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By Cars.com Staff
July 8, 2008
Vehicle Overview The GMC Savana and Chevrolet Express twins received a refreshed interior in 2008. Driver controls were redesigned, including new gauges and ventilation system controls, as well as a new steering wheel, stereo system and cloth seats. The Savana is available in quarter-ton, half-ton and one-ton weight classes, in regular- and long-wheelbase form, with five engine choices, including one that can be fueled by E85. These variations come in four different van models: cargo, 15-seat passenger, conversion and cutaway. Competitors include the Dodge Sprinter and Ford E-Series.
New for 2009 There are no significant changes for the Savana.
Exterior The Savana's front end has a trapezoidal grille with a large GMC badge and upscale reflector headlights. Passenger vans come in regular and extended lengths. Regular-length passenger and cargo vans can be fitted with a 60/40-split left-side entry and loading door. Side access panels, which give interior access to either side of the van, feature remote releases and are available on work-oriented models.
The regular-length Savana G1500 measures 224 inches long overall, while the G3500 extended-length van rides on a stretched, 244-inch body. This puts the regular-length Savana at some 10 inches longer than the E-Series and about 10 inches shorter than the Sprinter. All Savanas are 79.4 inches wide, which is the same as the E-Series and Sprinter.
Standard 17-inch steel wheels on G1500 and H1500
Optional 17-inch aluminum wheels on G1500 and H1500
Chrome Appearance Package offers front/rear chrome bumpers and grille
Interior Depending on the configuration, Savana passenger vans can carry eight, 12 or 15 occupants. Cargo vans seat a maximum of two people.
The Savana's maximum interior volume (on the cargo model) is 225 cubic feet for regular-length models and 261.6 cubic feet in extended-length vans. That's about the same cargo capacity as the E-Series, but pales in comparison to the Sprinter's 318 cubic feet of interior volume.
Standard air conditioning
Standard vinyl seats
Optional cloth seats
Optional convenience package that includes power door locks and windows, a tilting steering wheel, and cruise control
Under the Hood Light-duty vans have rack-and-pinion steering. The rear suspensions use a solid axle with multileaf springs and gas shocks. The Savana can be equipped with one of five engines. Each engine teams with a four-speed automatic transmission that incorporates a tow/haul mode. Rear- and all-wheel-drive models are available.
195-horsepower, 4.3-liter V-6 (260 pounds-feet of torque)
279-hp, 4.8-liter V-8 (294 pounds-feet of torque)
Flex-fuel 301-hp, 5.3-liter V-8 (325 pounds-feet of torque) that can run on E85
323-hp, 6.0-liter V-8 (373 pounds-feet of torque)
250-hp, turbo-diesel 6.6-liter V-8 (460 pounds-feet of torque)
Fast idle option on 6.0-liter V-8 allows heavy-duty accessory usage at idle
New quieter alternator
Safety The Savana received a host of safety upgrades in 2008, including side curtain airbags on passenger models. Also, 12- and 15-passenger models have three-layer glass that helps reduce the risk of ejection during an accident. Additional standard safety features include:
Driver and front-passenger airbags
All-disc antilock brakes
Electronic stability control (on passenger models)
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