The previous owner barely drove this vehicle - she only put about 3000 miles on it in two years. The vehicle only has a total of 50,400 miles on the odometer, which was carfax certified.
Now, this is a first-generation Envoy, which was first introduced in 1998 as a ultra-luxury version of the Jimmy, Blazer, and Bravada. Production of this early model Envoy was discontinued in 2000, to make way for the newly designed Trailblazer/Bravada/Envoy platform which was released in mid-2001 as an early 2002 model.
It comes standard with power everything - windows, locks, mirrors (which are auto-dimming and also fold in parallel to the vehicle at the touch of a button, for extra tight parking spots and those awkward moments when you get too close to a drive up ATM). The interior is two-tone leather, and has heated power adjustable front seats with memory feature that can also be programmed into the key fob so that the seat resets to your preferences when you hit the unlock button - very nice feature for after my wife has been driving it. There is also an air compressor outlet in the rear of the vehicle with an 18 foot hose, to inflate a flat tire, air mattress, sports ball, etc. There is an overhead information center that shows a compass, the current estimated gas mileage, fuel range, total gallons used, and trip meter. It also sports a 6-disc CD changer with Bose audio, AutoTrac 4-wheel drive, and very bright bluish-white Xenon High Intensity Discharge low beams (which are every bit as bright as the halogen high beams, just aimed a bit lower to avoid blinding other drivers). The dash and consoles are well laid out and easy to reach from a comfortable position.
Initial driving impressions are pretty good. The vehicle handles quite crisply at lower speeds, but remember, this is an SUV - quick turns or lane changes at higher speeds will make unaccustomed drivers nervous due to the higher amount of body roll. Body roll is further exaggerated by the soft ZW7 luxury suspension package with Bilstien shocks up front and self-leveling Delphi air struts in the rear. This package provides a wonderfully smooth ride on surface roads and highways, but will jar you just as much as any other suspension package in an off-road environment.
At first, the engine in this vehicle seemed a little underpowered and sluggish off the line. However, this is no sports car, and the truck-based 4.3L Vortec is designed more for torque and pulling power as opposed to blinding speed. About 250 lb/ft of torque to be exact, which peaks at just under 2800 RPM. Horsepower peaks just shy of the 200 mark at 4400 RPM, but the higher torque rating should make excellent use of the vehicle's 5000 pound towing capacity this summer when the jet-skis go back into the water. That extra power comes with a trade off though, which is (as I'm sure you've guessed), crappy gas mileage.
I can say that going from a 3800 V6 powered Bonneville (which I still own) to a more powerful 4.3L Vortec V6 powered SUV, there is a noticeable decrease in gas mileage. This is to be expected with an SUV, but I'm getting much less than the EPA-estimated mileage of 16 city and 20 highway. I'm getting an average of 16.5 mpg highway right now according to the info display. Now, before you respond saying "well get your foot off the gas and drive more sensibly", I'll have you know that I'm a police officer - I take it very, very easy in my vehicles, usually going no more than the speed limit or maybe 5mph over on the highway. I've seen far too many fatal accidents - speeding just isn't worth it. Regardless, it seems as though I'm filling the tank every three or four days. This shocked me at first, but the first time I put gas in it, the tank was on empty... after 25 bucks, it was pretty close to full. The tank on this thing is SMALL, about 13 gallons I think. Gas goes quick, but it's mostly due to a combination of the so-so mileage AND the small tank, not the mileage alone. Comparatively, I have to put nearly 40 dollars in the Bonneville to fill it up, so all things considered, it's not great, but it isn't horrible either.
I had all of the fluids flushed the second day I owned it, just to be safe. I keep very close maintenance records on my cars, and like to start fresh every time I buy a used vehicle because you just never know about the previous owner's maintenance habits. Next on this list is new plugs and wires to see if that helps the mileage any. I've already ordered a K&N Generation II intake system for it, which should also help the mileage when I get it installed.
Another cool thing is that the Envoy also comes standard with GM's "AutoTrac" 4WD system and two-speed transfer case. This means that by simply pushing a button on the dash, the vehicle can be in one of these four drive modes:
1. 2-Hi. Standard rear wheel drive only, front axle disengaged. What you see is what you get, nothing fancy. Best gas mileage out of the four, good for traveling on dry roads/highways.
2. 4-Hi. Four wheel drive in the high range. Front and rear axles engaged with a 50-50 power split. This is for bad road conditions like mud, snow, or sand, or towing light to medium loads such as a boat or jetski trailer. Decreases gas mileage slightly.
3. 4-Low. This is for pulling extremely heavy loads, or going through serious off road trails that require S-L-O-W travel. Not at all designed for high speeds - you better know what your doing if you're using this setting on the road, to avoid messing up your transfer case/transmission. Gas mileage suffers moderately in this setting.
4. Auto 4WD. This is a cool feature for questionable road conditions that could get worse, like a bad snowstorm. This setting will engage the front axles, but drivetrain power is still completely routed to the rear wheels. When the engine's ECU senses wheel slippage, it splits the power 50-50 between the front and rear wheels, just like 4-Hi - but will stop putting power to the front wheels as soon as the ECU feels that it's no longer necessary, reverting back to regular 2WD. Slightly worse gas mileage than regular 2-Hi, but not nearly as bad as either of the full time 4WD settings.
All in all, this is an option filled vehicle that is the perfect combination of American styling and European luxury. If you can find one with low mileage like I did, you'll get quite a lot of vehicle for not a lot of money. Buy one, you won't be disappointed!