2001 GMC Safari

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$20,793

starting MSRP

2001 GMC Safari

Key specs

Base trim shown

Overview

5 trims

Starting msrp listed lowest to highest price

Wondering which trim is right for you?

Our 2001 GMC Safari trim comparison will help you decide.

2001 GMC Safari review: Our expert's take

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

Rating breakdown (out of 5):
  • Comfort 3.8
  • Interior design 3.8
  • Performance 3.6
  • Value for the money 3.6
  • Exterior styling 3.8
  • Reliability 4.0

Most recent consumer reviews

4.6

Extremely comfortable

This van met all of our needs. The seats were very comfortable with plenty of room for a family of 5. Drove to Florida with 7 people and had plenty of room. The all wheel drive made this a superior van.

5.0

I've always loved the Safari/Astros

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/idler/shocks that were taken care in the extended warranty. solid vehicle with lots of room to carry things and the roof rack is very useful.

2.0

LEMON

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 fine, unfortunately, it's reliability was an issue. In 4 years and only 68,000 miles, I had to replace the rear heater, 2 power lock actuators, vacuum diaphram, rear door weatherstripping, entire carpet (leaked when it rained) MAP sensor, serpentine belt and transmission. This is exactly the type of vehicle that gives GM a bad name. No wonder they went bankrupt.

See all 5 consumer reviews

Warranty

New car and Certified Pre-Owned programs by GMC
Certified Pre-Owned program benefits
Maximum age/mileage
5 model years or newer/up to 75,000 miles
Basic warranty terms
12 months/12,000 miles bumper-to-bumper original warranty, then may continue to 6 years/100,000 miles limited (depending on variables)
Powertrain
6 years/100,000 miles
Dealer certification required
172-point inspection
Roadside assistance
Yes
View all cpo program details

Have questions about warranties or CPO programs?

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