I leave my class III hitch and ball on my vehicles all the time. I have been rear ended, hit hard and suffered no damage to my vehicle. It's amazing how it protects your vehicle. In turn it does a workout on an inattentive texting vehicle who rear ends you.
I have had 8 boats and an enclosed trailer over the years. I have never backed fully into the tongue when hooking up. I stop short and hand pull my trailer to the ball on boats under 19 foot. I use an extended hitch on my pick up for my large boat. The bumpers on my SUV don't have a mark.
This is a vehicle to take a nice trip. People are so overwhelmed with fuel and are crammed up. It's a nice comfortable ride sit in the back and watch a DVD. Gives you a great incentive to work hard for a nice vehicle.
I have been very pleasantly surprised at the great fuel mileage of our 275 horsepower Envoy I-6. On a trip up into the mountains fully loaded (but not towing anything) we got 24 MPG. The best our V-6 Explorers ever got was about 19.
After 117,000 miles I finally had to make the first repair on this vehicle. This weekend I replaced the water pump and serpentine drive belt at a cost of $77. I also cleaned the throttle body and MAP and IAT sensors. This model doesn't have an MAF sensor like some other late model cars. The spark plugs are still the originals, and I plan to change them soon, although the car runs flawlessly. I left the original hoses on the car because they were still like new.
Changing the water pump was a pretty simple job. It's a little tight, but nothing like front drive cars. I re-used the original fan clutch because I haven't had any problems with it, and if I do, it is easy to change out. They are pretty pricey. A new one is $188.
I also did a Seafoam treatment on the engine and ran some in the oil before changing it. I put Seafoam in the oil and drove about 100 miles, and then changed the oil. I also added some to the gas tank. I'm not sure how effective this stuff is, but I decided to try it.
After 130,000 miles, our Envoy continues to look, feel and drive like brand new.
The total repairs after eleven years and 130,000 miles has been $77 for a water pump and drive belt, and it didn't need the drive belt as it was like new. I'm keeping it as a spare.
I still have the new brake pad in the box that I bought in 2011. It still doesn't need them. Thus far it still has the original spark plugs, shocks, hoses, and has never had an alignment.
I helped a friend move some stuff with his 2003 last weekend, and he has 220,000 trouble-free miles on his. In our area I see dozens of Envoys and Trailblazers every day. I see virtually none of the other SUVs we test drove before buying the Envoy, such as the Dodge Durango, Toyota Highlander (a real nightmare) or the Kia Sorento. Apparently few of those have survived this long.
My wife plans to keep this vehicle for the rest of her life. Although I just bought her one of the flimsy little SUV wannabes (Ford Escape Turbo), she still prefers to drive a real SUV. When Ford and GM stopped making truck-based rear drive midsized SUVs, our decision to keep the Envoy forever was sealed.