2001 GMC Safari Review

Pros & Cons

  • Standard eight-passenger seating, 6,000-pound trailer rating, torquey V6.
  • Boxy design, poor fuel economy, intrusive engine cover makes for small footwells.
List Price Estimate
$2,000 - $3,351

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Edmunds' Expert Review

A minivan with truck capabilities ... and refinement ... and ride quality.

Vehicle overview

Because of their traditional-type full-frame construction and standard rear-drive layout, Safaris are most adept at heavy hauling and burly trailer towing. This is one of the very few minivans (GMC calls it a midsize) on the market that can combine over 6,000 pounds of trailering capacity with room for eight people. That's also a good reason why a Cargo Van model is offered, with stripped-out interior ready for upfitting into a workhorse service van -- complete with tool racks or parts bins. Not everyone will relish the truck-like ride over harsh road surfaces, but it's not bad when the highway smoothes out. Don't expect top-notch fuel mileage, though, despite a continually improved powertrain.

GM's 4300 Vortec V6 is standard, sporting more durable camshaft bearings, a lighter starter that requires less current from the battery to crank the engine and a new, more advanced powertrain control module. The 4.3-liter sends 190 horsepower and a healthy 250 foot-pounds of torque to an electronically controlled, four-speed automatic overdrive transmission, equipped with a tow/haul mode for improved performance under loads. Long-life engine coolant and spark plugs help keep maintenance costs to a minimum. All-wheel-drive versions have GM's AutoTrac transfer case, which automatically transfers power to the front axle when rear-wheel slippage is detected.

While the base Cargo Van is the darling of commercial and fleet customers, the Passenger Van is what draws retail buyers. Thanks to some repackaging to reduce the number of build combinations, Safaris now come in just two trim levels, a well-equipped SLE and top-of-the line SLT, with a third-row bench and eight-passenger seating standard (though opting for center-row buckets cuts seating to seven). Instead of the typical minivan lift-up rear door, GMC offers right- and left-hand rear load doors, with the option of choosing "dutch" doors (standard on SLT), which feature a liftglass and a split tailgate. Three different preferred equipment groups now contain 34 distinct features as standard or optional equipment, helping make the long-aging Safari a solid value.

Dual airbags are housed in an artfully styled dashboard, and four-wheel disc/drum antilock brakes are standard. So are features such as speed-sensitive power steering, delayed interior lighting, twin under-seat rear-passenger heating ducts, overhead reading lamps, various built-in cupholders and storage bins and three power outlets.

Insiders say that Safari's days (and those of its Chevy Astro sister) are numbered. But for now, whether your choice is simple rear-drive or full-time all-wheel drive, Safaris still enjoy the rare ability to handle the kinds of towing/hauling tasks that pose problems for modern front-drive minivans. And when the need to transport people dictates that eight is just enough, the Safari is packaged to be just right.

2001 Highlights

Safari gets still more engineering enhancements for its 4.3-liter V6, and higher-output alternators. Door locks have been improved for increased security and remote keyless entry has been made standard on passenger van models. To reduce build complexity, preferred equipment groups have been revised and trim levels cut from three to two.

Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the 2001 GMC Safari.

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Most helpful consumer reviews

CHEAP TO KEEP
bam bam,11/13/2003
This vehicle will last you a lifetime and spend very little time in the repair shop.maintenance costs are super low if you stay away from the awd. i purchased an extended warranty but i know I'll rarely use it. as long as you understand its a dinosaur to drive around town pot holes. also note that it is a durable "truck" that can get to be a handful when the fuel tank gets close to one quarter full when the pavement is wet. adding weight during the winter with the correct truck type tires will keep you unstuck. the engine power could be stronger, but the smooth power band and not too stiff suspension makes it pretty effortless to drive.
Two time owner. . .
Vikki,09/24/2003
We had a 1991 Safari as our first van and loved it, but only had the SLE. We now have and love the SLT seating and comfort. All the things we wished for in our first Safari van we got in our second Safari van. Now if they would have power door openers for the side and back doors, we would be even more thrilled! We have compared to lots of the SUVs and we like what we have better so far. The milage could be better (and it could be worse too!)
WHY! Did They Stop Making Them???
GMC all the way,02/03/2009
Just love this Van! This is my second I purchased the first on brand new in 1990 with a high top, swivel seats, TV, VCR... after 156,000 miles I bought a 2001 in 2002 and still have it today. It has 163,000 miles and still going. I'm 6'-8" tall and 360 lbs. The van is a work horse. I fit like a glove It has gone to Florida and all parts northeast. I used it to move my tools and merchandise in both of my businesses. Why oh Why did they stop making this creature of love!!! I will miss you and will with all my heart try to keep what I have for as long as it will run. I have replaced many components, but that OK I want to keep it for a long time. Long Live the Astro and Safari Vans...
Has been good to us
Finzphan,07/07/2007
This van is set up to haul the family and its cargo. Has been good both in town and on the highway. Not the best looking vehicle on the road, but it does what is asked of it. Regular maintenance keeps it in shape.

Features & Specs

See all Used 2001 GMC Safari features & specs

Safety

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
    Poor

More about the 2001 GMC Safari

Used 2001 GMC Safari Overview

The Used 2001 GMC Safari is offered in the following submodels: Safari Minivan. Available styles include SLE Rwd 3dr Minivan (4.3L 6cyl 4A), and SLE AWD 3dr Minivan (4.3L 6cyl 4A).

What's a good price on a Used 2001 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 2001 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) 2001 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 2001 GMC Safari.

Can't find a used 2001 GMC Safaris you want in your area? Consider a broader search.

Find a used GMC Safari for sale - 3 great deals out of 24 listings starting at $8,336.

Find a used GMC for sale - 2 great deals out of 18 listings starting at $9,313.

Find a used certified pre-owned GMC Safari for sale - 8 great deals out of 9 listings starting at $7,574.

Find a used certified pre-owned GMC for sale - 7 great deals out of 12 listings starting at $9,458.

Should I lease or buy a 2001 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.

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Check out GMC Safari lease specials