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2003 GMC Safari Overview
Established somewhere between big full-size vans and ubiquitous minivans are the mid-size GMC Safari and Chevrolet Astro. What sets the Safari and Astro apart is that they are larger than minivans without being monstrous. They have more power than minivans yet they can be driven easily in traffic. And -- most significant -- they are rear-wheel drive. While these mid-size GMC and Chevy vans may seem like technological throwbacks to some people, they serve a very real and valuable purpose to others: With powerful engines and rear-wheel drive, they can tow much heavier trailers than front-wheel-drive minivans can handle. These mid-size vans are a good choice when recreational pursuits include boats, camping trailers, jet skis, dirt bikes, race cars or anything else that rides to the play site, yet the vehicle is also needed to haul kids around. They are easier to maneuver in city traffic than manhandling a full-size van or sport-utility vehicle. We evaluated a GMC Safari in the mid-range SLE trim, but the Chevrolet Astro is practically identical to the Safari. Our Safari proved to be a great tow vehicle with plenty of size and power to deal comfortably with a trailer weighing 5500 pounds. GM's 4.3-liter V6 engine is a real workhorse with lots of torque for pulling heavy loads.