2005 GMC Safari

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$22,930

starting MSRP

2005 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 2005 GMC Safari trim comparison will help you decide.

Notable features

  • 190-hp, 4.3-liter V-6
  • Available AWD
  • Choice of rear-door layout
  • Tow/haul transmission mode
  • Available Cargo Van

2005 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 can be equipped with rear- or all-wheel drive. Base, SLE and upscale SLT trim levels of the Safari passenger van are available.

A new standard argent-toned grille on base models was the only modification for 2004, and no changes take place for the 2005 model year.

Passenger vans seat up to eight occupants and can tow trailers weighing as much as 5,400 pounds. Chevrolet has launched a new Uplander minivan for 2005, but GMC doesn’t 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. 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 most versions. An available 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, and the van offers 41.3 cubic feet behind the upright third-row seat. 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 V-6 produces 250 pounds-feet of torque and 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.

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. Heavy-duty trailering equipment is available.

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-wheel-drive minivans. Despite recent refinements, 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 generous maximum towing 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 3.3
  • Interior design 3.7
  • Performance 3.4
  • Value for the money 3.7
  • Exterior styling 4.0
  • Reliability 3.6

Most recent consumer reviews

3.7

Great size and looks, can carry a lot of stuff

Bought in 2006 as a year-old former rent-a-car with 32K miles on it. Good looking van. Visibility of road, interior space, and cargo capacity is really good. Can carry full sheets of plywood and furniture very easily. It has the "alley" between the front seats that allows you to climb to the back if needed. Engine acceleration and braking is average, gas mileage rather poor, ride is slightly choppy. I'm 6-3 height, so I have lots of headroom but the seat doesn't go quite as far back as I'd like, so leg room is limited. That makes stop and go city/highway driving tiresome to the right leg since the gas pedal action, unlike other cars, requires some foot pressure. Had a 1996 Astro before the Safari, so I can approximately compare the cycle of repairs for the 2005 Safari. I'm an easy driver (not a lead foot)--but within 130K miles, the Safari has had three transmissions. Also, two AC overhauls, two fuel pumps and malfunctioning power locks and some fixed brake light circuitry. The engine runs hot in its tight bay, which tends to wear the distributor components and ERG valves. It's an old-school cult car because there are no like-sized vans made in 2021-- it's paid for, I'm used to it, I love it but it's somewhat punishing to drive. For the uninitiated, I would not recommend this vehicle for anything beyond utilitarian use.

5.0

They don't make 'em like this anymore

This is the best vehicle I've ever owned! 80,000 miles with no repairs until the heater core had to be replaced. I'd buy a new one if GMC would make them. The "Savana" is too big. The current resale value of these vans should encourage GMC to make them again!

4.7

They should not have stopped making these!

Very reliable. Powerful. Great style, has a cult following. 8 seats, AWD, plenty of space, strong towing. Unstoppable in snow. Poor MPG.

See all 7 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

2005

Chevrolet Astro

$22,930

starting MSRP

2004

GMC Savana 1500

$22,800

starting MSRP

2001

GMC Safari

$20,793

starting MSRP