The full-size van segment is not one that has seen much innovation in the past several decades, and the GMC Savana is no exception. There is not much to be found in the way of class-leading features or whizbangery here, but then again, there’s not much to change: the Savana offers simplicity and competence when hauling is the name of the game. It can be configured to hold up to fifteen passengers, making it an ideal vehicle for transporting a church group or a kids’ soccer team, and it offers comfortable leg room even when the number of riders swells into the double digits. Alternatively, the Savana can be had as a cavernous cargo van with up to 284 cubic feet of space behind the front seats and the ability to tow up to 10,000 pounds. The Savana also serves as the perfect chassis on which to build a conversion van. There are few interior amenities, but the Savana comes with a standard AM/FM radio, single-zone air conditioning, and three cupholders. People who buy big vans like this aren’t usually that concerned with fuel economy, and that’s a good thing, because the Savana isn’t particularly fuel efficient, especially with its top-spec V-8 engine. However, the Savana’s combination of simplicity and versatility makes it a solid choice for anyone with a lot of people — or stuff — to transport.
Drive: Rear-wheel, 4-wheel
Trim Levels: Passenger, Cargo, 1500, 2500, 3500
Body style: Van, 2-to-15-passenger
Engines: 4.3L V-6, 195 hp, 260 lb-ft
4.8L V-8, 280 hp, 296 lb-ft
5.3L V-8, 310 hp, 334 lb-ft
6.0L V-8, 323 hp, 373 lb-ft
6.6L turbo-diesel V-8, 260 hp, 525 lb-ft
Transmissions: 4- or 6-speed automatic
Capacities: Towing 6200-10,000 lb; cargo 216.2-284.4 cu ft
The Savana is unchanged for 2012 save for the availability of a new paint color, wheatland yellow.
Front and side curtain air bags are standard for the first three rows of seats. “Enhanced-technology glass,” which reduces the possibility of passenger ejection, is standard for the fourth and fifth rows. ABS and six months of OnStar connectivity are standard.
All: 11-15 mpg city/16-20mpg highway
- Lots and lots of space
- Wide range of engines
- Seating for up to 15
- Thirsty engines
- Aging transmissions
- Bland interior
Room to haul.
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