North Georgia Ford Compares 2003 Ford Explorer VS 2003 GMC Envoy Near Ellijay, GA

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2003 Ford Explorer

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2003 GMC Envoy

Safety Comparison

To maximize occupant safety, the front seat shoulder belts of the Ford Explorer have pretensioners to eliminate dangerous slack in the event of a collision and force limiters to limit the pressure the belts will exert on the passengers. The GMC Envoy doesn’t offer pretensioners.

For enhanced safety, the front and middle seat shoulder belts of the Ford Explorer are height adjustable to accommodate a wide variety of driver and passenger heights. A better fit can prevent injuries and the increased comfort also encourages passengers to buckle up. The GMC Envoy doesn’t offer height adjustable front seat belts.

The Explorer offers available head airbag curtains which act as a forgiving barrier between the driver and front passenger’s upper bodies and the window and pillars. Combined with high-strength steel door beams this system increases head protection in broadside collisions. The Envoy doesn’t offer airbag protection for the head.

The Explorer offers optional AdvanceTrac™, which uses the antilock brake hardware along with powerful software and additional sensors to detect the beginning of a skid. AdvanceTrac™ then intervenes by automatically applying the brake at one appropriate wheel, preventing a skid. The Envoy doesn’t offer skid prevention.

The Explorer (except XLS) offers an optional Reverse Sensing System to help warn drivers about vehicles, pedestrians or other obstacles behind their vehicle. This collision warning system uses radar to detect obstacles behind the rear bumper. The Envoy doesn’t offer a rear collision sensor.

Both the Explorer and the Envoy have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, plastic fuel tanks, four wheel antilock brakes and available all wheel drive.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety does 40 MPH front offset crash tests on new cars. In this test, results indicate that the Ford Explorer (which the IIHS chose as “A Best Pick”) is safer than the Envoy:



Overall Evaluation









Head injury index



Peak Head G-forces

no hit

204 G’s

Chest compression

35 mm

53 mm

Tibia index



(This test is not comparable to the NHTSA NCAP 35 MPH front crash test.)

Warranty Comparison

The Explorer’s corrosion warranty is unlimited miles longer than the Envoy’s (unlimited vs. 100,000 miles).

There are over 74 percent more Ford dealers than there are GMC dealers, which makes it much easier to get service under the Explorer’s warranty.

Reliability Comparison

For smoother operation, better efficiency and fewer moving parts, the engines in the Explorer have an overhead cam design, rather than the old pushrod design of the 5.3 V8 in the Envoy.

Engine Comparison

The Explorer’s optional 4.6 SOHC V8 produces 7 lbs.-ft. more torque (282 vs. 275) than the Envoy’s standard 4.2 DOHC 6 cyl.

Brakes and Stopping Comparison

The Explorer stops much shorter than the Envoy:



60 to 0 MPH

120 feet

146 feet

Motor Trend

Tires and Wheels Comparison

The Explorer offers an optional tire pressure monitoring system, which will alert the driver to a drop in tire pressure before damage to the tire or an accident might occur. The Envoy doesn’t offer a low tire pressure warning system.

Suspension and Handling Comparison

For superior ride and handling, the Ford Explorer has fully independent front and rear suspensions. An independent suspension allows the wheels to follow the road at the best angle for gripping the pavement, without compromising ride comfort. The GMC Envoy has a solid rear axle, with a non-independent rear suspension.

The Explorer’s front to rear weight distribution is more even (51.8% to 48.2%) than the Envoy’s (53% to 47%). This gives the Explorer more stable handling and braking.

For better maneuverability the Explorer’s turning circle is 4.5 feet tighter than the Envoy XL’s (36.8 vs. 41.3 feet).

For greater off-road capability the Explorer 4dr has a greater minimum ground clearance than the Envoy (8.5 vs. 8 inches), allowing the Explorer to travel over rougher terrain without being stopped or damaged. The Explorer 4dr w/245 tires’ minimum ground clearance is 1.2 inches higher than on the Envoy (9.2 vs. 8 inches).

Chassis Comparison

The Ford Explorer may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 300 to 650 pounds less than the GMC Envoy.

Passenger Space Comparison

The Explorer offers optional seating for 7 passengers; the Envoy can only carry up to 5.

The Explorer has 65.7 cubic feet more passenger volume than the Envoy (149 vs. 83.3).

Cargo Capacity Comparison

The Explorer’s cargo area provides more volume than the Envoy.



Third Seat Folded

44.5 cubic feet


Ergonomics Comparison

To help each driver find a more comfortable driving position, the Explorer Eddie Bauer/Limited has a telescoping steering wheel. Much better than just a tilt steering wheel or adjustable seat, this allows a short driver to sit further from the steering wheel while maintaining contact with the pedals. The Envoy doesn’t offer a telescoping steering wheel.

The Explorer’s standard speed sensitive intermittent wipers speed up as the car does, so that the driver doesn’t have to continually adjust the speed of the wipers. The Envoy’s standard intermittent wipers have to be constantly adjusted.

The Explorer’s standard steering wheel mounted cruise control is close at hand. The Envoy’s standard cruise control is on an over-crowded turn signal stalk.

Economic Advantages Comparison

The Explorer will cost the buyer less in the long run because of its superior resale value. Kiplinger’s estimates that the Explorer will retain 51% of its original price after two years, while the Envoy only retains 50%.

The Explorer is less expensive to operate than the Envoy because of its higher resale value. It also costs $126 less to do the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance for 50,000 miles. Typical repairs cost much less on the Explorer than the Envoy, including $54 less for a water pump, $7 less for an alternator, $30 less for front brake pads, $133 less for a starter, $89 less for fuel injection, $342 less for a fuel pump, $18 less for front struts, $91 less for a timing belt/chain, $237 less for a power steering pump and $334 less for a tune-up.

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