Skip to main content

Typically, referring to something like an SUV as a failed experiment is not recommended. In this case, it seems GMC agreed about the Envoy XUV. Part truck, part sport utility vehicle, and really quite innovative when you get down to the details, but the XUV did not take off as the automaker might have hoped. The Envoy XUV’s retractable roof was a significant selling point for the vehicle, but it was more expensive than most shoppers wanted to pay.

What the heck is the GMC Envoy XUV?

The GMC Envoy XUV seen here was part SUV, part truck

The GMC Envoy XUV was a very short-lived project from the automaker that actually made it to market. According to an ancient press release from GM, the 2004 Envoy XUV had a power-sliding rear roof for whatever your heart desires. Based on the photos, we’re not even sure what GMC wanted people to put in there.

The Envoy XUV was based on the regular and sensible Envoy SUV, but this version had four doors and a truck-based situation in the back. The automaker calls it a “sport utility multi-functional vehicle,” which sounds about as confusing as the XUV looked.

One thing is for sure: GMC knew who its target audience was. The customer profile for this SUV/truck says Envoy XUV is for “self-assured achievers in their 30s and 40s” who may or may not have kids and may or may not want pickup truck capability without driving a pickup truck. GMC also said the vehicle was perfect for those who want a comfortable sport utility vehicle…with a truck bed. Unfortunately, but predictably, it flopped.

What makes the GMC Envoy XUV unique?

The GMC Envoy XUV seen here was part SUV, part truck
A GMC Envoy XUV | Scott Halleran/Getty Images

The GMC Envoy was a popular SUV, so the XUV made sense in theory. The roof had power sliding capability, which made it easy to slide the glass ceiling forward for more space. GMC offered the Vortec 4200 4.2L inline-six engine as the standard option, but a Vortec 5300 5.3L V8 was also available. The standard engine came with 275 horsepower and 275 pound-feet of torque, while the upgraded engine had 295 horsepower and 325 pound-feet of torque.

Fuel economy numbers were slightly atrocious, even by today’s standards. The base inline-six engine returned 15 mpg in the city and 20 mpg on the highway with two-wheel drive.

GMC Envoy XUVVortec I6 fuel economyVortec V8 fuel economy
Two-wheel drive15 mpg city, 20 mpg highway15 mpg city, 19 mpg highway
Four-wheel drive15 mpg city, 19 mpg highway14 mpg city, 18 mpg highway
GMC SUV fuel economy

In 2004, the SUV started at $34,150 for the SLE trim or $40,215 for the SLT. For 2004, that was quite expensive, even if it did the job of two vehicle types.

The 32-by-32-inch sliding roof feature retracted with the touch of a button. GMC expected shoppers to carry tall items upright. We are thinking skis? Perhaps a small refrigerator? There was also a power midgate that would separate the passenger compartment from the cargo area. This actually would be helpful if you were utilizing the truck bed situation, so great work, GMC.

Though the GMC Envoy lived on, the XUV did not.


Worst Car Wednesday: Great Idea Terrible Car-GMC Envoy XUV

Finally, this sport utility multi-functional vehicle, the GMC Envoy XUV, had an innovative tailgate. This tailgate had a power window that could go up or down with a button, but the tailgate could also be lowered for easy loading. On top of that, you could swing the door out to the right for even more access to the cargo space.

The XUV had an all-weather cargo area with weather-resistant materials and even a drain. GMC’s QuickDrain system could move more than 30 gallons of water a minute from the cargo area. You could hose down the area or just drive through the rain without much of an issue.

GMC only made about 27,000 XUVs between 2004 and 2005 before it was put out to pasture. There are some still floating around, but the parts for this SUV pickup truck are expensive and hard to come by. We aren’t even considering that the truck bed could be fully exposed to water at any given time. Thank goodness for the drain system.