2011 GMC Savana Cargo Review

Savana Cargo

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2011 GMC Savana Cargo Overview

The 2011 GMC Savana Cargo goes about its business in the same reliable manner this model has year after year, minus any frills and with nothing fancy-dancy about it. In fact, the Savana celebrates its Sweet Sixteen birthday this year, and while it’s more than willing and able to cart a roomful of presents home for the big party, don’t be expecting it to take a cake break from its workmanlike ways or to get all gussied up for a night on the town.

While the Savana remains all about the basics, GMC does give it a little birthday treat, with a bit of an update in what already has been an impressive range of engine options. The top-of-the-line 6.6-liter V8 turbodiesel has been upgraded and now puts out 260 horsepower with 525 lb-ft of torque.

GMC again sends the 2011 Savana Cargo out in a wide range of setups. It starts with 1500 trims and moves on to heavy duty 2500 and 3500 offerings. The 2500 and 3500 versions come with a choice of a regular (135 inches) or an extended (155) wheelbase and a gas or diesel engine. The 1500 gets only the regular wheelbase, but is the only Savana Cargo available with all-wheel drive (AWD).

Engine options for the 2011 GMC Savana Cargo begin with a 195-hp, 4.3-liter V6 that is paired with a 4-speed automatic transmission with overdrive. A flex-fuel 4.8-liter V8 with 279 hp, a flex-fuel 5.3-liter V8 with 301 hp and a flex-fuel 6.0-liter V8 with 323 hp are also available on the way up to that new 6.6-liter V8 turbodiesel. The 5.3-liter gets a 4-speed automatic, and the 4.8-liter, 6.0-liter and 6.6-liter V8s are mated with a new 6-speed automatic with overdrive. The Savana Cargo 1500 with the 4.3-liter V6 gets an estimated 15 mpg city/20 highway and the 6.0-liter V8 on the Savana Cargo 3500 gets 10/16.

The 2011 GMC Savana Cargo boasts some beefy numbers when it comes to hauling furniture, contractor’s tools or whatever goods you or your company might want to transport. The figures range from a payload capability of 2,329 pounds and towing rating of 4,300 pounds with the 4.3-liter V6 in the Savana 1500 Cargo to 3,438 pounds for payload and 10,000 pounds for towing with the new V8 turbodiesel in the Savana Cargo 3500.

The numbers stack up well in what is a limited full-size cargo van market that also includes the Ford Econoline, Chevy Express and Mercedes-Benz Sprinter. The Sprinter offers the best maneuverability in the class, but the 2011 GMC Savana Cargo in general receives good marks from reviewers for the way it handles and, given some expected lean in the corners, rides. The experts especially like the AWD of the 1500.

The interior of the 2011 GMC Savana Cargo follows suit with the rest of the vehicle and emphasizes substance over style. The controls are easy to reach and easy to use. Vinyl, better for cleaning and keeping materials from moving around, covers both the floor and the front bucket seats in the base trim. The Savana has all kinds of room for cargo with a maximum of 317 cubic feet of storage, though experts note that there is no tall roof option as there is in some competitors’ offerings.

Opportunities do exist to spice up the cabin. Custom cloth upholstery, power window and door locks, remote keyless entry, a six-way power driver’s seat, Bluetooth connectivity and an upgraded stereo system are among available options.

The 2011 GMC Savana Cargo comes with antilock brakes, stability control, a tire pressure monitoring system, daytime running lights and dual front and side curtain airbags as standard equipment.

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