2002 GMC Safari Review

Used Safari for sale
List Price Estimate:$1,609 - $2,695
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GMC Safari model years
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Edmunds' Expert Review

  • Standard eight-passenger seating, 5,400-pound trailer rating, torquey V6.
  • Boxy design, poor fuel economy, intrusive engine cover makes for small footwells.

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 trailer towing. This is one of the very few minivans (GMC calls it a midsize) on the market that can combine more than 5,000 pounds of trailering capacity with room for eight people. 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 a new multi-point fuel injection system for improved overall performance. The 4.3-liter powerplant sends 190 horsepower and a healthy 250 pound-feet 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.

Safari passenger vans 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.

Safety is provided by standard dual airbags and four-wheel antilock brakes. Additional standard features include keyless entry, an overhead storage console, speed-sensitive power steering, various built-in cupholders and storage bins and three power outlets.

Insiders say that the 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 serious problems for modern front-drive minivans. It may not be pretty, but if you need to transport the whole family and tow the boat all in one load, the Safari is almost the only choice in town.

2002 Highlights

The standard Vortec V6 gets multipoint fuel injection for better overall drivability, while the rear axle now receives a standard dose of synthetic gear oil for reduced heat buildup and longer bearing life.

Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the Used 2002 GMC Safari.

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Most helpful consumer reviews

4.63 out of 5 stars
Great Vehicle
SLE AWD 3dr Minivan (4.3L 6cyl 4A)
I bought the GMC Safari new in 2002 because I needed a vehicle that would haul our stuff to our cabin in Northern Michigan which also had All Wheel Drive for the mud and snow we frequeny encounter. The truck based Safari was the perfect answer and it has proven to be just that. After 108,000 miles, the only repair it has needed was a an alternator during the first year covered by warranty. Too bad there isn't a comparable vehicle available today. Guess I'll keep it. It's still strong and I expect at least 250,000 miles out of it.
3.38 out of 5 stars
Good, Comfy, Van
Kyle Brautigan,04/17/2004
SLE AWD 3dr Minivan (4.3L 6cyl 4A)
I have owned these vans since they came out in 1985. The are roomier, more powerful, and capable than most other minivans on market. These vans have always been reliable besides for a few minor problems. We had to replace brakes at 15,000 miles and GMC wouldn't cover it under warranty which made me angry and made me wonder what the warranty was for.I like the truck- like sensation and this is no woss minivan. The ride is harsh over rough surfaces and it doesn't handle as well as car-based minivans. The interior is cheap plastic and poorly made. Even in the uplevel SLT it is lacking luxury features.
4.88 out of 5 stars
Love it - on my second one
SLE AWD 3dr Minivan (4.3L 6cyl 4A)
During the Alaskan winters the side door is great. We all pile in shut the door keep warm and then buckle up. Three kids and friends always fit very comfortable. Lots of room for everyone and their stuff and I can still get groceries.
4.63 out of 5 stars
Safari: The Un-Minivan
SLE Rwd 3dr Minivan (4.3L 6cyl 4A)
The Safari is a Mid-Van so I wont have to say its a Mini-Van any way...the V-6 offers great power for a minivan and the towing compacity is great and needed...I am also pleased to note that it is Rear wheel drive which is AWESOME!!


NHTSA Overall Rating

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration offers independent analysis.
  • Frontal Barrier Crash Rating
    OverallNot Rated
    Driver3 / 5
    Passenger4 / 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 2002 GMC Safari

Used 2002 GMC Safari Overview

The Used 2002 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). The Used 2002 GMC Safari comes with rear wheel drive, and all wheel drive. Available transmissions include: 4-speed automatic. The Used 2002 GMC Safari comes with a 3 yr./ 36000 mi. basic warranty, a 3 yr./ 36000 mi. roadside warranty, and a 3 yr./ 36000 mi. powertrain warranty.

What's a good price on a Used 2002 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 2002 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) 2002 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 2002 GMC Safari.

Can't find a used 2002 GMC Safaris you want in your area? Consider a broader search.

Find a used GMC Safari for sale - 10 great deals out of 16 listings starting at $15,329.

Find a used GMC for sale - 12 great deals out of 15 listings starting at $22,444.

Find a used certified pre-owned GMC Safari for sale - 6 great deals out of 22 listings starting at $10,489.

Find a used certified pre-owned GMC for sale - 6 great deals out of 14 listings starting at $14,626.

Should I lease or buy a 2002 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