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2009 GMC Envoy Review

The 2009 GMC Envoy may be able to tow a lot and carry your family around with room to spare, but reviewers criticized it for its poor fuel economy, cheap-feeling interior and sloppy handling. The 2009 Envoy has dreadful safety ratings.

Pros & Cons

  • Strong towing capacity
  • Roomy interior
  • Terrible safety scores
  • Cheap-looking interior materials
  • Subpar fuel economy




Critics' Rating: 7.0
Performance: 7.6
Interior: 7.7
Total Cost of Ownership: 9.1
Safety: 7.1
J.D. Power Ratings Logo

2009 GMC Envoy Overview

When it was new, test drivers said the five-seat 2009 GMC Envoy's strengths were its spacious interior and outstanding towing capacity. However, these strengths are eclipsed by subpar handling, poor safety scores and terrible fuel economy. Reviewers also noted that while the Envoy’s cabin is roomy, its materials feel cheap. It doesn’t offer as much cargo space as most of its competitors, and many of its rivals match the Envoy’s list of standard features, which includes an eight-way power-adjustable driver’s seat, tilt-adjustable steering wheel and dual-zone manual climate control. Even in top-of-the-line Denali trims, which offer gadgets like adjustable pedals and Bluetooth, the Envoy’s cabin felt shoddy, according to most reviewers.

The 2009 GMC Envoy comes with either a V6 or V8 engine and two- or four-wheel drive. A V8-powered Envoy is likely the smartest buy, since you’ll get a lot more power without a penalty at the pump. Two-wheel drive V8 models manage 15/21 mpg city/highway, while V8 models with four-wheel drive and both V6 models get just 14/20 mpg city/highway, according to the EPA. Since the Envoy is a truck-based SUV, it’s better at towing and off-roading than some crossovers, but reviewers said that comes with a big sacrifice in on-road comfort and maneuverability. Other traditional, truck-based SUVs perform better both on- and off-road.

See the full 2009 GMC Envoy specs »

Other Cars to Consider

Anyone who has the Envoy on their shopping list should take a look at the 2009 Ford Explorer. The Explorer offers similar towing abilities, and is a good off-road SUV. Plus, some trims have a third row of seats, which expands the Explorer’s passenger capacity to seven. Neither SUV offers the best fuel economy, but the Explorer earns better safety scores. When it was new, reviewers also said that the Explorer had a comfortable ride for a truck-based SUV.

Unlike the Envoy and the Explorer, the 2009 Toyota Highlander has excellent safety ratings. It gets fantastic fuel economy from its base four-cylinder engine, especially for an SUV that can seat up to seven. You can also skip the four-cylinder and get a V6-powered Highlander if you want a little more power. The Toyota Highlander is one of the best family SUVs around, so if you’re looking for something practical that can cart your brood around in comfort, you should check out the Highlander.

Compare the Envoy to the Explorer and Highlander »

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