1998 GMC Safari Review

Used Safari for sale
List Price Estimate:$948 - $1,649
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Edmunds' Expert Review

  • Big inside but small outside. Torquey V-6 engine. Dual airbags. Standard ABS. Available all-wheel drive.
  • Fuel economy. Aging design. Intrusive engine cover.

Vehicle overview

Choosing between a Chevrolet Astro and a GMC Safari is more a matter of image than necessity. Do you want to see Chevrolet's badge every time you approach? Or would it be viscerally satisfying to face those bold "GMC" block letters, with their implication, as brand managers hope, of upscale luxury?

Tangible differences between the two are modest--a fact that's true of most Chevrolet and GMC cousins. Once you've decided that a rear drive (or all wheel drive) General Motors midsize van is the rational choice, you'll likely be satisfied with either one.

Because of their traditional-type full-frame construction and rear-drive layout, Safaris are most adept at heavy hauling and burly trailer towing. Not everyone will relish the truck-like ride over harsh surfaces, but it's not bad at all when the highway smoothes out. Don't expect top-notch fuel mileage, though.

Dual airbags are housed in an artfully styled dashboard, and antilock brakes are standard. For added safety and visibility, daytime running lights blaze the trail. Integrated child safety seats are available for the center bench seat, and the sliding door has a child safety lock. Rear seat heat ducts direct warm air to freezing rear passengers. For 1998, a PassLock theft deterrent system has been added to the Safari.

One slick feature sure to be appreciated by the parents of teenagers is the middle radio option. The driver and front passenger can listen to Casey Kasem up front, or nothing at all, while Junior blasts the local alternative music station into his eardrums via a set of headphone jacks that plug into a separate radio unit in the center row. This option alone is worth the savings in family therapy, don't you think?

GM's 4300 Vortec V6 is standard, sending 190 horsepower to an electronically controlled four-speed automatic transmission. Long-life engine coolant and 100,000-mile spark plugs help keep maintenance costs to a minimum. This year brings transmission refinements that result in improved fuel economy, better shift quality and increased reliability.

Safaris come in three trim levels. The FE2 touring suspension option has stiffer shocks, a rear stabilizer bar and grabby Goodyear rubber for a firmer, controlled ride. Eight-passenger seating is standard in Safaris with SLE or SLT trim, and available in the base SLX rendition. Several new colors are available for 1997.

Whether rear drive or running full-time all-wheel drive, Safaris serve the muscular tasks that a front-drive minivan just cannot handle--yet transport a family in a fashion that won't produce pangs of pain.

1998 Highlights

New colors, a theft-deterrent system and automatic transmission refinements are the changes to the Safari. This van is one of the few GM models that retains full-power airbags for 1998.

Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the Used 1998 GMC Safari.

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Most helpful consumer reviews

4.88 out of 5 stars
It's a Work Horse
GM Owner,07/21/2008
SLE 3dr Minivan
We love our van. Bought new has 110k miles. This van has pulled concrete carts, hauled 8 passengers, been filled with cement blocks, carried surf boards, moved us accross country and took us camping for two weeks this summer thru deserts (115f) and over mountains at 8,000ft. We take out the seats, place a bed inside and just cruise by those expensive motels. It will get over 24mpg if you set cruise under 60mph. Its a work horse!
4 out of 5 stars
great truck
SLX 3dr Minivan
I drive courier in this van,300 hard miles a day. replace idler arms every 100000 and other normal wear items never let me down.with proper maintenance will go forever. change tranny fluid every 15000. recomend this vehicle for any one wanting a tough vehicle that will hold the entire family
3.88 out of 5 stars
Lots of life left
SLE 3dr Minivan AWD
2nd owner of this AWD and I now have 120,000 miles on it. Took it to Colorado Springs (from Pa.) this summer and had no problems. Van got between 18 and 20 MPG going 70-80 MPH but would get 24.5 going 55. In cColorado Springs it got 16.5 MPG. Only problems I ever had with van was a water pump at 115,000. It has been a good Van. Outstanding AWD in the snow. Better than my 4X4 truck. 4.3 cyl. probably the best 6 cyl. on market but could get better MPG.
4.25 out of 5 stars
All around good vehicle
SLT 3dr Minivan
Our experience with this van has been excellent. It hauls 7 people plus ample luggage, averages 21 mpg (RWD), and we tow up to 6,000 lbs with it (rated for 5,000). No other vehicle we are aware of offers this kind of utility AND gets this kind of gas mileage. After 5 years and 100k miles, it has never left us stranded. We take care of it, and plan to drive it as far as it will go. We love it.


NHTSA Overall Rating

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration offers independent analysis.
  • Frontal Barrier Crash Rating
    OverallNot Rated
    Driver3 / 5
    Passenger3 / 5
  • Side Crash Rating
    OverallNot Rated
  • Side Barrier Rating
    OverallNot Rated
    DriverNot Rated
    PassengerNot Rated
  • Combined Side Barrier & Pole Ratings
    Front SeatNot Rated
    Back SeatNot Rated
  • Rollover
    RolloverNot Rated
    Dynamic Test ResultNo Tip
    Risk Of RolloverNot Rated
IIHS Rating
The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety uses extensive crash tests to determine car safety.
  • Side Impact Test
    Not Tested
  • Roof Strength Test
    Not Tested
  • Rear Crash Protection / Head Restraint
    Not Tested
  • IIHS Small Overlap Front Test
    Not Tested
  • Moderate Overlap Front Test

More about the 1998 GMC Safari

Used 1998 GMC Safari Overview

The Used 1998 GMC Safari is offered in the following submodels: Safari Minivan. Available styles include SLE 3dr Minivan, SLX 3dr Minivan, SLX 3dr Minivan AWD, SLE 3dr Minivan AWD, SLT 3dr Minivan AWD, and SLT 3dr Minivan. Pre-owned GMC Safari models are available with a 4.3 L-liter gas engine, with output up to 190 hp, depending on engine type. The Used 1998 GMC Safari comes with rear wheel drive, and all wheel drive. Available transmissions include: 4-speed automatic.

What's a good price on a Used 1998 GMC Safari?

Shop with Edmunds for perks and special offers on used cars, trucks, and SUVs near Ashburn, VA. Doing so could save you hundreds or thousands of dollars. Edmunds also provides consumer-driven dealership sales and service reviews to help you make informed decisions about what cars to buy and where to buy them.

Which used 1998 GMC Safaris are available in my area?

Shop Edmunds' car, SUV, and truck listings of over 6 million vehicles to find a cheap new, used, or certified pre-owned (CPO) 1998 GMC Safari for sale near. Simply research the type of car you're interested in and then select a used car from our massive database to find cheap prew-owned vehicles for sale near you. Once you have identified a used vehicle you're interested in, check the AutoCheck vehicle history reports, read dealer reviews, and find out what other owners paid for the Used 1998 GMC Safari.

Can't find a used 1998 GMC Safaris you want in your area? Consider a broader search.

Find a used GMC Safari for sale - 11 great deals out of 13 listings starting at $10,248.

Find a used GMC for sale - 3 great deals out of 6 listings starting at $15,200.

Find a used certified pre-owned GMC Safari for sale - 6 great deals out of 21 listings starting at $20,711.

Find a used certified pre-owned GMC for sale - 3 great deals out of 13 listings starting at $14,339.

Should I lease or buy a 1998 GMC Safari?

Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand, can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a new car every three years or so.

Check out GMC lease specials
Check out GMC Safari lease specials