2004 GMC Safari

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$828–$10,136 Inventory Prices
(5.0) 1 reviews
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Key Specs
Our Take
Overview
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Key Specs

of the 2004 GMC Safari. Base trim shown.

Our Take

From the Cars.com Vehicle Test Team

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

Notable Features of the 2004 GMC Safari

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

2004 GMC Safari Overview

By Cars.com Editors
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. Rea...
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.


Latest 2004 Safari Stories

What Drivers Are Saying

Exterior Styling
(4.0)
Performance
(5.0)
Interior Design
(4.0)
Comfort
(5.0)
Reliability
(5.0)
Value For The Money
(5.0)

Latest Reviews

(5.0)

RWD mid size van on a truck chassis

by AstroFan from gainesville, FL on April 8, 2017

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 ... Read full review

Safety & Recalls

Recalls

The 2004 GMC Safari currently has 2 recalls

Crash and Rollover Test Ratings

The 2004 GMC Safari has not been tested.

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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