Safari is a twin to the Chevrolet Astro, and both date to 1985. Safari and Astro are available as passenger vans and cargo models and with either standard rear-wheel drive or optional all-wheel drive.
General Motors rushed these truck-based vehicles to market 15 years ago in response to Chryslers pace-setting front-wheel-drive minivans. GM later fielded front-drive minivans of its own but kept the Safari and Astro on the roster.
Safari comes in a single size, 190 inches long, with a sliding door on the passenger side. A driver-side slider is not available. Two types of rear doors are available. Dual swing-out doors are standard, and unique Dutch doors with a flip-up rear window and swing-out lower doors are optional. The Dutch doors include a defogger for the window. The standard swing-out doors have windows but no defogger.
Seats for eight are standard on passenger models, and all but the front bucket seats are removable. The middle and rear seats are three-place benches. Optional seven-passenger seating replaces the middle bench with two bucket seats.
Cargo models are limited to two front bucket seats. Maximum cargo volume is 170 cubic feet behind the front buckets.
Under the Hood
A 190-horsepower 4.3-liter V-6 and a four-speed automatic transmission are standard across the board. The optional all-wheel-drive system automatically transfers power to the front wheels as needed to maintain traction.
Antilock brakes that operate on all four wheels are standard. Safari has a payload of 1,685 pounds and can tow trailers up to 6,000 pounds.
Safari is a good choice for those who need a beast of burden for hauling and towing, but car-based front-drive minivans are more comfortable, easier to get in and out of, and more economical.