Second-row riders benefited from the skip-free DVD system on long trips, though there was criticism for the limited second-row-seat support. An upright, dare we say "minivan-like," front bucket had some drivers pining for more lateral support. Comfort for most was achieved with the up/down and lumbar adjustments. Limited up-front storage frustrated PDA-encumbered drivers who wanted more cubbyholes and wider map pockets for road essentials, but this wasn't an issue for most.
Leather, faux-wood trim, deeply grained dash materials, and chrome highlights give the interior a rugged, yet upscale, feel. This hunting-lodge-inspired appearance and materials support the Professional Grade marketing assertions, and, along with the Cadillac XLR and Pontiac GTO, point to a more promising future in General Motors' interior design, though this cabin still doesn't quite match the standards set by many premium German and Japanese products.
The Bose stereo in particular received more than its share of logbook praise, with a simple interface, preset equalization settings, and strong, crisp sound that could bring music to life. The trip computer proved a valued ally on cross-country treks, though it does take practice to toggle through the multiple displays. Among its messages is a report on the percentage of oil life remaining, which proved something the owner--rather than the dealer--resets after servicing. One desert crossing had a driver puzzled when the fuel range remained stuck on 26 miles, which became more nerve wracking as lonely miles ticked away. Upon refueling, there were still 2.7 gallons left--a generous safety margin noted for future trips.
Despite being a four-wheel-drive model, ingress and egress are easy for an average-height adult. The optional step bar, however, proved a tripping risk, source of pants-cuff grime, and off-road liability. Take our advice: Pass on the running boards.
GM's 4.2-liter inline-six is a jewel: great power, equal smoothness, reasonable economy, and 270 horsepower on regular gas. While we'd hoped a new five-speed automatic transmission would come with it, GM stuck with an older four-speed unit. Number of gears aside, it worked well, with nice shift quality and well-matched ratios. No powertrain complaints, period.