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2001 GMC Safari

$1,937 — $7,957 USED
Passenger Van
2-8 Seats
17-19 MPG
(Combined)
Key specs of the base trim
 — 
Compare 3 trims

Our Take

from the Cars.com expert editorial team

Vehicle Overview
Like many General Motors products, the midsize, truck-based GMC Safari is a near-twin to the Chevrolet Astro. GMC sells only about one-third as many Safaris as Chevrolet does with its Astro, but GMC fans tend to be loyal to the brand. Both vans arrived on the scene way back in 1985 as GM’s response to the debut of Chrysler’s front-drive minivans a year earlier. Chevrolet also offers the front-drive Venture minivan, but GMC has nothing smaller than the Safari, which comes with rear-drive or all-wheel drive.

Changes are few for 2001, as they have been in most years, except for a new high-output, 105-amp alternator that can handle laptop computers, cell phones and even a TV at the cargo area for tailgate parties. A new powertrain control module and detonation sensor are supposed to boost engine efficiency. GMC dropped its base-model passenger van this year, leaving the SLE and upscale SLT editions. Cargo vans also are available for commercial use.



Exterior
Marketed in a single size, the Safari rides a 111.2-inch wheelbase and measures 189.8 inches long overall. The Safari and Astro used to fit between the top-selling Dodge Caravan and Grand Caravan in size, but things have changed since the 2001 redesigns from Dodge were made. Today’s regular-length Caravan is nearly as long as the Safari, while the Grand Caravan measures 11 inches longer. But at just under 75 inches high, the Safari is 6 inches taller than the Caravan.

A sliding door is installed onl...
Vehicle Overview
Like many General Motors products, the midsize, truck-based GMC Safari is a near-twin to the Chevrolet Astro. GMC sells only about one-third as many Safaris as Chevrolet does with its Astro, but GMC fans tend to be loyal to the brand. Both vans arrived on the scene way back in 1985 as GM’s response to the debut of Chrysler’s front-drive minivans a year earlier. Chevrolet also offers the front-drive Venture minivan, but GMC has nothing smaller than the Safari, which comes with rear-drive or all-wheel drive.

Changes are few for 2001, as they have been in most years, except for a new high-output, 105-amp alternator that can handle laptop computers, cell phones and even a TV at the cargo area for tailgate parties. A new powertrain control module and detonation sensor are supposed to boost engine efficiency. GMC dropped its base-model passenger van this year, leaving the SLE and upscale SLT editions. Cargo vans also are available for commercial use.



Exterior
Marketed in a single size, the Safari rides a 111.2-inch wheelbase and measures 189.8 inches long overall. The Safari and Astro used to fit between the top-selling Dodge Caravan and Grand Caravan in size, but things have changed since the 2001 redesigns from Dodge were made. Today’s regular-length Caravan is nearly as long as the Safari, while the Grand Caravan measures 11 inches longer. But at just under 75 inches high, the Safari is 6 inches taller than the Caravan.

A sliding door is installed only on the passenger side, with standard side-hinged, swing-open cargo doors at the rear. “Dutch” rear doors, which are standard on the passenger-carrying SLT and optional on the SLE, consist of a swing-up rear window on top and twin swing-out half-height doors below. A rear defogger is included only with the Dutch setup.



Interior
Eight-passenger seating is standard in both models. The SLE has a pair of three-passenger benches for rear occupants. In the step-up SLT, rear passengers have split-back bench seats with folding armrests and a center console. An optional seven-passenger configuration for the SLT puts two second-row buckets in place of the bench seat, with a bench at the rear. With second- and third-row seats removed, the Safari offers 170 cubic feet of cargo space.

Standard equipment includes a tilt steering wheel and cruise control, along with power windows, door locks and mirrors. Remote keyless entry is a new addition on all 2001 models that come with automatic power door locks. SLT Safaris add aluminum wheels, as well as such convenience features as rear air conditioning and a six-way power driver’s seat.



Under the Hood
All Safaris use the same 190-horsepower, 4.3-liter Vortec V-6 engine with a four-speed-automatic transmission. A Tow/Haul mode in the transmission promises the best shift points when hauling heavy goods or towing a trailer or boat. Safaris have a payload rating between 1,507 and 1,685 pounds, depending on the model.

Optional all-wheel drive ordinarily sends full engine power to the back wheels. In case of wheel slippage, the system automatically begins to deliver power to the front wheels until the Safari is able to regain traction.

Antilock brakes and daytime running lights are standard. Side-impact airbags are not available.



Driving Impressions
GM’s Astro/Safari duo occupies a distinctive niche in the minivan market. Evaluated by size and the overall driving feel, the Safari and Astro seem closer to being scaled-down Savana or Express vans than to front-drive minivans. Despite refinements and a healthy helping of comfort and convenience features, their rear-wheel- or all-wheel-drive layout inevitably produces more of a trucklike sensation than you’d experience in a front-drive minivan.

For burly hauling capacity and a spacious cargo hold, the Safari serves as a useful compromise. But for everyday driving, most people would be more at ease in a conventional minivan.

 
Reported by Jim Flammang  for cars.com
From the cars.com 2001 Buying Guide

Consumer Reviews

What drivers are saying

3.2
4 reviews — Read All reviews
Exterior Styling
(3.5)
Performance
(3.5)
Interior Design
(3.5)
Comfort
(3.5)
Reliability
(4.0)
Value For The Money
(3.2)
(5.0)

I've always loved the Safari/Astros

by ofc from phx, AZ on March 8, 2018

this is the 3rd one in our family. highest towing capacity of any mini van. loved the reliability. although, this is the first van that i had a lot of small issues with ac compressor/steering pump/... Read full review

(1.0)

LEMON

by DJ Joey V from Brick, NJ on October 7, 2009

As a mobile DJ, the vehicle appeared to fit my business needs perfectly because it had plenty of cargo/passenger room and fills the gap between a full size van and a minivan. It looked nice and drove ... Read full review

Safety

Recalls and crash tests

Recalls

The 2001 GMC Safari currently has 0 recalls


Crash and Rollover Test Ratings

The 2001 GMC Safari has not been tested.

Latest 2001 Safari Stories

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Cars.com Car Seat Check

Certified child passenger safety technicians conduct hands-on tests of a car’s Latch system and check the vehicle’s ability to accommodate different types of car seats. The Safari received the following grades on a scale of A-F.*
* This score may not apply to all trims, especially for vehicles with multiple body styles that affect the space and design of the seating.

Warranty FAQs

What is a Bumper-to-Bumper warranty?

Often called a basic warranty or new-vehicle warranty, a bumper-to-bumper policy covers components like air conditioning, audio systems, vehicle sensors, fuel systems and major electrical components. Most policies exclude regular maintenance like fluid top offs and oil changes, but a few brands have separate free-maintenance provisions, and those that do offer them is slowly rising. Bumper-to-bumper warranties typically expire faster than powertrain warranties.

What is a Powertrain warranty?

Don't be misled a 10-year or 100,000-mile powertrain warranty doesn't promise a decade of free repairs for your car. It typically covers just the engine and transmission, along with any other moving parts that lead to the wheels, like the driveshaft and constant velocity joints. Some automakers also bundle seat belts and airbags into their powertrain warranties. With a few exceptions, powertrain warranties don't cover regular maintenance like engine tuneups and tire rotations.

What is included in Roadside Assistance?

Some automakers include roadside assistance with their bumper-to-bumper or powertrain warranties, while others have separate policies. These programs cover anything from flat-tire changes and locksmith services to jump-starts and towing. Few reimburse incidental costs like motel rooms (if you have to wait for repairs).

What other services could be included in a warranty?

Some automakers include free scheduled maintenance for items such as oil changes, air filters and tire rotations. Some include consumables including brake pads and windshield wipers; others do not. They are typically for the first couple of years of ownership of a new car.

What does CPO mean?

A certified pre-owned or CPO car has been inspected to meet minimum quality standards and typically includes some type of warranty. While dealers and third parties certify cars, the gold standard is an automaker-certified vehicle that provides a factory-backed warranty, often extending the original coverage. Vehicles must be in excellent condition and have low miles and wear to be certified, which is why off-lease vehicles feed many CPO programs.

See also the latest CPO incentives by automaker