Used 1999 GMC Envoy Review
GMC has been positioning itself as the premium truck division for three years running, so it should be no surprise that last year GMC dolled-up a four-door, four-wheel drive Jimmy and packed it full of fancy touches, calling it the Envoy. This year, GMC's upscale compact sport-utility vehicle adds minor feature enhancements to its already staggering list of standard equipment.
Motivated by the same 190-horse Vortec 4.3-liter V6 and four-speed automatic transmission that's found in the Jimmy, the Envoy disguises its rugged underpinnings with full-wrap body cladding, molded wheel flares and a monochrome paint scheme. Envoy also has a unique body-colored front bumper/fascia with upper and lower grilles, chrome accents, round fog lamps and integrated tow hooks. Out back there's a step bumper with integrated trailer hitch, as well as a rear spoiler whose rearward edge incorporates a neon Center High Mounted Stop Lamp (CHMSL), although rear-end styling is hardly distinctive enough to tell it apart from any other GM compact sport-utility.
Envoy features High-Intensity Discharge (HID) headlamps. These lamps emit a true-white light that is brighter, lasts longer and uses less electricity than halogen bulbs. They offer more than two-and-a-half times the light emitted by halogen bulbs and provide a longer, wider beam. Other standard equipment on the Envoy includes Next Generation driver and passenger airbags, the PassLock theft deterrent system, keyless remote entry, electronic climate control, retained accessory power, self-dimming outside heated mirrors and tinted glass behind the B-pillars. There's even a built-in air compressor as part of the standard Premium Luxury Ride suspension package that includes an automatic load-leveling system.
Inside you'll find a variety of luxury touches, including Zebrano wood trim and heated Nuance leather power seating with the "Envoy'' badge stitched into the headrests. Designers sought a cockpit theme by putting the gauges on a semicircular cluster and angling the instrument panel 15 degrees toward the driver. The center console can hold a cell phone, while the overhead unit includes a three-button HomeLink transmitter. The standard sound system is none other than GM's Premium Bose unit, with CD player and high-tech Bose Nd speakers for deep bass tones.
For '99, Envoy's four-wheel drive system now employs GM's new AutoTrac two-speed active transfer case, which allows for automatic shifting from all-wheel drive to four-wheel drive when road conditions warrant. (It also allows the Envoy to be towed behind, say, a motor home, without having to disconnect the propshaft.) Plus, there's a new Tow/Haul button on the transmission shift lever that adjusts the shift points in the electronically controlled automatic when the vehicle is heavily loaded or towing a trailer.
GMC packs tons of standard equipment on this sport-ute (among the rare options are a power sunroof and GM's dealer-installed OnStar mobile communications system) and wraps it with a cleanly upscale look. Priced competitively in this segment, the Envoy is one to look at if you are thinking along the lines of a Ford Explorer Limited, or perhaps the Infiniti QX4.
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