2016 GMC Savana Review

Savana

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2016 GMC Savana Overview

Despite an outdated exterior design and fuel efficiency numbers reminiscent of a 1970’s muscle car, GMC’s 2016 Savana full-size passenger van will at least continue to haul up to 15 folks from here to there, more or less comfortably. The Savana is oriented towards the commercial market, but a number of mostly-optional updates are expected to marginally enhance the van's relatively spare interior.

The upcoming model year has the Savana back in 2 trims, the three-quarter-ton 2500 and the 1-ton 3500. These subdivide into the base LS and the up-featured LT versions, with a turbodiesel-powered 3500 LS2 and LT2 available as well. Exclusive to the 3500 is an EXT (extended length/wheelbase) trim that adds 20 inches to the standard 135-inch (11.25 foot) wheelbase and regular 224.1-inch (18-feet, 8-inches) overall length. All trims are available with rear-wheel drive (RWD) only.

Two of the bigger anticipated improvements for the 2016 Savana lineup are GM’s IntelliLink system with GPS navigation, smartphone apps, and internet radio (which replaces the older AM/FM stereo), and OnStar-interfaced 4G LTE WiFi capability. New options include a revised rear-view camera display, black-hued heated power-adjustable outside mirrors, a new 220-amp alternator, and a dual isolated battery system.

The new Savana keeps its standard drivetrain, a 4.8-liter flex-fuel V8 mated with a 6-speed automatic transmission to the tune of 285 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque. Mileage estimates are 11 mpg city/17 highway/13 combined for the base powerplant.

The Savana 2500 returns for 2016 with an optional 6.0-liter flex-fuel V8 paired with the 6-speed automatic to put out 329 hp and 373 lb-ft of torque. The 2500 trims equipped with this up-powered V8 are estimated at 11/16/13, while 3500 trims with the V8 come in slightly lower at 11/16/12. There is also a compressed natural gas (CNG) version of the V8, but it only produces 282 hp and 320lb-ft of torque when paired with the 6-speed automatic.

Those needing extra power can outfit the 3500 trims with an available 6.6-liter turbodiesel V8 that boasts 260 hp and a hefty 525 lb-ft of torque with the 6-speed automatic transmission. No EPA figures are available for the V8, but it can haul up to 10,000 pounds of trailer with the heavy-duty towing package installed.

Standard for the 2016 Savana LS are 16-inch steel wheels and passenger-side swing-out doors, while the LT adds standard chrome exterior trim pieces. Inside, the LS returns with vinyl upholstery, power windows and door locks, front air conditioning, and basic OnStar telematics. The LT sports standard keyless entry, rear air conditioning, premium cloth upholstery, cruise control, and a tilt-only steering wheel.

Returning options are expected to include a rear-view camera with an upgraded display, rear parking sensors, an upgraded audio system with 6 speakers and satellite radio, and Bluetooth hands-free technology.

Standard safety features aboard the 2016 Savana include 4-wheel antilock brakes (ABS), traction and stability control, 3-row head-protection airbags, and new seat-mounted thorax airbags. Daytime running lights and a post-collision safety system also return standard.

Look for this full-size passenger van to go on sale this fall, challenging the Ford Transit and the popular Ram ProMaster City, which each offer two roof heights, as well as Nissan’s NV and Mercedes-Benz’s Euro-styled Sprinter.

Updated
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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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