2008 GMC Envoy SUV Review | Edmunds.com

2008 GMC Envoy SUV

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Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) is a category of used car. Often late-model vehicles, they have been inspected, refurbished, if necessary, and are under warranty by the manufacturer.
GMC Envoy Features and Specs

Features & Specs

  • Engine 4.2 L Inline 6-cylinder
  • Drivetrain Rear Wheel Drive
  • Transmission 4-speed Automatic
  • Horse Power 285 hp @ 6000 rpm
  • Fuel Economy 14/20 mpg
  • Bluetooth No
  • Navigation No
  • Heated Seats No

Review of the 2008 GMC Envoy

  • Strong performance, a roomy cabin and plentiful features garner points for the 2008 GMC Envoy, but mediocre handling and interior materials prevent it from seriously challenging the class leaders.

  • Safety
  • Pros

    Powerful engine lineup, comfortable ride for a traditional SUV, plenty of features, good ergonomics.

  • Cons

    Numb steering, some low-grade interior materials, sloppy handling around corners, lower-than-average front crash test scores.

  • What's New for 2008

    The 2008 GMC Envoy gains satellite radio and head curtain airbags as standard equipment.

Full 2008 GMC Envoy Review

What's New for 2008

The 2008 GMC Envoy gains satellite radio and head curtain airbags as standard equipment.


With crossover SUVs becoming increasingly popular, it might be easy to forget that SUVs started out based on pickup trucks. While crossovers hold an attractive edge in terms of ride and handling dynamics, and usually better fuel efficiency and interior space, traditional truck-based utes still offer tougher off-road capability and greater towing capacity. For those who prefer this old-school approach to SUV design, GMC offers the 2008 Envoy.

An upscale twin to sister division Chevrolet's TrailBlazer midsize SUV, the Envoy takes a trip uptown with fancier styling, a more luxurious cabin and a longer standard features list. Traditional SUV design means the Envoy offers a choice of rear- or four-wheel drive, with the latter having low-range gearing. A pair of capable engines is offered -- an inline-6 and a V8 -- and either one can handle towing a trailer or a boat.

Although the Envoy's modern features (such as a navigation system, DVD entertainment system and stability control) will attract its share of consumers, there's no denying the fact that this generation (now in its seventh year) is past its expiration date. On the upside, it has respectable performance, a supple ride and a roomy cabin. But examined more closely, the 2008 GMC Envoy can't match its rivals in terms of driving dynamics and interior quality. The Envoy's steering is devoid of road feel, and handling is mushy when pressed.

We've never thought very highly of the Envoy and its GM relatives, and that opinion certainly hasn't changed for 2008. If you still want a traditional midsize SUV for its towing and off-road ability, well-rounded choices such as the Ford Explorer/Mercury Mountaineer twins and the Toyota 4Runner will prove to be more satisfying to own. And if you don't expect to fully utilize the Envoy's truck-based strengths, GMC's own Acadia crossover is a much better choice thanks to its higher-quality (and larger) interior, third-row seating and better fuel economy.

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options

The 2008 GMC Envoy is a midsize SUV that's offered in three trim levels: SLE, SLT and Denali. The SLE features 17-inch alloy wheels, dual-zone air-conditioning, a CD player, satellite radio, full power accessories, keyless entry and OnStar telematics. The plush SLT adds a power driver seat with memory, a trip computer, automatic climate control, leather seating and steering-wheel-mounted audio controls. The Denali adds a unique honeycomb grille, 18-inch alloy wheels, a load-leveling rear suspension, power-adjustable pedals, heated seats, a power passenger seat and a Bose audio system.

A variety of options packages are available on the SLE, 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. Many of the SLT's and Denali's standard features are optional on the SLE. Optional for all are a rear-seat DVD entertainment system and the sunroof. Only the SLT and Denali, however, offer a navigation system.

Powertrains and Performance

SLE and SLT trims are powered by a 4.2-liter inline-6. With an output of 291 horsepower and 277 pound-feet of torque, this engine outguns most of its competitors' V8s, let alone their V6 offerings. The Denali packs a 5.3-liter V8 that pumps out 302 hp and 330 lb-ft of torque. Although the transmission is just a four-speed unit, it's matched perfectly to these burly engines and delivers firm, precise gearchanges.

All Envoy trims offer buyers a choice of either two- or four-wheel drive. Properly equipped, the six-cylinder Envoy can tow up to 5,800 pounds, while the V8 can tow up to 6,600 pounds. Fuel economy estimates for the two-wheel-drive Envoys are 14 mpg city and 20 mpg highway. The six and the V8 are rated the same, thanks to the V8's cylinder deactivation technology that shuts down four cylinders under light load conditions (such as freeway cruising).


Antilock disc brakes, stability control and head curtain airbags are standard across the board. In National Highway Traffic Safety Administration crash tests, the 2008 GMC Envoy earned five stars (the best possible) for its protection of front and rear passengers in the side-impact test. That agency's frontal-impact tests resulted in a subpar three-star rating for the driver and a four-star rating for the front passenger. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety rated GMC's midsize SUV "Marginal" (second lowest) after conducting its frontal offset crash test.

Interior Design and Special Features

The Envoy's spacious cabin easily accommodates five adults, but there is no third-seat option. Brushed metallic and, on the Denali, wood-tone accents dress up the interior. But that luxurious effect is sullied somewhat by the use of low-grade plastics on the dash and door panels. The rear seat is split 60/40 and folds for cargo-loading flexibility. With those seats folded, the Envoy has a maximum cargo capacity of 80 cubic feet.

Driving Impressions

On the road, the 2008 GMC Envoy delivers a well-cushioned ride 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 Envoy is its peppy performance that comes by way of its brawny engine lineup.

What Others Are Saying

Customer Reviews

Love my new used envoy

by on
Vehicle: 2008 GMC Envoy SLT 4dr SUV (4.2L 6cyl 4A)

Just a couple days old, I bought this 2008 Envoy with 65000 miles on it. I went to purchase a 2009 Chevy Equinox. Ironically both sat side by side and were the same price, yet the envoy had 20000 less miles. From the exterior, the GMC looked to be more solid of a vehicle, it doesnt have that plastic look to it like the Equinox. Test drive the transmission shifts smooth and no fear of passing on the highway. Equinox was otherwise. Gas mileage better than I expected. Last night did a 115 mile drive on the highway at 65-70 mph, got 22mpg with the air condition on. I was expecting a SUV of this size to be in the teens, its a truck no one should expect 30 mpg. So far I love it

Poor quality compared to other

by on
Vehicle: 2008 GMC Envoy SLE 4dr SUV 4WD (4.2L 6cyl 4A)

This SUV has had more than it's share of problems, dealer has not correctly fixed half of them. 1. driver window extremely slow (dealer said it's normal operation); 2. 4WD service light, dealer changed a sensor; 3. speaker buzzing, dealer changed rear speaker; 4. Stabilitrack service light, dealer changed a sensor; 5. occasional loud Bumping/growling noise at RF wheel, dealer said normal operation; 5. speaker buzzing (out of warranty), Non-dealer replaced rear HVAC control; 6. Check engine light, secondary air injection system, ECM replaced ($700!) 7. Service Stabilitrack, steering wheel sensor ($95!). It's not a Yugo, but what a piece of crap.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

Good vehicle hate to see

by on
Vehicle: 2008 GMC Envoy SLT 4dr SUV 4WD (4.2L 6cyl 4A)

The SUV has been great, it has got us through many long road trips. Monthly payment was getting to much so had to downsize to a small car again, but looking forward to being back in a FORD Focus again. Anyone who has mentioned the seats don't fold down flat, WELL THEY DO. We didn't think so at first either until my husband went out one day and figured it out, reading the manual really helped too.

Love the denali but not

by on
Vehicle: 2008 GMC Envoy Denali 4dr SUV 4WD (5.3L 8cyl 4A)

Hwy mpg is OK but city mpg is very poor. The seat belt cuts into my neck and needs to be repositioned. Denali exterior is an eye turner but the plastic "woodgrain" console looks cheap and tacky. Seats are comfortable but would prefer a softer leather. When I'm stopped for a light, after 10+ seconds there's a thud-like jolt & sound from under the car. Dealer has no idea what is causing this but has heard others complain about it.

Good power but that's where

by on
Vehicle: 2008 GMC Envoy SLT 4dr SUV (4.2L 6cyl 4A)

I bought the Envoy as the most powerful 6 cylendar for towing. I turns out I get better milage with an 8 cylendar truck. The air shocks were constantly pumping up, the fans for the climate control extremely loud, there is no vent setting so it was either blowing hot or cold air, wind noise was excessive, the gas tank is configured such that it always spilled over when filling no matter what gas station I went to. Passing gear was great but taking of from stopped was very slow for a 280 hp engine.

2008 envoy

by on
Vehicle: 2008 GMC Envoy SLE 4dr SUV 4WD (4.2L 6cyl 4A)

Not sure if I have the SLE or SLT. I rated the gas milage poor because it is extremely inconsistant. I travel 6 hrs interstate/highway time per week and I go the same speed every time. Some trips I go through a little over a 1/4 and sometimes I go through a whole tank. Thats a huge difference! Also, it should get better milage than a truck 17mpg just doesn't cut it for its size. I rated the interior design poorly also because there is only one cup holder, back seats don't really fold down, console is tiny, and the computer system randomly turns on and off the change oil light. As far as build quality stuff I had to have the powertrain completely replaced when I first bought it.

Talk About The 2008 Envoy

2008 GMC Envoy Discussions See all Started By

We own a 2008 Envoy and we just recently have been dealing with an issue that everytime it rains, it won't run properly. We just had the throttle sensor replaced as they said that was the problem. $70...

I have 2008 envoy with 68000 miles and have been having this problem for 3 years. Have spent and spent at a dealership to have this problem fixed but nothing has helped. Last week was my latest. All s...

2004 GMC Envoy XUV. I purchased the vehicle new in 2004 with 4 miles on it. No problems with the A/C until 2008. In the summer of 2008 the A/C did not work at all. The fan/blower motor worked, just...

Gas Mileage


  • 14
  • cty
  • 20
  • highway
Calculate Yearly Fuel Costs
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