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PERFORMANCE | 6 out of 10
rivals the Ford Explorer in passing power
unstressed in routine driving
Kelley Blue Book
TheCarConnection.com's experts see few complaints--or raves--about the 2008 GMC Envoy's performance.
Cars.com reports that the GMC "Envoy's 4.2-liter inline-six-cylinder makes 285 horsepower," while the "Envoy Denalis feature a 300-hp, 5.3-liter V-8"; with these capabilities, the GMC Envoy "rivals the Ford Explorer in passing power," they contend. Edmunds acknowledges "the most enjoyable aspect of the Envoy [GMC] is its peppy performance that comes by way of its brawny engine lineup." Kelley Blue Book advises that the "[very impressive] 4.2-liter in-line six-cylinder engine is all the [GMC] Envoy needs, unless it will be towing something really big." If this is the case, this source recommends the larger engine, which "delivers a little more horsepower and a usable increase in torque, and at lower engine speeds."
According to Cars.com, "all [Envoy GMC] models use a four-speed automatic transmission." Few sources comment on the drivetrain, except for ConsumerGuide, which reports "the transmission is smooth and responsive."
Because the 2008 GMC Envoy is powered by large engines, one should not expect stellar gasoline mileage. EPA estimates for the smaller inline-six are 14 mpg city and 20 mpg highway; the larger V-8 gets 1 mpg less on both counts. ConsumerGuide testing indicates "a 2WD Denali averaged 15.2 mpg."
Handling and steering elicit praise from some sources. Cars.com reports that the 2008 GMC Envoy "rivals the Ford Explorer in ride comfort and handling prowess" and says that the "regular-suspension Envoy rides similar to a car on smooth surfaces." This source adds "handling is on the slow side, but the SUV has a satisfying steering feel."
Edmunds suggests that "the steering offers little in the way of road feel, and handling is sloppy around corners due to the overly soft suspension," but "off-road, the Envoy is capable of tackling the moderate terrain owners are likely to encounter while accessing trailheads and campsites." Kelley Blue Book also praises the Envoy GMC's off-road capabilities, saying, "Extreme lean and dive are kept in check by the complex five-link rear suspension and double A-arms up front...[offering] a car-like ride but still has the ground clearance and suspension settings to take it far off-road." ConsumerGuide reports that the Envoy GMC's "brakes have good stopping control but spongy pedal action."
TheCarConnection.com’s editors observe that the 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-horsepower, 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.
In TheCarConnection.com’s opinion, the 2008 GMC Envoy’s ride is quite soft, but can be bouncy on the roughest roads; its handling isn't very crisp or secure, either. Both engines can be equipped with either rear- or four-wheel drive. The Envoy's maximum tow rating is 6,600 pounds.
The 2008 GMC Envoy’s V-8 engine is the best choice for towing, and fuel economy’s not that much worse than the inline-six. Handling is soft—too soft.