The GMC Envoy line of mid-size SUVs has been expanded for 2004. The new XUV is brimming with innovation and clever engineering that answers the call for someone who wants both the utility of a pickup truck and the luxurious accommodations of a passenger car. The Envoy line continues to come in two sizes, regular and extra-long. The standard GMC Envoy is a compelling alternative to the Ford Explorer and other mid-size SUVs. Smooth, stable, and responsive, the Envoy comes with a smooth, powerful inline six-cylinder engine that gives up nothing to the Explorer, even when the Ford is equipped with the optional V8 engine. The Envoy carries five people in comfort with two rows of seats. The Envoy XL is a stretched, long-wheelbase version of the Envoy that features third-row seating. Some buyers see the XL as a less-expensive alternative to the full-size GMC Yukon. The XL is actually longer than the Yukon, can carry seven passengers, and offers an optional V8 engine. Its third row adds versatility. But the Envoy XL is narrower and not as stable as the full-size Yukon. And because it's longer and heavier, the Envoy XL lacks the handling response and stability of the standard Envoy. For 2004, GMC has introduced the innovative Envoy XUV. The XUV seats five and features an all-weather cargo area that can be cleaned out with a hose. This cargo area is sealed off from the passenger compartment when the Midgate and power rear window are closed. Need more cargo space? Lowering the window, Midgate and rear seats reveals a pickup-like bed suitable for hauling 4x8-foot sheets of plywood. Its dual-function tailgate can be dropped like that of a pickup or swung open like a door. But wait, there's more: The rear section of the roof retracts at the press of a button, leaving a wide-open cargo area that can haul tall items like potted trees. The Envoy XUV shares the longer wheelbase and optional V8 engine of the XL. GMC Envoy shares its chassis and engine with the Chevrolet TrailBlazer and Buick Rainier. Each of the three boasts unique styling, however, and there are feature differences. Envoy has conservative, upmarket styling, yet has a masculine look that says it's ready to tackle the tough jobs. It offers more features than the Chevy, but the standard Envoy doesn't offer the Rainier's optional V8. And the XUV version is a GMC exclusive. GMC has added some new options for all 2004 Envoys, including power-adjustable pedals and several new audio systems.