New 2018 GMC Savana 2500 Cargo Van/Minivan New 2018
GMC Savana 2500 Cargo Van/Minivan

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KBB Editor's Overview

By KBB.com Editorial Staff

GMC’s 2018 Savana van is well known to both consumers and fleet managers, having been around in its present form for over 20 years. While the Savana’s longevity is great for those seeking a long service history and plentiful replacement parts, it’s not so good when talking about competing with newer, safer and more technologically advanced vans like the Ford Transit, Ram ProMaster and Mercedes-Benz Sprinter and Metris. On the plus side, the Savana Passenger van can carry up to 15 people and the Cargo van can tow up to 10,000 pounds. Though lacking the option of front-wheel or all-wheel drive, the Savana does offer a number of impressive engine options including a 4-cylinder turbodiesel and a powerful 6.0-liter V8.

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You'll Like This Van/Minivan If...

If you require a work van with a long history of reliable service, the 2018 GMC Savana is that van. Capable of towing up to 10,000 pounds, the Savana van makes an excellent choice for construction or delivery companies, as well as shuttle services. 

You May Not Like This Van/Minivan If...

The Savana doesn’t offer an extended roof, all-wheel drive or the latest in safety and technology systems. The lack of head restraints on the passenger model’s bench seats is an antiquated design some might not care for.

What's New for 2018

The 2018 GMC Savana drops its standard 4.8-liter V8 in favor of a 4.3-liter V6 engine mated to a new 8-speed transmission. A rearview monitor is now standard, while side-blind-zone alert and hill-start assist are now available. 

Driving It

Driving Impressions

Fans of 1970s’ vans will appreciate that the 2018 Savana’s overall shape and utility largely resemble the groovy vans of that era. Of course, the Savana has more modern features such as available blind-zone alert and a rearview camera, but little else has changed. The design has both advantages and drawbacks, the positives being the Savana’s powerful engine lineup, 12- or 15-passenger capability and 10,000-pound tow rating. However, unlike the Ford Transit or Ram ProMaster, the Savana doesn’t offer the extended-roof height that permits someone to work in the cargo bay without having to stoop over. The passenger model lacks the modern seating setup of its rivals, omitting both head restraints and center armrests, and when driving in snow or ice, the Savana’s rear-drive layout isn’t as capable as a front-drive van. On the road, the Savana’s high seating and ample glass make maneuverability quite easy, although a rather large turning radius somewhat hampers it in tight confines. The 2.8-liter turbodiesel offers good power and fuel economy, while the 6.0-liter V8 is the most powerful engine you can get in a work van.

Favorite Features

EASY ACCESS
If there’s one attribute with the Savana that won’t present a problem, it is access. From its traditional sliding-side door to the available hinged split-doors for the side and rear, the Savana is all about flexibility.

CAPABILITY
With a 10,000-pound tow rating, the Savana is one of the most capable work vans on the market. Its 284-cubic-foot cargo bay can be used to store vast numbers of boxes, provide space for a mobile workshop, or seat up to 15 passengers.

Vehicle Details

Interior

Function is the priority over form in the 2018 Savana. As either a cargo van doing commercial duty or passenger hauler acting as a shuttle for a hotel or large family, the Savana boasts loads of interior space. Unlike competitors, only one roof height is available, but there is an extended-length model that provides even more space. Sturdy plastics and vinyl seats are the cabin materials of choice. Cargo models can seat two up front, while a Crew Cargo version seats five and still offers plenty of space in back. Passenger models seat 12 in standard form, 15 for extended-length models.

Exterior

If you have a bunch of things to carry, you put them in a box, right? That's the philosophy behind the GMC Savana's design. The shape hasn't evolved much in 30 years, but you could argue that it hasn't needed to. Of course, there are some distinctions, such as the rounded corners, flush headlights and high taillights. Available door configurations include sliding or split swing-out passenger-side doors and numerous add-ons like the swing-out ladder rack. The van can also be customized to accommodate wheelchairs and assist with entry, and buyers can even receive financial reimbursement through the GM Mobility Program.

Notable Standard Equipment

It's not surprising that a work van like the base Savana cargo has the barest essentials. There is a standard 4.3-liter V6, air conditioning, power windows and door locks, manual exterior mirrors, rearview camera, vinyl seats and an AM/FM radio with auxiliary input. It is also equipped with GM’s subscription-based OnStar 4G LTE connectivity service. Passenger-van models feature cloth seat fabric and 12- or 15-passenger seating. Safety features include 4-wheel anti-lock disc brakes, StabiliTrak electronic stability control and dual front airbags (plus head/side-curtain airbags for the first three rows in the Passenger Van).

Notable Optional Equipment

The Savana's noteworthy extras include a 6.0-liter V8 or 2.8-liter turbodiesel 4-cylinder engine, a towing package, locking rear differential, cruise control, upgraded audio systems and blind-spot monitor. Also available is an integrated 6.5-inch touch-screen navigation system with traffic information. Passenger models can get rear air conditioning, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and other comfort/convenience amenities, while cargo vans offer a spray-in floor liner. On the more industrial side, there's an enormous upfitter market for tool racks, work benches, special-needs mobility provisions and whatever else you can imagine. GM actively cooperates with these manufacturers.

Under the Hood

The 2018 Savana full-size van offers a choice of three engines. Standard is a new 4.3-liter V6 that puts out 276 horsepower and 298 lb-ft of torque. This engine is teamed with an 8-speed automatic for improved fuel economy. Optional is a 2.8-liter inline-4 turbodiesel also teamed with the 8-speed transmission. Lastly, there’s the workhorse 6.0-liter V8 good for 342 horsepower and mated to a 6-speed automatic. All Savana vans are powered by their rear wheels, so if you require an all-wheel-drive commercial van, you’ll need to look to the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter.

2.8-liter turbocharged diesel inline-4
181 horsepower @ 3,400 rpm
369 lb-ft of torque @2,000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: N/A

4.3-liter V6
276 horsepower @ 5,200 rpm
298 lb-ft of torque @ 3,900 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: N/A

6.0-liter V8
342 horsepower @ 5,400 rpm
373 lb-ft of torque @ 4,400 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 11/16 mpg

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Pricing Notes

The 2018 GMC Savana has a Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) starting just under $32,500 for a base cargo van, while passenger-van models start just under $35,000. The basic chassis for a cutaway van will run about $31,000 before upfitting. The 2.8-liter diesel adds a cool $4,000 to the bottom line. That's competitive with the Nissan NV, which lacks the Savana's towing capacity. The Mercedes-Benz Sprinter costs more, though the new Sprinter Worker model appeals with its mid-$30,000 price and standard diesel engine. Also alluring are the smaller, nimbler Mercedes-Benz Metris that starts under $30,000 and the newer Ford Transit and Ram ProMaster. Be sure to check the KBB.com Fair Purchase Price to see what others in your area paid. The Savana's resale value is expected to be on par with the Transit and Nissan NV and better than the Ram ProMaster.

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