2001 GMC Savana Cargo Review

Pros & Cons

  • Modern architecture, powerful V8 engine choices, cavernous interior.
  • Odd styling, cheap interior materials, numb steering.
List Price Estimate
$1,373 - $2,277

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Edmunds' Expert Review

How to you choose between a Chevrolet or GMC full-size van? Which dealer is closest to your house? They're basically the same vehicle. They both stack up well against the formidable Ford Econoline and ancient Dodge Ram Van, so if the Savana provides what you need in this kind of vehicle, buy it.

Vehicle overview

When the then-new Savana arrived in small numbers for 1996, it had been 25 years since GM redesigned its full-size van. The GMC Rally Van and Vandura were introduced way back in 1971 (when vans were still groovy), and sold steadily until they were finally discontinued. Competition and safety regulations had forced GM to redo the big vans for '96, but by then Ford had already re-engineered its Econoline and Club Wagon twice! To help distinguish GM's all-new, rounded-off design, GMC rebadged its new van Savana.

Savana is available in 135- and 155-inch wheelbases, three weight series (1500, 2500 or 3500) and as either a passenger van for retail customers or as a cargo van for commercial use. Cargo vans come with stripped-down interiors, ready for upfitting with tool racks or parts bins. Passenger vans are available with seating for eight, 12 or 15 people, depending on wheelbase, and in two different trim levels (base SL and luxury SLE). There's even a choice of side-entry doors: a slider or a set of 60/40 hinged doors. GM's full-size vans feature flush glass and door handles, hidden door hinges, standard four-wheel antilock brakes and dual airbags. Front foot- and legroom is adequate, and front seats offer a wide range of travel. Front air conditioning and rear heat ducts are standard. The center console contains two cupholders, an auxiliary power outlet and storage for items like CDs and cassettes. Inside the short-wheelbase Savana, you'll find 267 cubic feet of cargo area, while the extended version provides a whopping 317 cubic feet of volume with the rear seats removed. Rear hinged doors open a full 180 degrees for easy loading and do not conceal high-mounted taillights when opened. For hauling, gross vehicle weight ratings of up to 9,500 pounds are available on either wheelbase.

The base engine is a 200-horsepower Vortec 4300 V6. Optional motors include a 220-horse Vortec 5000 V8, the venerable 255-horse Vortec 5700 V8, and GM's new Vortec 8100 Big Block V8 that makes 340 ponies and a whopping 455 foot-pounds of torque. Also available is a robust 6.5-liter turbodiesel V8 good for 195 horsepower and 430 foot-pounds of torque. GM's heavy-duty 4L80-E transmission handles all the shifting chores.

Savana's styling is rounded and bulbous, with a broad front end that mimics GM's truck family and a high-arched rear with tall, thin taillights mounted up along the D-pillars. Easily as odd-looking as the old Lumina minivan's high-mounted rear lamps, the round-topped rear end and sheer size of this van make it seem as if you are looking at the back end of some sort of commuter train car. But since most retail buyers have moved to minivans and much of the full-size van business has centered on converters and fleet use, Savana's styling takes a back seat to its modern mechanicals and long service life.

2001 Highlights

GMC's full-size van gets a bigger, more powerful Big Block V8 engine, the Vortec 8100. There are also more advanced powertrain control modules for the other gas engines in the Savana line, and an improved torque converter for the 4L80-E four-speed automatic transmission. Other changes for 2001 include more robust door and ignition locks, upgraded audio systems, quieter alternators and longer-lasting brake pads.

Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the Used 2001 GMC Savana Cargo.

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Most helpful consumer reviews

2001 makes additional quality improves
2500 3dr Van (4.3L 6cyl 4A)
The 2001 2500 was the first vehicle I factory ordered as soon as it was available. Although it took nearly 10 weeks to deliver I found that the quality is even higher than my 1997. The Savana 2500 gives me a smooth ride and power to spare. While the mileage could be better, at 16 MPG it's way better than the 10+MPG I was getting my the used mid '80s vans. The only problem I've experienced is that the seat belt does not always retract and sometimes gets caught in the door. I ordered the power heated mirrors which are helpful having no rear windows. For the money I will definitely be looking at the GMC again next time around.
Every year
3500 3dr Van (5.7L 8cyl 4A)
Every year the same thing happens with this vehicle. The rear seals go and with it the brakes. Now it won't start and last time it would not start it was a water pump and other items the spray ruined like belts and harnesses.

More about the 2001 GMC Savana Cargo

Used 2001 GMC Savana Cargo Overview

The Used 2001 GMC Savana Cargo is offered in the following submodels: Savana Cargo Van. Available styles include 2500 3dr Van (4.3L 6cyl 4A), 3500 3dr Van (5.7L 8cyl 4A), 3500 3dr Ext Van (5.7L 8cyl 4A), 1500 3dr Van (4.3L 6cyl 4A), and 2500 3dr Ext Van (4.3L 6cyl 4A). Pre-owned GMC Savana Cargo models are available with a 4.3 L-liter gas engine or a 5.7 L-liter gas engine, with output up to 255 hp, depending on engine type. The Used 2001 GMC Savana Cargo comes with rear wheel drive. Available transmissions include: 4-speed automatic. The Used 2001 GMC Savana Cargo 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 2001 GMC Savana Cargo?

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 Savana Cargos are available in my area?

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

Find a used GMC Savana Cargo for sale - 6 great deals out of 8 listings starting at $15,733.

Find a used GMC for sale - 4 great deals out of 19 listings starting at $11,727.

Find a used certified pre-owned GMC Savana Cargo for sale - 9 great deals out of 21 listings starting at $23,333.

Find a used certified pre-owned GMC for sale - 2 great deals out of 19 listings starting at $8,259.

Should I lease or buy a 2001 GMC Savana Cargo?

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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