2004 GMC Safari

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$22,695

starting MSRP

2004 GMC Safari

Key specs

Base trim shown

Overview

The good:

  • Interior space
  • Towing capacity
  • Cargo-hauling capacity
  • All-weather traction with AWD

The bad:

  • Ride comfort
  • Handling
  • Wet-weather traction with RWD
  • No side-impact airbags
  • Resale value

3 trims

Starting msrp listed lowest to highest price

Wondering which trim is right for you?

Our 2004 GMC Safari trim comparison will help you decide.

Notable features

  • Available AWD
  • Choice of rear-door layout
  • Tow/Haul transmission mode
  • Available Cargo Van configuration

2004 GMC Safari review: Our expert's take

Vehicle Overview
Like the similar Chevrolet Astro, the Safari is GMC’s long-lived midsize van; both date back to 1985. The truck-based Safari remains available in passenger and cargo-carrying versions and with either rear-wheel drive or all-wheel drive. Base, SLE and upscale SLT trim levels of the passenger-carrying Safari are available; the SLE and SLT trim designations are actually option groups.

Last year, larger 16-inch wheels and tires were installed as standard equipment on all models, and aluminum wheels became standard on the SLE and SLT. More affordable entry-level models were added. A new standard argent-toned grille on base models is the only change for the 2004 model year.

Passenger vans seat up to eight occupants and can tow trailers up to 5,400 pounds. Chevrolet also offers the front-wheel-drive Venture minivan, but GMC does not have a comparable model in its lineup. GMC sells far fewer Safaris than Chevrolet does with its Astro.

Exterior
Both the Astro and Safari ride a 111.2-inch wheelbase and stretch 189.8 inches long overall. A regular-length Dodge Caravan is nearly as long, but the Safari is 6 inches taller.

A sliding door is installed only on the passenger side of the Safari. Side-hinged swing-open rear cargo doors are standard. Optional rear Dutch doors consist of a swing-up rear window on the top and twin swing-out half-height doors on the bottom. A rear defogger is included with the Dutch-door arrangement.

Interior
Eight-passenger seating is standard. Rear occupants get a pair of three-passenger benches in the SLE version. An optional seven-passenger configuration for the SLT features two bucket seats in place of the second-row bench. Cargo volume totals 170.4 cubic feet with the second- and third-row seats removed. All passenger versions have a tilt steering wheel, cruise control, and power windows, locks and mirrors.

Under the Hood
A 190-horsepower, 4.3-liter Vortec V-6 engine mates with a four-speed-automatic transmission. A Tow/Haul mode in the transmission promises the best shift points when hauling heavy loads or towing a trailer or boat. Safaris have payload ratings between 1,666 and 1,764 pounds, and towing capacities range between 5,100 and 5,800 pounds.

Optional all-wheel drive ordinarily sends full engine power to the back wheels. When the wheels begin to slip, the system automatically delivers power to the front wheels until the Safari is able to regain traction.

Safety
All-disc antilock brakes and daytime running lights are standard. Side-impact airbags are not available.

Driving Impressions
Evaluated by size and overall driving feel, the Safari and Astro look and behave more like scaled-down versions of the GMC Savana and Chevrolet Express full-size vans than like front-drive minivans. Despite recent refinements and a healthy helping of comfort and convenience features, their rear- and all-wheel-drive layouts inevitably produce more of a trucklike experience than you’d get in a front-drive minivan.

With a burly hauling capacity and a spacious cargo hold, the Safari serves as a useful compromise. But for everyday driving, most people would be better suited in a conventional front-drive minivan.

Consumer reviews

Rating breakdown (out of 5):
  • Comfort 5.0
  • Interior design 4.5
  • Performance 5.0
  • Value for the money 5.0
  • Exterior styling 4.5
  • Reliability 5.0

Most recent consumer reviews

5.0

Wish they still made them!

Loved this van! I'm short and sat up high enough to see over short front hood. Had four captains with removable 3rd bench seat. Large enough interior to haul 4x8 sheet plywood and for me to walk front to back on the flat floor. Loved all the extra little storage compartments. All wheel drive and power enough to get through any snow bank! Had it 14 years and would have purchased another, but they discontinued making them.

4.7

RWD mid size van on a truck chassis

Fantastic RWD mid size van with lots of people/cargo space and towing power. GMC should have never discontinued this vehicle. Only a $$$$$ 1/2 ton truck with crew cab comes close to replacing what this mighty van can do for you. Google it if you do not believe me. It is great for a long vacation or to take your group of friends out to dinner or concert, or to tow your boat or camper. I had 5 Astro/Safari over the last 25 years and they never let me down. One of them I drove it past 350k miles without any major troubles.

See all 2 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?

Compare the competitors

2003

Chevrolet Astro

$22,050

starting MSRP

2004

GMC Savana 1500

$22,800

starting MSRP

2002

GMC Safari

$21,272

starting MSRP