- Reasonably smooth ride
- Relatively low loading height and step-up for a truck
- Solid towing ability
- Noisy interior, coarse engine sound
- Doesn’t handle well
- Not as safe as newer crossover designs
The 2009 GMC Envoy is only somewhat suited to hauling passengers from point A to point B. But if you tow frequently, the Envoy might still make sense.
With the 2009 Envoy, General Motors’ GMC brand—known for its neatly styled, comfortable work trucks—offers a truck-based SUV that is closely related to the Chevrolet TrailBlazer, the Buick Rainier, and the Saab 9-7X. The 2009 GMC Envoy is not as good at hauling passengers as other options, but it tackles towing fairly respectably.
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. Both engines can be equipped with either rear- or four-wheel drive. The Envoy's maximum tow rating is 6,600 pounds. 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. The V-8 is also easier to tolerate day to day, as the six is smooth in operation but generates a coarse drone in the cabin.
The 2009 GMC Envoy has reasonably comfortable seating, but road and engine noise is prominent. 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 Interior appointments feel rather outdated, and the drab materials lack a high-quality feel. 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. A few new exterior colors are available for 2009.
The top-of-the-line 2009 GMC Envoy Denali model gets a seemingly endless list of additional equipment, including upgraded mechanicals and plush luxury features, such as 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. Major options include a navigation system, a sunroof, and DVD entertainment for the backseat. XM Satellite Radio is now standard across the line, and hands-free Bluetooth technology is at last offered.
The 2009 GMC Envoy has been hit-and-miss in crash-test performance. The 2009 GMC Envoy maintained five-star results from the feds in side-impact protection, but it 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 IIHS tests, the Envoy was given "acceptable" ratings for frontal protection, "marginal" for side protection (unusual for an SUV), and "poor" for rear impact. GM's StabiliTrak stability control and anti-lock brakes are standard; curtain airbags were made standard for '08.