The GMC Envoy got its start as the luxury trim level for the venerable Jimmy and is considered to be one of the more successful American midsize SUVs over the last decade. It premiered for 1998 as a midsize SUV constructed on the GMT360 platform along with the Oldsmobile Bravada, Chevy Trailblazer, Buick Rainier, and Isuzu Ascender. It was initially equipped with a 4.3L Vortec V6 engine capable of 190 horsepower. Since it was designated as a luxury version of the Jimmy, it showcased upscale features such as heated seats, a remote trunk release, HID headlights, and a Bose stereo system. The Jimmy was discontinued heading into 2001, effectively putting the Envoy trim on hiatus. However, GMC reintroduced the model for the 2002 model year.
The second-generation of the GMC Envoy made its way into showrooms in 2002. The base engine is a 4.2L inline six-cylinder rated at 270 horsepower with 275 pounds-per-foot of torque. A slight increase in horsepower came in 2003, upping it to 275, but 2006 is when the horsepower really took a turn upwards thanks to a redesign of the Vortec engine, resulting in a new height of 291 hp. An extended wheelbase version of the Envoy, the XL, made its way into the lineup in 2003. The XL was a full-size version of the Envoy and showed off a third row and a high roof line to accommodate the seating. The XL was outfitted with a 5.3L V8 engine mated to a four-speed automatic transmission. Also introduced in 2003 was the Envoy XUV, which combined elements of a pickup truck with that of an SUV, ala the Chevy Avalanche. 2005 welcomed in the Denali trim for the Envoy, available for the standard model as well as the XL. Luxury features like heated power seats and rain-sensing wipers are highlighted, as is a 5.3L V8 Displacement on Demand engine, which shuts down four of the eight cylinders when they aren't necessary in order to conserve fuel. Also in 2005, the XUV was discontinued due to disappointing sales.
In 2007, GMC decided to stop production on the XL version of the Envoy. Without the XL and XUV, the Envoy became offered only as a five-passenger SUV. It is now available in three primary trim levels: SLE, SLT, and Denali. The SLE is considered the base trim and is equipped with dual-zone air conditioning, a CD stereo system, 17" wheels, and a trailer hitch. The SLT offers a bit more in the way of luxury, including leather upholstery and an upgraded Bose stereo. The Envoy Denali takes it a step further with the standard V8 engine, laminated glass, and insulated cabin to make for quieter traveling. In 2009, Bluetooth was added as standard for all Envoys. However, following the 2009 model year, GMC phased out the Envoy, replacing it in the lineup with the Acadia, which was built using some of the GMC Envoy parts. Although production of the GMC Envoy has been halted, it has been nothing short of a successful midsize SUV for the automaker. Since its debut, the Envoy has enjoyed recognition from around the industry, including being named Motor Trend magazine's Sport Utility of the Year (2002) and a Consumer Guide Recommended Buy (2004).
Known for its solid performance and comfortable interior, the GMC Envoy is a special midsize SUV popular to a wide range of drivers. Enough space to stow an expansive amount of cargo without presenting "van-like" emptiness, extended families to young couples get exactly what they need out of the logically arranged cabin. The GMC Envoy also employs responsive handling and a quiet ride, permitting a nice luxurious air of drivability. Add on to that the shapely exterior and you have yourself one significant vehicle with a versatile sense of style.
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