The GMC Savana is a full-size passenger van that hit the streets in 1996. It replaced the Vandura in GMC's lineup, just as its twin the Chevy Express replaced the Chevy Van. There are two wheelbases for the GMC Savana: regular and extended. The standard wheelbase version of the Savana comes in both half-ton (1500) and 1-ton (3500). At 155 inches, the extended wheelbase Savana is available only as the 3500. There are two V8 engines the Savana can be powered by. The Savana 1500 is equipped with a 5.3L V8 that is capable of producing up to 295 horsepower and 335 pounds-per-foot of torque. The 3500 is outfitted with a 6.0L V8 that throws out around 300 horsepower and 360 pounds-per-foot of torque. Both engine configurations are mated to a four-speed transmission. All-wheel drive is available for the 1500 while the 3500 gets a standard stability control system.
There are two trim levels for the Savana: the LS and LT. The LT models are considered to be more passenger friendly while the LS vans are most commonly used as fleet vehicles. For instance, the LS is popular with landscapers, electricians, plumbers, and municipalities while the LT can be appropriate as a family vehicle. There haven't been many changes to the van itself or to the GMC Savana parts since its debut year, however in 2003 it did receive some updates, as the sheetmetal was revised. In 2004, StabiliTrak stability control was made standard on all variants of the GMC Savana. 2006 saw the addition of a 6.6L Duramax Diesel V8 to the lineup as an option. Come 2008, the interior saw a refresher and new side-impact roof airbags, which were made standard on all passenger versions of the Savana. That same year, a new E85 Flexfuel Vortec 5.3L V8 engine became offered in the Savana 1500.
When made available as a passenger van, the Savana can seat up to 15 passengers, which is when it can be seen used as a shuttle bus, school bus, towing vehicle, or method of transportation for groups such as churches and the like. These versions are often converted for a variety of needs, such as becoming wheelchair accessible. Rear-access can be more easily attainable when the van is equipped with a sliding passenger door and/or a 60/40 split driver's side rear door. The GMC Savana is a main competitor to Ford's E-series as well as the Dodge Sprinter, and is recognized as one of the best in its class. Since the model's inception it has been recognized by the industry for its versatility, customizable potential, and friendly price tag.
With any van, there are certain things you ask of it. First off, does it have the space? Can it handle itself in a tight spot? And does it have the performance necessary to efficiently get where it needs to go? The GMC Savana answers yes to all three, and is a favorite van/truck for a multitude of drivers who require the cargo area that is crucial to day-to-day life. There is no shortage of fuel-hogging boxes of metal that clog up the highways. But the GMC Savana stands alone, providing the economy and drivability that have ushered it to the highest levels of commercial success.
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