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.
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
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
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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