Midsize SUV; Built in USA
  • 4-door wagon
  • 4-door wagon
  • longitudinal front-engine/rear- or 4-wheel drive
Good condition price range: $4,200 – $20,500*

2002 GMC Envoy

2002 GMC Envoy XL

2002 GMC Envoy interior

2004 GMC Envoy XUV

2004 GMC Envoy XUV

  • Cargo room
  • Passenger room
  • Trailer-towing capability
  • Fuel economy
  • Steering/handling

Lack of curtain side airbags is a minus in today’s SUV market, but GM’s midsizers match most rivals for pace and space. We consider Envoy a better overall value than its GM siblings. Envoy has the best interior decor, and its optional rear load-leveling air suspension avoids the sloppy ride and handling you’d be stuck with in any TrailBlazer. GM’s truck-based design is a plus for towing, but these wagons aren’t as sensible for everyday use as car-based SUVs.


GMC’s Envoy was a new five-passenger four-door wagon that shared its basic design, powertrain, and new body-on-frame platform with the 2002 Chevrolet TrailBlazer and Oldsmobile Bravada. Each midsize sport-utility vehicle model had its own styling details, inside and out. Aimed upscale of comparable TrailBlazers, Envoys cost slightly more and offered some options that Chevrolets did not.

Compared to its retired Jimmy predecessor, the Envoy rode a 6-inch longer wheelbase, had a body 10 inches longer, and was 5 inches wider and taller. A new 270-horsepower inline six-cylinder engine and four-speed automatic transmission was the sole powertrain.

Envoys came with rear-wheel drive and available traction control, or with General Motors’ Autotrac four-wheel-drive system that could be left engaged on dry pavement and included low-range gearing.

Unlike Ford’s Explorer, also redesigned for 2002, GM’s new SUVs did not adopt an independent rear suspension. In lieu of the standard coil-spring rear layout, however, Envoy offered an optional load-leveling air suspension.

Standard equipment included antilock four-wheel disc brakes, and 17-inch alloy wheels. Front side airbags were standard (the driver’s covered the head and torso). Options included a DVD rear-seat video entertainment system.

A longer Envoy XL with third-row seating joined the original model later in the year. Envoy’s competitors included the Acura MDX, Dodge Durango, Ford Explorer, and Mercury Mountaineer.

Yearly Updates

2003 Envoy
Envoy lost its standard front side airbags for 2003, but was available for the first time with a V8 engine. GMC’s midsize SUV came as a five-passenger regular-length model, and the longer seven-passenger Envoy XL. Both offered SLE and uplevel SLT trim levels.
Chevrolet offered a five-passenger TrailBlazer and seven-passenger TrailBlazer EXT, but Oldsmobile’s Bravada came only with five-passenger seating.
Compared to regular Envoys, XLs had a 16-inch longer wheelbase, elevated rear roofline, and three-row seating. Standard on all was a 275-hp inline six-cylinder engine. New for XLs only was an optional 290-hp V8, borrowed from GMC’s full-size SUVs. A four-speed automatic was still the sole transmission.
The previously standard front side airbags were now a $350 option. Curtain side airbags remained unavailable.
For 2003, some Envoy options formerly available only in packages could be ordered separately. GMC said the fuel tank on regular-length Envoys would increase at midyear to 22-gallon capacity (from 18.7).
2004 Envoy
An innovative Envoy XUV model joined the lineup for 2004. Built on the extended-length chassis, the XUV had five-passenger seating plus a power sliding roof section over the cargo area. A “midgate” wall behind the rear seat folded, along with the back seat, to extend the length of the cargo floor. The midgate included a glass divider window that powered down. Its dual-action tailgate dropped or swung open on side hinges, and contained a power window.
Both the XL and XUV could have a V8 engine. A satellite radio and navigation system was newly available. Buick launched a related Rainier model for 2004.
2005 Envoy
Envoy returned for 2005 with newly available curtain side airbags and an available cylinder-deactivation feature for its V8. Released midyear were posh Denali and XL Denali models. New for the V8 was GM’s Displacement on Demand system which shuts down four cylinders in gentle driving to save fuel. The Displacement on Demand feature was not available on the regular-length Denali. Denalis came with a 5.3-liter V8, a chrome grille, specific front/rear fascias, and body-color running boards. They also included leather upholstery, heated power front seats, unique interior trim, and extra sound insulation.
2006 Envoy
GMC’s midsize SUV got an antiskid system for 2006.
2007 Envoy
GMC’s midsize SUV lost its extended-length, seven-passenger model for 2007. Envoy shared a basic General Motors design with the Buick Rainier, Chevrolet TrailBlazer, Isuzu Ascender, and Saab 9-7X; all were five-seaters for ’07.
2008 Envoy
The 2008 GMC Envoy gained standard curtain side airbags.
2009 Envoy
A wireless cell-phone link was newly available on the 2009 Envoy.


longitudinal front-engine/rear- or 4-wheel drive

In their first season, Envoys came only with a 4.2-liter inline six-cylinder engine. For 2003, a 290-horsepower, 5.3-liter V8 became available in the extended-length XL edition and, later, the innovative XUV. All Envoys use a four-speed automatic transmission and can have rear-drive or GM’s Autotrac four-wheel drive. New for the V8 in 2005 is GM’s Displacement on Demand system which shuts down four cylinders in gentle driving to save fuel.

dohc I6
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 4.2/256
Engine HP 270-275
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 275
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
4-speed automatic


ohc V8
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 5.3/327
Engine HP 290
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 325
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
4-speed automatic


Road Test

Regular-length six-cylinder models are generally unstressed, offering plenty of accelerating power for everyday driving. Passing/merging is not a problem.

In the heavier XLs, towing can burden the six-cylinder, but it’s otherwise adequate for most chores. The V8 does not feel dramatically more powerful in most conditions.

Fuel economy wins no prizes. Test regular-length Envoys and TrailBlazers averaged 12.1 to 17.4 mpg, depending on driving conditions. A six-cylinder 4WD XL averaged 14.9 mpg, versus 15.2 to 15.7 mpg for V8 XLs.

Ride comfort is affected by this GM design’s solid rear axle, versus Ford’s independent suspension. Regular Envoys are firm but absorbent enough for comfort. But the available rear load-leveling air suspension is more composed than the base coil-spring setup, which can wander and feel floaty at highway speeds.

The XL’s longer wheelbase helps smooth out bumps; but without the air suspension, these seven-seat models still “porpoise” through dips and swells.

Handling is trucky, with a tippy feel in aggressive cornering. Steering feels annoying vague, but a tight turning radius makes for fairly easy close-quarters maneuvering. Standard antilock all-disc brakes deliver good stopping power, but spongy pedal action.

Some tire noise is evident at highway speeds, and that’s drowned out by considerable wind noise, especially from around the sunroof–even when it’s closed. Six-cylinder engines cruise quietly enough, but sound gruff when cold and a touch ragged at full throttle. The XL’s optional V8 is somewhat more refined.

Instruments/controls are clear and handy. Switchgear has a smooth, quality feel. The Envoy’s imitation-wood trim is unimpressive, but interior materials are otherwise satisfying. GMC’s navigation/audio system is relatively easy to use.

Even taller folks can enjoy good front head and leg room. Seats are fairly comfortable and supportive. The driver’s view to front and sides is good, but obscured by headrests and roof pillars in lane changes and when backing up.

Six-footers have ample second-row head and knee room, plus adequate under-seat foot space, despite an uneven floorboard. The split bench seat is comfortable, fairly supportive, and wide enough for three adults with a little squeezing. Second-row seats in the XL slide forward and tilt up for accessing the third-row seat, which is roomy enough for two adults and more comfortable than those in most midsize SUVs.

Cargo space is generous in regular-size Envoys, almost cavernous in XLs. The 60/40 split rear seat folds easily, helped by automatic-folding headrests. However, rather than being flat, XL’s load floor suffers three separately elevated levels with all seats folded. The liftgate’s separate-opening glass is relatively high, making it difficult to load some items.

No other SUV has the Envoy XUV’s roof design, which provides closed-wagon security or open-to-the-sky versatility. The rear roof section powers forward to accommodate extra-tall items, and the cargo bay is plastic-lined for washing out with a hose.


Model Tested: 2002 GMC Envoy 4WD

Ratings values are on a 1-10 scale, with 10 being the best. With the exception of Value, these numbers reflect how the vehicle compares against the universe of vehicles, not just against rivals in its class.


Acceleration - 6
Fuel Economy - 4
Ride Quality - 5
Steering/Handling - 3
Quietness - 4


Controls/Materials - 7
Room/Comfort Front - 7
Room/Comfort Rear - 6
Cargo Room - 8


Value - 4

Total: 54


4-door wagon
Wheelbase (in.) Length (in.) Width (in.) Height (in.) Weight (lbs)
113.0 191.6 74.6 71.9
Cargo Volume (cu/ft) Payload Capacity (cu/ft) Fuel Capacity (gal.) Seating Capacity
80.1 22.0 5
Headroom Legroom
Front Rear Front Rear
40.2 39.6 43.1 37.1
4-door wagon
Wheelbase (in.) Length (in.) Width (in.) Height (in.) Weight (lbs)
129.0 207.6 74.7 75.5
Cargo Volume (cu/ft) Payload Capacity (cu/ft) Fuel Capacity (gal.) Seating Capacity
100.2 25.0 7
Headroom Legroom
Front Rear Front Rear
40.2 39.6 43.1 37.5
Safety Ratings

Model Tested: N/A


(5 is the highest rating)

Front Impact Test

Driver Injury - N/A
Front Passenger Injury - N/A

Side Impact Test

Driver Injury - N/A
Rear Passenger Injury - N/A


(A score of 100 is average. Lower is better)

Collision N/A
Injury N/A
Theft N/A

Trouble Spots

Description: The airbag warning light may no go off due to a faulty seat belt tension sensor in the right front seat belt retractor assembly. (2006-07)
Air conditioner
Description: The HVAC system mode switch gets stuck in the vent position as oil gets into the control head as a result of a leaking vacuum switch on the transfer case and a redesigned switch is available. (2001-03)
Engine mounts
Description: Cylinder liners were cracking on 4.2-liter engines and the engine warranty was extended to 7 years/100,000 miles. (2002)
Ignition switch
Description: Transmission may get stuck in third gear and the instruments panel may stop working due to failure of the ignition switch. (2002-03)
Keyless entry
Description: If the remote keyless entry quits working in warm weather, the liftgate module must be reprogrammed. (2002-03)
Electrical problem
Description: The radio station presets and the climate control settings may suddenly change because the memory buttons on the driver’s door gets bumped easily requiring reprogramming the body control computer to prevent memory changes when the vehicle is in gear. (2002)
Electrical problem
Description: The DVD monitors in the front seat headrests may quit working because the video feed cable comes loose requiring installation of cable clamps. (2003-08)
Electrical problem
Description: When using a portable music player (e.g. iPod) there may be noise in the car’s speakers whenever the vehicle’s power adapter is used and a ground loop isolator (from Radio Shack) is required between the device and the power outlet to prevent the noise. (2002-07)
Check-engine light
Description: A crack in the fuel filler neck allows fuel vapors to escape and triggers a check engine light and the company will warranty repairs up to 10 years or 150,000 miles. (2002-04)

Recall History

2002 Envoy
Description: Front passenger and driver seat belt retractors may become inoperative, resulting in the occupant being improperly restrained during braking. Dealers will inspect and replace affected parts.
2002 Envoy w/air suspension
Description: Brief electrical spike can occur while vehicle is moving, causing engine to stall and, if it damages the powertrain control module, not restart.
2002-03 Envoy
Description: Driver visibility may become impaired due to faulty windshield wipes. Dealers will inspect and replace affected parts.
2002-03 Envoy XL
Description: Rear side door of vehicles sold or registered in specified states may not latch or unlatch properly, due to corrosion caused by road splash.
2002-04 Envoy XL
Description: Vibration and heat may cause taillamp/stoplamp bulb to loosen, flicker, and eventually become inoperative.
2003 Envoy
Description: During airbag deployment, pieces of the inflator could fracture and strike the driver. Dealers will inspect and replace affected parts.
2003 Envoy
Description: Some left-front brake pipes may be fractured, reducing brake pedal performance. Dealers will inspect and replace affected parts.
2003 Envoy
Description: Due to an override function, some vehicles’ ignition key can be removed in a position other than park. Dealers will correct this override.
2003-04 Envoy
Description: Moving turn-signal lever up or down in normal way may cause front marker/turn lights and rear turn lights to flash in a manner similar to a hazard warning.
2005 Envoy
Description: Windshield might not be retained in the event of a crash, because during the curing process, the urethane bead may not have adhered to certain areas of the car body.
2005-06 Envoy w/aftermarket leather seats
Description: Testing has indicated that the aftermarket leather seat covers can cause the passenger sensing system to malfunction. If the passenger sensing system malfunctions, the front air bag on the passenger side may be disabled when it should be enabled, or enabled when it should be disabled. GM will purchase these vehicles for the full price paid for it (not exceeding the fair market value at the time it was bought), including taxes and fees, if the vehicle is returned to GM’s possession by January 31, 2007. Through January 31, 2007, GM will also pay for the removal of any aftermarket accessories that may have been installed and return them to the customer.
2006 Envoy, Envoy XL
Description: Some vehicles may have a power steering hose that could crack and leak fluid. Dealer will inspect and replace the power steering hose.

Equipment Lists

Equipment lists are only viewable on larger screen sizes.


Used-car pricing varies widely depending on local market conditions. Therefore, we recommend visiting websites that list used cars for sale to get a better idea of what a specific model is selling for in your area.

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