2003 GMC Envoy SLT 4.2L l6 from North America


The best mediocre used SUV you can buy


- Interior is falling apart (center console lid was never correctly put on, driver's seat control panel is falling off, and radio labels are peeling off).

- Rear hatch window is rusted, will not stay open. Can be replaced easily, but not really worth it.

- Under body is very rusty (this is due to the salt, being in a northern state, so not really controllable).

- Rear speakers have shorted out (common problem for 2003 Envoys, GM needs to recall this).

- In the cold weather, the car has had a cylinder misfire ($500 repair).

General Comments:

Background: I bought a used SUV, and was never expecting this car to be "amazing". I knew there were going to be problems and expected to pay for them. Luckily the problems haven't been that bad. I have owned this car for about 1 1/2 years now and put on about 21,000 miles. Since I bought it there have only been about $2000 in repairs / maintenance altogether. Only spent about $500 on engine problems, which was just a part that had needed to be replaced for years. For a used car that was not very expensive in the first place, it isn't a bad car if you expect to pay a little money to keep it up to date.

Performance: The Envoy is sluggish at accelerating. A 0-60 time that often averages about 9 seconds, and a 1/4 mile would be around 16.5-17 seconds. Don't expect to be racing in this car. If you want a fast GM SUV, go for the Trailblazer SS.

In the real world where speed doesn't matter as much, the Envoy performs alright. Transmission shifts smoothly. When crawling up a hill, the car requires a bit more power; I was not very fond of this characteristic.

The model I own is a 4x4 option, which I honestly believe is a major step up from the 2WD version. In the winter when it is icy / snowy out, the car handles decently. DO NOT expect the car to handle like a Subaru on snow/ice and go 40 MPH. This is very dangerous and can lead to spinning out. Especially since the 2003 model is NOT equipped with GM's Stabilitrak system found in newer models.

On Road: Handling is okay at best. The car has a soft feel for anything on the road, making it sometimes a nuisance to park. The Envoy drives more like a car than a truck (apparently the platform it's based on) which is nice; driving can be either smooth or rough depending on the road quality. Braking on this car is awful. The brakes feel soft / spongy, and it always feels like the car will never stop in time. Replaced the brake pads and it did not get better. The car's brakes are just naturally bad.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Don't Know

Review Date: 12th November, 2015

2003 GMC Envoy from North America


Overall, we like this car, except we haven't made our first payment, and it's been in the shop 2x; once for the thermostat, and the other was the clutch fan. I hope that's all the problems for now.

You will know if the clutch fan is bad, when you hear a load roaring sound when you take off, and it almost sounds like your car isn't shifting, but it is, and the dealerships charge an arm and a leg to fix this problem. You can buy the clutch fan at Advance Auto Parts for 1/2 what you can get one for at the dealer, with the life time warranty; the dealership only offers a one year. When the clutch fan goes bad, you will also lose gas mileage dramatically.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Don't Know

Review Date: 23rd December, 2010

24th Dec 2010, 14:58

You sound like a savvy car buyer. Although we still haven't encountered the clutch fan issue (we are just under 100,000 miles with ours), it is a relatively cheap and easy fix if you do it yourself. When (and if) mine goes out, I'm going to see if I can replace it with a light weight high performance flex fan. I believe one is available.

We bought our 2003 Envoy new, and thus far have not even replaced the brake pads. Nothing other than one battery and one set of tires.

Our "check engine" light has been coming on for 4 years, but these lights generally mean nothing. If the car runs smooth, doesn't lose power or show a drop in fuel mileage after two weeks, I generally don't even bother to check the code. Usually a can of injector cleaner and a tank of premium gas will cause our light to go off.

I've read comments about problems with the Envoys and Trailblazers (exact same vehicle), but we have not encountered a single problem with ours. You can't tell it isn't a brand-new vehicle.

I hope you have as much good luck with yours as we have had with ours. Since GM stupidly dropped these excellent body-on frame SUV's, there are no longer any true mid-sized SUV's on the market. We plan to drive ours another 100,000 miles.

24th Dec 2010, 21:28

It was the best move GM has made in a long time, dropping these low quality poorly designed trucks. They are riddled with many many problems that a quick Google search will list out for you. We had nearly all of them on both of our TB's, which are exactly the same vehicle. I will buy import SUV's forever, thanks to GM and these junk trucks!