechanicals and plush luxury features, including 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. XM Satellite Radio is now standard across the line. Major options include a navigation system, a sunroof, and DVD entertainment for the backseat.

Crash-test performance for the 2008 GMC Envoy has been hit-and-miss. The Envoy 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 the IIHS tests, the Envoy was given Acceptable ratings for frontal protection, Marginal for side protection (unusual for an SUV), and Poor for rear impact. However, it maintains five-star results from the feds in side-impact protection. GM's StabiliTrak stability control and anti-lock brakes are standard; curtain airbags are newly standard for '08.

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