2007 GMC Envoy

Rating

68/100

Background

The GMC Envoy nameplate dates back to the late 1990s when it debuted as a luxury trim level of the now defunct GMC Jimmy. A few years later, GMC ditched the Jimmy name completely and introduced the all-new Envoy. A corporate twin of the Chevrolet TrailBlazer, the two midsize SUVs share much of their mechanical hardware. The differentiation comes about mainly through the Envoy’s altered exterior styling, more upscale interior and additional standard features.Now in its sixth year, the current Envoy is still an attractive SUV in terms of design and features. It follows the traditional approach to SUV design, which means it has a truck-based ladder-frame chassis and either rear-wheel drive (2WD) or four-wheel drive (4WD) with low-range gearing. Luxury and performance features, such as a navigation system, DVD system and stability control are fully up to date. For power, the truck has either an inline 6-cylinder engine or a larger V8, and either one is suitable for towing trailers or boats.Though competent, the 2007 GMC Envoy ultimately doesn’t measure up to its competitors. While its handsome styling and roomy interior may attract consumers, GMC needs to sweat the details a little more. Straight-line performance is satisfying thanks to the powerful engines and alert transmissions, but there should be a better balance between cushy drive quality and confident handling; specifically, the Envoy should lose some of the former to gain some of the latter. And although the cabin, with its convincing faux wood trim and metallic accents, appears to be nicely finished at first blush, closer scrutiny reveals lower-grade plastics fitted to the dash and door panels. The midsize SUV class is populated with extremely capable vehicles. Compared with such standouts as the Ford Explorer/Mercury Mountaineer twins and the Toyota 4Runner, the Envoy earns only “also-ran” status.

Drive

On the road, the Envoy delivers a well-cushioned drive that most shoppers will like. Unfortunately, the steering offers little in the way of road feel, and handling is sloppy around corners due to the overly soft suspension. Off-road, the Envoy is capable of tackling the moderate terrain owners are likely to encounter while accessing trailheads and campsites. Ultimately, the most enjoyable aspect of the 2007 GMC Envoy is its peppy performance that comes by way of its brawny engine lineup.

Exterior

The 2007 GMC Envoy is a midsize SUV that seats five and comes in three trim levels: SLE, SLT and Denali. SLE versions come with 17-inch alloy wheels, dual-zone manual air-conditioning, a CD player, full power accessories, keyless entry and OnStar telematics. Envoy SLT models have additional luxury features including a power driver seat with memory, a trip computer, automatic climate control, leather seating and steering-wheel-mounted sound controls. The Denali adds unique trim inside and out, as well as 18-inch alloy wheels, power-adjustable pedals, heated seats, power passenger seat and a Bose sound system.One can upgrade the SLE by way of various option packages, such as the SLE-2 package that includes an auto-dimming rearview mirror, a power driver seat, a roof rack, an overhead console and power-folding heated side mirrors. The Sun and Sound Package (also available on the upper trims) adds a Bose sound system with a six-disc CD changer and a sunroof. Many of the additional standard features on the SLT and Denali can also be fitted to the SLE. Optional on all trims are a rear-seat DVD entertainment system, XM satellite radio and the sunroof. Only the SLT and Denali are eligible for a load-leveling rear suspension and a navigation system.

Interior

Inside, the Envoy’s cabin offers plenty of room for five adult passengers. Brushed nickel accents grace the console and instrument panel, and wood accents add a touch of class to the uplevel Denali trim. Materials quality has improved over the years, but unfortunately, cheap plastic still dominates the dashboard and door panels. The 60/40-split rear seats fold for cargo-loading flexibility; with the seats folded, the Envoy has a maximum cargo-carrying capacity of 80 cubic feet.

Safety

Four-wheel antilock disc brakes and stability control are standard on all Envoys, while full-length head curtain airbags are optional. When equipped with the optional airbags, the 2007 GMC Envoy earned five stars (the best possible) for its protection of front and rear passengers in NHTSA’s side-impact test. Frontal-impact tests resulted in a three-star rating for the driver and four stars for front-passenger protection. The IIHS rated GMC’s midsize SUV “Marginal” (second lowest) after conducting its frontal offset crash test.

Specs

A 4.2-liter inline-6 powers the SLE and SLT trims. Rated at 291 horsepower and 277 pound-feet of torque, this engine outguns most of its competitors’ V8s, let alone their V6 offerings. Stepping up to the Denali means getting a 5.3-liter V8 that pumps out 302 hp and 330 lb-ft of torque. Either way, a smart four-speed automatic delivers firm, precise gearchanges and buyers have a choice of either two- or four-wheel drive. Properly equipped, the 6-cylinder Envoy can haul 6300 pounds, while the V8 can haul up to 6600 pounds.

Value

Strong engine lineup, cozy ride, plenty of features, simple controls

Verdict

Strong performance, a roomy cabin and plentiful features are strong points for the 2007 GMC Envoy, but mediocre handling and interior materials prevent it from truly challenging the class leaders.

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