GMC Envoy XUV

Transit Authority

The GMC Envoy XUV has equipment you won't find on other SUVs. A dual-function tailgate can either drop down or swing open; a glass gate behind the second row separates the passengers from the cargo (it folds flat to extend the cargo hold); an all-weather, hard-plastic cargo compartment has drainage so you can wash the area after hauling dirty stuff; and a power-sliding rear roof allows you to carry large items upright. At first, I thought the vehicle seemed like the answer to questions no one had asked, but after due consideration, it's clear that GMC has cross-pollinated a SUV with a pickup truck to create a fresh strain of ultra-versatile vehicles.

To check out the Envoy XUV's willingness to tow, we hitched up a Ski Nautique on a single-axle trailer. The test vehicle had the standard 4.2-liter DOHC in-line-6 engine-a 5.3-liter V-8 is available for an extra $1,500. The standard engine is a serious overachiever and pumps out an enthusiastic 275 hp, but lock the tach needle at the high end of its scale to enjoy reasonable performance. Without the 4,120-pound load, reaching 60 mph took 9.9 seconds; with the boat and trailer, we measured 17.6 seconds. The engine doesn't hesitate to answer a kick of the throttle, but another gear would be appreciated-the automatic transmission has only four forward speeds. Passing performance is enough to keep you apace of traffic.

Soft spring rates and gentle damping calibrations give this truck a pleasant ride. The cabin moves around a bit on its chassis, but the whole rig floats over wavy pavement surfaces like a well-engineered magic carpet. All-around comfort is outstanding.

At the ramp, there's enough forward urge to spin both rear tires. Select automatic four-wheel-drive and slippage is less than a quarter turn of the rear wheels. Fuel economy was disappointing at 8 mpg with the trailer attached, but that's what you get when towing a heavy rig with a high-revving engine.

We Test
Model: GMC Envoy XUV
Engine 4.2-liter DOHC in-line-6
Net hp/rpm 275/6000
Net torque (ft-lb/rpm) 275/3600
Transmission 4-speed automatic
Suspension - Front control arms, coil springs
Suspension - Rear rigid axle, coil springs
Brakes (front/rear) disc/disc, standard ABS
Tires Michelin Cross Terrain, P245/65SR-17
Wheelbase (in.) 129
Length (in.) 208.4
Width (in.) 74.7
Height (in.) 77.0
Curb weight (lbs.) 4,042
Towing capacity (lbs., max.) 5,700
Cargo capacity (max cu. ft.) 95.2
Fuel capacity (gal.) 25
0-60 mph acceleration (w/o, w/ 4,120-lb. towed load, sec.) 9.9/17.6
30-60 mph passing (w/o, w/ 4,120-lb. towed load, sec.) 7.2/12.6
60-0 mph stopping distance (w/o, w/ 4,120-lb.towed load, ft.) 141/203
Observed towing fuel economy (avg. mpg) 8
Price (as tested) $40,015

Last Word. Be the first on your block with an SUV that converts into a high-walled pickup.