2015 GMC Savana Cargo Review

Savana Cargo

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2015 GMC Savana Cargo Overview

Looking like it came straight out of a 1980’s showroom, the 2015 GMC Savana Cargo van nevertheless reflects at least a few modern automotive advancements, but alas, fuel-efficiency and svelte lines aren’t among them.

In dropping the 1500 trim for the upcoming model year, this big Jimmy van remains available in only three-quarter-ton 2500 and one-ton 3500 variations, with each once again offered in regular-length and extended-length (Ext.) versions. Boasting standard seating for 3 passengers, regular-length iterations roll on a 135-inch wheelbase and measure 18.8 feet in overall length (LOA), carrying 239.7 cubic feet of cargo space. Extended-length editions stretch 20.4 feet LOA on a 155-inch wheelbase, also seat 3 and feature 284.4 cubes of toting capacity. Lost with the deletion of the 1500 variant is the availability of all-wheel drive (AWD), thus those survivors of GM’s latest loss-leader machinations will henceforth be delivered solely in rear-wheel-drive (RWD) garb.

Believe it or not, there are a few subtle… very subtle… changes to those Savana Cargo survivors for the looming model year. Standard AM/FM stereo entertainment with 2 speakers and a USB port is now included in the brochure for both trims, as is a standard 110-volt power point and side-cut keys. Also, 3 banks of LED lighting are available to all trims; ditto a debuting Emerald Green exterior color.

Endowed with a few added bells and whistles over its Chevy Express cousins, Jimmy’s cargo carrier nevertheless remains geared toward the no-nonsense business owner or tradesman, thereby remaining pretty much unsuitable for a leisurely jaunt in the countryside, even in its separately reviewed Savana Passenger Wagon form. Both the 2500 and 3500 Savana Cargo variations offer bare-bones appearance bling and creature comforts, including 16-inch steel wheels, swing-out back and rear cargo doors, full power accessories, vinyl upholstery, manual air conditioning and a trip computer, in addition to the new-for-2015 features mentioned above.

Options include, besides those latest add-ons already listed, things like GPS navigation, a 5-passenger Cargo Crew Van sub-trim, cloth upholstery and a single-CD player boasting satellite radio. Additional noteworthy options include cruise control, tilt-wheel steering and a power-adjustable driver’s seat, as well as rear parking sensors, a rear-view camera and Bluetooth hands-free calling.

Where this latest Savana Cargo iteration stands out is in its 3 engine offerings. Standard grunt for both the 2500 and the 3500 is a 4.8-liter V8 powerplant that mates with a 6-speed automatic transmission to put out 285 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque. Meantime, towing capacity returns at 10,000 pounds with the available towing package installed.

The 6.0-liter V8 of yore again remains an option, lineup-wide, mating again with the 6-speed automatic for 342 hp and 373 lb-ft of torque. Furthermore, this gasoline-burning powerplant can be tweaked to burn eco-friendlier compressed natural gas (CNG), but power numbers drop to 282 hp and 320 lb-ft of torque.

Finally, the 6.6-liter turbodiesel V8, with its 260 hp and impressive 525 lb-ft of torque again stands available for both trims as it returns under the management of the ubiquitous 6-speed automatic.

Although mileage figures are unavailable for any version of these hefty V8s, since the EPA does not rate vehicles weighing more than 6,000 pounds, it stands to reason that the turbodiesel would be the most fuel efficient of the trio, but needless to say, none will endear themselves to the more fuel-budget-fussy folks among us.

Anyhow, standard safety features aboard the pair of 2015 Savana Cargo offerings remain 4-wheel antilock brakes (ABS), traction and stability control, front side-curtain head airbags (front and rear in the available 5-passenger Cargo Crew Van iteration) and daytime running lights. Additionally, OnStar emergency communications and roadside assistance are once again optional in each trim.

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Have Laptop. Will Travel. I'm retired and travelling the country in a 34' motor home. I'm really digging meeting people . . and sometimes their cars . . . getting a sense of what makes this nation tick. The plan is to visit all the national parks in the continental US, then cruise to Alaska to visit Denali, and to Hawaii to check out Haleakala and the Hawaii Volcano's national parks. Anyhow, when I'm not horsing the motor home around the roadways, I'm tooting around in the 2012 Ford Focus that we tow behind, or making runs to Home Depot and various malls with the 2004 F-150 that just won't die.

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