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2016 GMC Savana 3500 Overview

James Flammang
Contributing Editor - October 28, 2015

Cousin to the Chevrolet Express, the full-size GMC Savana has long been a mainstay of the commercial van segment. For some buyers, private as well as commercial, nothing other than a traditional van with a large engine and big body will suffice.

These rear-wheel-drive vans come in two forms: for hauling cargo, or carrying a dozen or so people. Using heavy-duty truck underpinnings, a Savana is more capable than almost any other work vehicle. The Savana 3500 is the heaviest-duty model; a 2500 also is available.

What's New for 2016

Only a few equipment changes have been made, led by standard OnStar with 4G LTE connectivity, with a Wi-Fi hotspot that can provide a mobile hub. New options include GMC IntelliLink with navigation radio, single-pane side-view mirrors, a 220-amp generator, and dual isolated battery system. Six airbags are standard, including seat-mounted thorax protection. Cargo vans gain a digital AM/FM radio with MP3 player.

GMC Savana 3500

Choosing Your GMC Savana 3500

The Savana 3500 comes in two essential forms: a basic cargo van and a more plushly equipped passenger van.

  • Both come on either regular or extended wheelbases, with either a 4.8-liter V8 that makes 285 horsepower or a 342-horsepower 6-liter V8.
  • You can also get a Duramax diesel-engine model rated at 260 horsepower and 525 pound-feet of torque. The diesel van has much greater hauling capacity (up to 10,000 pounds), but adds almost $13,000 to the price.

On the cargo van, features are restricted to basic creature comforts. Passenger models can be had with some additional niceties. Still, in any form, the Savana is no luxury cruiser.

Cargo Van

The cargo van comes with a 4.8-liter V8 engine, six-speed automatic transmission, 60/40-split passenger-side doors, a driver information center, 110-volt power outlet, six cargo-securing D-rings,16-inch wheels, air conditioning, power locks and windows, and vinyl seat upholstery. Extended-length vans get rear air conditioning. Options include remote keyless entry, a heavy-duty battery and alternator, trailer towing package, rearview camera, and rear bench seat. Also available is a 6-liter gasoline V8, or the expensive 6.6-liter Duramax diesel.

LS Passenger Van

The passenger variant comes standard with 12 seats, and is equipped similarly to the cargo van, including a radio with MP3 player, power locks and windows, and air conditioning, as well as cruise control. Seating for either 8 or 15 passengers is available, along with satellite radio, remote keyless entry, a power driver's seat, steering-wheel audio controls, satellite navigation, and remote start.

LT Passenger Van

This step-up model also has standard seating for 12, adding such extras as remote keyless entry, a rear auxiliary heater, and rear air conditioning.

Get your price on a GMC Savana 3500 »

CarsDirect Tip

The diesel option probably doesn't make much sense, given its hefty price tag and excessive fuel consumption; but the relatively modest $995 for the uplevel 6-liter V8 could be justified. Option with care, though. A Savana can grow quite expensive, and no selection of features will transform it into a luxurious work vehicle or a comfortable people-hauler. That's not the mission of any full-size van.

GMC Savana 3500 Rear

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