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Toyota Highlander vs GMC Envoy

kdubs1kdubs1 Posts: 21
edited March 2014 in GMC
In the market for a midsize 4WD SUV for around $28K, I've narrowed it down to the Highlander and the Envoy. Anyone else in this situation like to chat?


  • I also have narrowed down to the E & HL but am looking for 4x2. I'm in Nor Cal with not much need for 4X4. As of last night I am now leaning towards a E. We also have a Yukon XL and love it. The Envoy drove much smoother. It nets out about $1000 more but you get many more options with the XL package. The Toyota was nice but I did not care for the interior at all. Very difficult to see instruments, gauges, stereo, etc. I ran a comparison side by side on Autoweb and that was great help.
    My challenge is I am looking to trade in my Explorer and GMC Sonoma to make a deal. I hate selling privately. I have no need for a extra car any longer. The local dealerships have no interest in taking in two trades.
    I have also been throwing out $500 over invoice but have not got any takers.
  • No doubt about it the Envoy has more luxurious features to that of the Highlander. It's a clear winner over the HL in styling and comfort. Chances are, when the time comes to trade-in that Envoy for another new SUV, it may end up in a situation like what sodapop1 is experiencing with his Explorer or Sonoma. The HL will still retain a significant value over the Envoy 1,2,3,4,5 years from now. The HL will always have dealerships willing to take it as a trade toward another new SUV somewhere down the road.
    If you like to throw away money and enjoy comfort and styling, get an Envoy. But if you like more value for that hard earn cash, get the Highlander.
  • little_pogi/sadapop1,

    I agree with your post, but one must also consider the length of time they will keep the vehicle. If a person plans to trade within the next 5 years or so, a Honda or Toyota or Nissan will almost always bring more money when compared to a domestic. However, if a person drives a vehicle for 10-12 years like we do, the trade-in value is basically a wash. However, the maintenance costs then become a factor. Based on my limited experience (only purchase new cars every 6 years or for for my wife), the Ford/GM/Dodge versus foreign design cost difference doesn't amount to much. Our 89 Aerostar required more maintenance than our 89 Legend, but the Legend cost more per fix than the Ford. Not to mention the Acura cost about 10K more than the Aerostar. All things considered, I haven't seen much difference cost wise between the two. If a short term deal is what you're looking for, go with the foreign design. If you're gonna drive it till it dies, I don't think it matters, as long as you buy the extended warranty for the domestic.
  • jblaze13jblaze13 Posts: 152
    Oh how I love honest dialect. However, I really don't think this is a case of comfort versus value. I think you can get both in the HL. The HL has the typical Camry smoothness, ride and likely reliability. If you're looking for a design statement, Toyota is not the place you want to be. The Envoy does seem to be a bit more luxurious on the inside but It'll cost you. If you need to tow anything, the Envoy will probably give you a better performance. The Highlander is definitely the better value. But if you want a little edgier style outside, more luxury inside, and have a couple grand extra to part with, go with the Envoy. Good luck.
  • heatwave3heatwave3 Posts: 462
    Is there any data to support the traditional wisdom that Toyota would have a better resale value? My experience with Suburbans has shown they have some of the highest resale values of any vehicle not just SUVs. Their resale value is substantiated by both published wholesale and retail prices as well as my own personal experience with the recent trade-in of a 92 3/4 ton 4x4 Sub with 125K miles for $8500.

    I paid $28.5K new and could have sold it for $10.5K at retail. Thats a wholesale resale value of 30% or 37% retail after 9 years and 125K miles of use.

    Check out any 9 year old Japanese SUV or pickup with 125K miles and I think you find the resale value is closer to 15%. In this case the domestic has substantially better resale value than a japanese model.
  • brad_22brad_22 Posts: 154
    Heatwave - Yeah, I've wondered about that too. Toyotas have always been known for their reliability, and the resale value has always been selling point at the dealers that I've visited.

    I thought I heard something about mechanical problems with the Envoy, although I don't have any sources. Likewise, some early HL's had a brake recall to get a master cylinder cap replaced, but apparently that isn't an issue on the newer models.

    BTW, you're not being too specific when you say "Japanese SUV". Isn't Isuzu japanese?

    Anyway KDUBS1, I have a Highlander and I love it. I use it for mostly city/long distance driving and light off-road stuff. The Envoy is a bit more rugged, but will also be more expensive. You might want to compare it to an MDX.
  • heatwave3heatwave3 Posts: 462
    brad22: there aren't alot of Japanese SUVs that are 9 years old, however the ones I was thinking of were the Pathfinder, Land Cruiser, 4Runner and Trooper. I don't think I missed any but its possible. I think if you check the resale vale of these compared to the Suburban (which I am familiar with) the GM SUV will hold its value better than these 1992 Japanese models with 125K miles.

    I thought it was worth challenging the view that resale values of Japanese SUVs is automatically superior to GM models since the historical facts would suggest otherwise. Time will only tell how current models will fare, however its not unreasonable to use the recent past as an indicator of future values.
  • jblaze13jblaze13 Posts: 152
    There aren't many 9 year old SUVs the size of a Suburban. The Pathfinder, 4runner, and Trooper aren't really comparable to the Suburban. Nine years ago there wasn't a great deal of competition for the Suburban. Now there's the Expedition/Excursion, Sequoia, and even BMW and Mercedes are preparing to jump in that arena. I think the Suburban was almost in a class by itself 9 years ago.
  • heatwave3heatwave3 Posts: 462
    jblaze13: No effort was being made to make any comparisons between the Suburban and any other vehicle. I was simply responding to the earlier blanket statement that Toyotas have a better resale value than GM SUVs. Clearly the Suburban is an SUV, is made by GM and has a substantially greater resale value than any Japanese SUV that is 9 years old with 125K miles on it. I just happen to have experience with 2 previous subs and a third I own now.

    I think the facts contradict the misperception that Toyota's have a better resale value than all GM's. I'd be interested in any data you have for other SUVs that paint a different picture.

    BTW, what BMW or Mercedes to you believe is in the same class as a Suburban?
  • hardhawkhardhawk Posts: 702
    If you want a Camry with an SUV body, get the HL. If you want a sturdier, more truck like vehicle, get the Envoy. Although the Envoy is more truck like, its ride is simply great. We looked at the HL before we bought the Envoy, and we liked the looks, room, sturdiness, and trailer towing abilites of the Envoy over the HL. The Envoy attracts attention wherever we go. People stop and ask us what kind of vehicle it is even though it has big red GMC logos on the grille and tailgate. We have had the Envoy a little over a month and have had no problems at all. The HL is a fine vehicle, and if its attributes are what you want, by all means go for it. It just didn't fit our needs as well as the Envoy did. We will keep the Envoy a long time, so resale is not an issue. I always sell my old vehicles myself and have never had one last longer than a few days after I put out the word that it is for sale. Of course, I am almost anal about the care my vehicles get and people know that, so they know that my vehicles are well maintained and cared for. Bottom line, we just could not be happier with the Envoy, but are by no means offended if others get something else that better fits their needs or does not like what we drive. That is the great thing about America, we have so many excellent choices! Where all people think alike, few people think at all!
  • jblaze13jblaze13 Posts: 152
    My point...9 years ago there weren't many vehicles like the Suburban, which could explain why it held its value relatively well. You based your conclusion that Japanese SUVs don't hold resale value better than American SUVs off of the resale value of the Suburban, when 9 years ago there was no Japanese SUV that was comparable to the Suburban. If there's nothing to compare it to, there's no point. If you need proof, compare the value of a 1998 chevy blazer or ford exploder to that of a toyota 4runner or nissan pathfinder. I think you'll find the Americans are overmatched.
  • brad_22brad_22 Posts: 154
    Couldn't agree more, although I'm still curious how GMC stacks up against Toyota specifically. Maybe I'll make a run to the bookstore to check 'em out.

    Resale value aside, the main issue is what you feel most comfortable driving. Hardhawk was on the money about the differences between the Envoy and HL. Although, in 0-60 acceleration, I'll take the HL. : ) And in ride quality and steering control, I'll take the HL (one of the tightest turning radius' I've ever seen in an SUV!). But hey, I'm biased!

    Also, what's the deal with the massive "Envoy" name plate on the back of Envoy? Its like they supersized the font. Bigger must be better.
  • heatwave3heatwave3 Posts: 462
    brad22: with all due respect you shouldn't let your bias blind you to the facts. The Highlander has a turning radius of 37.4 feet versus the Envoy's of 36.4 feet. Even the substantially bigger GMC Yukon is only slighly higher with 38.3 feet. Doesn't sound like one of the "tightest turning radius' I've ever seen in an SUV".
  • hvan3hvan3 Posts: 630
    Speaking of name plate, what's up with Toyota putting "Toyota, Camry V6 XLE, and their logo" on the back of the trunk lid. Isn't that an overkill? Isn't the "logo and V6" sufficient to identify a vehicle? Why does Toyota have to put so many crap to identify it?
  • brad_22brad_22 Posts: 154
    Looks like you're right. In my defense, compared to other SUV's/Trucks I've been in, it seemed tighter (my roomate just bought an Avalanche...). Score one for the Envoy.

    hvan3: I have no idea why Toyota does that, but I know they're not alone. Why do some Mercedes feel the need to spell out "Kompressor" on their souped-up models? Wouldn't "K" be shorter?
  • By now there is at least a half dozen periodicals which have rated/compared these vehicles, including the recent october consumer report, car & driver (july?), consumer guide (paperback at any large magazine rack). Its pretty unanimous that the HL is the better vehicle. The recalls for the envoy vs the HL just emphasize the difference in quality.

    I would say the only exception would be if you need the extra towing ability of the envoy then the HL will not do for you.....
  • peter78peter78 Posts: 284
    I see the discussion that the 92 Suburban has better resale value than the Japanese SUV's. So I went to Edmunds used car section and checked out 4 wheel drive Suburban and 4Runner. The Suburban prices ran from $4,281 to $7,000 and the 4Runner runs from $5,191 to $7,493. Did I miss something???
  • peter78: A few points worth noting in your comparison.

    1) You were not using the same vehicle I used in my comparison. The vehicle I used was the one I owned which was a 3/4 ton Silverado 4x4 Suburban (K2500) with 125,000 miles in clean condition.

    2) The point I was making is the % of original value was higher on the Sub than Japanese SUVs with the same mileage. You would also have to provide the original selling price to determine if the trade-in or resale values are better/worse.

    3) With all due respect to Edmunds, it is not the standard used by the industry for calculating the resale value by a dealer, the wholesale price or for that matter the retail to the general public.

    That standard for the most part is Kelly Blue Book, which can be reviewed at or through Carpoint.

    By Kelly Blue Book a well-equipped 1992 3/4 ton 4x4 Silverado Suburban with 125,000 miles has a trade-in value of $6670 and a retail value of $12,195. This seems in alignment (however lower) than what I received in October of 2000 for the trade-in value on this exact vehicle of $8000. (which is significantly higher than Edmund's suggests and I doubt any dealer is going to give any more of a trade-in than necessary when the new vehicle purchased was at Factory invoice - on the GM Supplier program).

    The KBB pricing also aligns with the pricing posted in most classifieds both on-line and in the local newspapers.

    Using the same evaluation for a well-equipped (comparable to the SUB) 1992 4x4 Toyota 4Runner, the trade-in value was $5,245 and a retail value of $9480.

    The Suburban described above in 1992 was $28,500. Unless you have an original purchase price for the Toyota above, the retained value cannot be calculated, however by almost any standard of vehicles being sold on-line, the comparison above would return a higher resale price for the Sub than the Toyota. Whether or not the residual value favored the GM could only be determined with an original purchase price for the Toyota.
  • peter78peter78 Posts: 284
    To heatwave3, thank you for the response about your explanation of your Chevy Suburban resale value. Obviously no one has written since your last post, done before September 11, 2001. I wanted to write today because my wife called me and left a message on my phone, "I want to buy a Chevrolet Suburban". I called her up and asked why? She said "Five fire fighters were found alive in a Chevrolet Suburban at Twin Towers at the World Trade Center in New York". Sometime we realize what is really important. God Bless America.
  • steverstever Posts: 52,462
    I posted a similar report from CNN earlier today. Unfortunately it was another unfounded rumor....

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  • diploiddiploid Posts: 2,286
    LOL, you can crack at the reliability and electrical failures of the Chevy SUVs, but you can't deny the fact that they are indeed very structurally sound.

    Heatwave- not to dig up the hatchet, but I think you're missing jblaze's point completely.

    He is not arguing about the actual resale values of neither the Toyota or the Chevy. His point was that 9 years ago, there were no direct SUV competitor to the Suburban from any Japanese automaker. And in fact, there still isn't. The Sequoia is more of a competitor for the Tahoe and Expeditions. Only the Ford's land yacht, the Excursion, can actually be compared to the Suburban.

    But getting back on point- 9 years ago, there were no competitors for the big Chevy, hence the high resale value for a used one. So Toyota's resale value isn't really a myth, it's just overrated. Their cars' resale values are generally high, but not so high as to make every other car seem like they're worth $0 (save for a Hyundai Excel).

    Now just for the sake of argument, I went to Kelley Blue Book and priced out a similarly equipped 1994 Chevy S-Blazer with a similarly equipped 1994 Toyota 4Runner SR5.

    The Chevy had a retail of $7,385 and the Toyota had a retail of $10,450.

    Unfortunately, KBB didn't give the original MSRP of both vehicles, so I went to

    The base MSRPs of the Chevy and Toyota were $24,686 and $22,258, repectively.
  • diploiddiploid Posts: 2,286
    Well I don't know if they were found in a Suburban, but they did pull out 2 surviving firefighters.
  • steverstever Posts: 52,462
    Well, the way I heard it, two rescue workers fell into a hole at the scene and got banged up. Other rescuers assumed they were in the initial wave of firefighters caught on Tuesday. I have no idea how the report got embellished with a SUV.

    Usual disclaimers - lots of unconfirmed reports out there. The rumor mill is worse than the CR-V articles that floated around all year.

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  • peter78peter78 Posts: 284
    Steve, thanks for setting me straight on the 5 fire fighters. It is amazing that the rumor had a specific vehicle mentioned. Sorry about the mix up. You are right about the 2 fire fighters that were saved, at least there was some good news.
  • diploid: thanks for the additional info and the comparisons between the S-Blazer and the 4Runner. We have gotten abit far afield from my original point which was a simple response to the view expressed in an earlier post that all domestic suvs have a worse resale value than Toyotas. I was simply showing one example from personal experience that contradicted the earlier "absolute" statement made in favor of Toyotas over GM.

    Absolutes are always dangerous and my example of the Sub was simply a response to the "assertion" that all Toyotas are better in resale. I acknowledge that the Sub may be special however that should be to GM's credit for meeting an unmet market need. Other companies could have done so (in fact Jeep had the F/S Grand Wagoneer for years that competed with the Suburban), but elected to leave it to the 65 year experience that Chevy has with the Suburban.
  • Here in NYC, the Chevy Surburbans are the only SUVs used by the fire departments. The police are getting all the new 2002 Explorers.
  • Since I started this topic I have test driven, researched, and welcomed your input.
    We have made a decision, but are not buying for a couple of months and will likely order.
    GMC Envoy was surprisingly nice. Good feel, powerful, accessories, etc.. The HL wins out in my opinion however. Seems to be a more refined, quality vehicle overall. The only thing I need to make happen is a reasonable price for the HL.
  • brad_22brad_22 Posts: 154
    I think you'll be happy with the Highlander. Check out the Highlander thread to hear what others have said about pricing, options, etc.
  • Envoy named SUV of the Year by Motortrend

  • mrtwomrtwo Posts: 4
    I just went to the GMC dealer today. Almost bought the envoy but got stuck on my trade in value and didn't buy it (good thing).

    I was all set on buying the HL but reading the msg around here I went to the GMC to give the envoy a chance. The option on the envoy are superb. however the build quality and the interior as well as the outside trim was not up to par. Wonderfull truck though. Then we went back (wife and me) to the toyota dealer to refresh our memory and it was a no brainer.

    The HL was of just so much higher quality when it come to fit and finish it was a no brainer.

    Yes the envoy is a better SUV. Handle nice and have wonderfull options. But the interior just feel so cheap and exterior molding that was fading sitting on the dealer lot. It just felt 'clunky' with the rear seat look really crappy and with a bit metal peice sticking out in the middle of the seat it's downright bad. As compared to the HL that felt so luxurious compared to it. The 2002 center console is so nice. The Envoy has more HP but is heavier and can tow more. Almost double the HL. But I dotn' require that much towing (might need to haul my Mr2 spyder to race track but it's only 2194 pounds) nor do I off road that much since i live in CA. So I guess it's the HL for me.

    As a side note the dealer we went to (Garden Grove, CA) Toyota had a 2001 model with a 3,000 dollars market add up (additional profit if you prefer) but the 2002 didn't have such a markup, DUH !!!! I really don't know what the hell they are thinking.

    Anyway, that was my experience from comparing the two.
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