Redusernab Weekend Edition: My GMC Envoy XUV; Studebaker Wagonaire Redux

Well, I received my GMC Envoy XUV about two weeks ago. So is it everything I thought it was when I first saw the Ebay listing? Two words… not exactly.

Ask you may recall, I wrote a post about my purchase of this SUV a while back including the fact that I did nothing but badmouth this particular line of GM SUV’s. However, I wanted a truck that will serve as my replacement to the UDMobile Chevy Van that I use to tow my bass boat and the LeMons proven Corvair Race Car. I could have chosen an extended cab or crew cab pickup, or a full size SUV, but I wanted something just a little different.

I decided to look for one of the following three vehicles because they seem to have lost their value rapidly in the market place, and include the first generation Avalanche (with the cladding!), an AWD Astro or GMC Safari Van, or the extended versions of the Trailblazer Clones (The Trailblazer, Envoy, or the Isuzu Ascender). The engine choices varied as well, with either a 4.8 or 5.3L V-8 for the Avalanche, the venerable 4.3L HO V-6 in the Astro and Safari, or the 4.2L Atlas Inline 6 for the Clones.

At the time I started looking for the proper replacement vehicle, this Envoy XUV popped up, from a large Texas on-line retailer, showing only 46,000 miles, for a little over $12,000. It was just about perfect with a base trim line, no leather, and only 2WD. The XUV combined the features of an SUV and Pickup, though not all that well. It was even more of a compromise than the Avalanche, with a relatively small cargo compartment, and limited access. The public ignored this vehicle when it was on sale, and was only produced for two years.

Ahhh, but we love oddball vehicles, and with the combination of low price, and low mileage, I bought it. Take a look at the images I’ve included, and you will begin to see my attraction for this oddity. The rear tailgate is a real throwback to the station wagons of old, as it can be open like a door, or drop down like a pickup truck. The window lowers into the gate as well. However, there is a second window that is also electrically operated, and is located between the rear seat, and the cargo compartment (neat!). But what makes this truck unique is the sliding roof, which opened up the cargo compartment. This idea is not new at all, and was actually introduced in the 60’s with the Studebaker Wagonaire. However, the GMC is actually weather tight, unlike the Studebaker.

The flaws are many, and are inherent in the design of these GM vehicles. The ride is just as nauseating as I remember with ride motions that would make anyone sea sick. The interior furnishings would make a Hyundai or Kia seem luxurious, with mismatched plastics, and cheap switchgear. The plastic trim on the exterior was also substandard, with the running boards, roof trim, and bumper protectors becoming discolored. But what the hell do you want for twelve grand? They will be taken care of in the future, as will the tacky chrome clad wheels.

The XUV was projected to sell at a rate of 30,000 units per year, but only 12,000 were produced, and were discontinued in March of 2005. So did I make a big mistake in buying this oddity, or do you think it will ever be coveted like the last GM Wagons (like the last Roadmaster)? Discuss and comment.

Wagionaire Image courtesy of

By |2010-08-07T10:30:48+00:00August 7th, 2010|Redusernab|0 Comments

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