Would you swap out a 2002 Envoy for a 2003 Yukon XL (Suburban) for towing?

c good

Active Member
Original poster
Dec 8, 2011
Merry Christmas Everyone.....Most of you know I have a nice 2002 Envoy 4x4 (not a G80, has the 3.42 diff ratio) It has 190 K miles on it. I use it on weekends to camp and to tow a small 2900 lb trailer (max loaded). I recently got it running perfectly and I really love this Envoy.

Eventually I would like to go to something bigger. Also, I'm planning on getting a boat that will weigh in the 6000 lb range. I realize that will push the limits of my Envoy.

I recently stumbled onto a nice 2003 GMC Yukon XL 2500. It has 4x4 and the 8.1 Vortec. 199K miles. Original owner. Excellent condition. He is asking $7000 but could probably get it for $6500

I realize the 8.1 is a gas hog...about 10 mpg towing. But I don't think I will get much better from my Envoy when I start towing my trailer and keeping it towing in 3rd.

What would you all do?


Master Blaster
Dec 4, 2011
Ottawa, ON
The Envoy, even with a 5.3, will not be able to tow that. I blew my Saab's 5.3 and 3.73 towing about the same.

Got an Avalanche with the 6.0 and 4.10 gears to replace it. Thought I would be golden for towing. That thing sucked gas at about 6-7 MPG towing and did 10 MPG empty. All I saw was my wallet evaporating.

I don't know the 8.1. It might be better since it's bigger and might not work as hard with the torque it can produce. Diesel is where it's at for towing though. Yes, they are more expensive but if you plan on towing a lot, it may be worth it to look for a diesel.


Dec 12, 2011
If the frame is in good shape, minimal rust, as well as the body, that's a killer price. Once he lists it, you can bet your arse it will be gone in a blink.

The 8.1 prob won't know the 6000 lb trailer is back there, it was added to the P/U SUV to offer a substitute for the diesel.

There was no EPA rating for that engine in the Yukon/Burb, and p/u. With the 4:10, it will see about 12-13 mpg and the 3:73 about 14-15 on the highway if you take it easy those are without a trailer.

They are in a class by themselves, the 4:10 will be legal with 12,000 lbs on the bumper.

Iron block with iron heads, perfect weight ballast setup for heavy towing. The only other SUV I can think of with a similar setup is a diesel Excursion and they are only legal with I believe 11K on the bumper.

The 3:73 might be legal also with 12K but outside GM's "recommended" specs.

They are worth it if you want the top dog, gas, SUV, 7+seater for towing.

To answer your question, I would get it just to see, you will likely make your money back and then some if you don't want it.
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Master Blaster
Dec 4, 2011
Ottawa, ON
You could buy it, try it and if it doesn't work out, resell it higher because used truck prices have been through the roof.


Jul 24, 2013
West central Sask.
Its worth a try for sure. Gas mileage aside, having a larger foot print and vehicle weight really does help when towing. Its the dog wagging the tail and not the other way around.

As moose said, diesel is the way to go but you either want to tow heavy or tow often to make the added costs worth it.
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