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2020 GMC Savana Overview

Like its GM corporate cousin the Chevrolet Express, the GMC Savana will accommodate up to 15 passengers, depending on its configuration. Although the Savana is an older design, it still acquits itself well at hauling people with ease and comfort.

The Savana offers four engines. The base mill is a 4.3-liter V6 rated at 276 horsepower and 298 pound-feet of torque. A turbodiesel 2.8-liter 4-cylinder engine rated at 181 hp and 369 lb-ft of torque is also available. Both are paired with an 8-speed automatic transmission. A gasoline-powered 6.0-liter V8 rated at 341 hp and 373 lb-ft of torque is optional, as is a second 6.0-liter V8 with the same power output that operates on either propane or compressed natural gas. Both V8s are mated to a 6-speed automatic transmission. Every Chevy Savana passenger van has rear-wheel drive (RWD) and comes with a 3.42:1 axle ratio. Towing capacity for the Savana ranges between 5,300 and 9,600 pounds depending on configuration.

Two wheelbases—135.2 inches and 155.1 inches—are available. And two configurations of the Savana are offered to accommodate different payloads. The lighter-duty 2500, which is available only with the 135-inch wheelbase, is capable of handling payloads up to 2,610 pounds, while the heavier-duty 3500 will handle loads up to 4,250 pounds, depending on which wheelbase is selected. Two seating arrangements are available to accommodate either 12 or 15 passengers.

The Savana passenger van is sold in two trim levels, LS and LT, which each come standard with 12-passenger seating and are 4G LTE WiFi capable. LS models are strippers and come with bare essentials like vinyl seats and flooring. Opting for the LT adds power windows and door locks as well as carpeting and floor mats. The LT also brings safety and convenience equipment like forward-collision alert, lane-departure warning, and keyless entry. Chrome bumpers, trim, and wheel finishers are included with LT trims as well.

If you’re considering the Savana as a people mover, you owe it to yourself to look at more modern vans like the Nissan NV, Ford Transit, and Mercedes-Benz Sprinter. Though they’re all more costly, each drives with better response and offers equal cargo space, depending on configuration. Besides being long in the tooth, the Savana’s lack of a high-roof configuration, which is offered by competitors in the segment, can be a real downside if you don’t want passengers to have to duck as they move around inside the van. Still, people moving comes with two basic needs—seats and cargo space. And the Savana is one of the most cost-effective ways to get both of those in one vehicle.


Josh Jacquot is an automotive journalist who has held positions at both enthusiast- and consumer-based automotive publications for more than 20 years. With a far-reaching knowledge of all things automotive, his career has put him behind the wheel of everything from snowplows to 600-horsepower rallycross cars. His driving resume includes wins at the national level in NASA Rallysport competition and the California Rally Series in addition to one regrettable night at the inaugural 25 Hours of Thunderhill. Though he likes most anything that can be driven, he has a particular affinity for box flares, Campagnolo wheels, and gratuitous wings and ducts. Someday he will own an Renault R5 Turbo.

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