So a Honda got totalled off of your plastic bumper, and you can't even tell it ever got hit? Yeah, okay! Then explain to me why my Trailblazer, which is the same exact vehicle as your Envoy, got backed into by a car while I wasn't there and they "totalled" their taillight on it, and my bumper was cracked and scratched down to the black plastic underneath the paint. I am sure their car wasn't totalled as they took off without leaving a note. I was hardly able to buff mine out and go on my merry way though.
ANY plastic bumper will completely disintegrate if a car hits it hard enough to be totalled. I accidentally backed into my boat trailer one time at less than 1 mph, and it too put a dent in the plastic bumper.
When our Envoy got hit, it was a solid, even hit across the entire bumper. Plastic bumpers are DESIGNED to absorb impacts without damage, so that is precisely what happened. The metal panel behind the bumper was deformed about 1 and 1/2" inward. I left it alone as you can't see it anyway, and used padding to return the plastic bumper to the original contour. That, and buffing the paint from the Honda off was the total of the repair needed. If you look, you can clearly see that no compact car sits high enough to even REACH the tail lights. Especially if it is braking hard at the time of impact.
Totalling a small Japanese car doesn't take much. They are made of much thinner materials than domestics and crumple very easily. A 5mph crash can total most imports. I know of dozens of cases of imports getting totalled rear-ending pick-ups and SUV's without any damage to the truck or SUV. One of our best friends was killed when her Japanese import rear-ended a Ford F-150. The F-150 was driven home. Big vehicles are VERY tough. My Dodge truck was rear-ended by a Ford Explorer, and knocked across an intersection. In that case, NEITHER vehicle suffered so much as a scratch.
Actually both of them had nicks and dents from minor accidents, and backing up and such. In no way can a car that is totalled off of one of these bumpers, leave absolutely no marks on the plastic.
A 5 mph crash can total most imports? That is about as outlandish a claim as a car totalled off of your plastic bumper leaving absolutely no damage. Seriously, if a little tap on the plastic with a trailer leaves a dent, how can a whole car moving at 35+ mph hitting the same plastic not leave a mark? You are right that big domestic vehicles are heavy and built solid. The person who got killed rear ending the F-150 more than likely died because they went under the truck. They were driving way too fast and had no control over their vehicle. Had she been driving the same F-150 and hit the first one at the same speed, she would probably have still died, and the other truck would have been totalled as well.
Point is that driving ability is what makes a vehicle safe or not safe. Having the largest vehicle on the road only makes it more dangerous for those around you.
A sharp edge, like a trailer hitch, hitting a plastic bumper will, of course, tear it. Also, if these vehicles are left outside in the hot Sun the plastic will become brittle. Our Envoy has never seen a day outside in the Sun. Like all our cars it is garaged 100% of the time both at work and at home. It is exposed to Sun only while being driven. Our bumper is as soft and resilient as the day it was built.
If you bother to look at any small import, you will easily see that in a rear-end collision with a Trailblazer or Envoy, the small car hardly even reaches the top of the bumper. It doesn't come near the tail lights or hatch glass. There is nothing sharp-edged on the front of ANY small car, and all are made of very thin metal (or plastic) so, yes, you can easily total a small car against one of these solidly built vehicles with no damage to the bigger vehicle. I see it all the time.
One major problem on this site is that everyone assumes everyone else treats their vehicles the same way. A well-cared for car that is always garaged will NOT have a brittle bumper that breaks in small impacts, nor will it have mechanical issues. Our vehicles are all very well cared for and we simply don't have problems with them. I do all my own repairs and servicing, and do not allow myself to be duped into many expensive and totally unnecessary repairs that I see cropping up so much on this site as an example of "bad" vehicles. Changing brakes on ANY GM vehicle before 40,000 miles is totally unnecessary, yet I see people on here claiming to have pads replaced as early as 20,000 miles. You would only need brake pads that soon if you drove with hard pressure on the brake pedal at all times.
After over ten years and 112,000 miles, I felt an update was in order. At this point there is little to report. When cleaned up, the car could pass for brand new. The only expenses thus far have been one set of tires and two batteries (which I always replace at warranty expiration to avoid problems).
So far no tune-up, transmission servicing or brake pad replacement. I purchased new brake pads some time back, but when I checked the original pads at 110,000 miles, they had less than 1/16 of an inch of wear so I will keep the new pads in the box until after 200,000 miles or so. The car has never required shocks, an alignment or any other maintenance, other than oil changes at 10,000-15,000 mile intervals.
I do a full bumper-to-bumper inspection on all our vehicles at 50,000 mile intervals or close to that. The Envoy has never had any anti-freeze, brake fluid, transmission fluid or power steering fluid added. I had wondered why the brake fluid never dropped, but I understood why when I discovered that there had been only 1/16 of an inch of pad wear.
My father and brother were master mechanics who believed that over-maintaining a vehicle did more harm than good. Since GM doesn't recommend any transmission servicing on many models except under severe use conditions, I never have any servicing done on any of my vehicle's transmissions. I also don't waste money on too-frequent oil changes, because I use only full synthetic oil in all our vehicles, and it does not sludge or degrade as cheap oil does.
Although all of our domestic vehicles have performed flawlessly with no required repairs ever before 100,000 miles, I feel that this Envoy has a newer feel at its age than any of our previous new vehicles. I can honestly tell no difference in its feel or handling now than the day we drove it off the lot. Everything inside and out and under the hood looks and feels brand new. Since this is a true full-framed SUV rather than a front-drive SUV wannabe (like the Acadia) we plan to keep this vehicle for probably another ten years. Our Buick made over 275,000 miles without a single repair, so I feel very confident the Envoy will do as well or better.