2017 Hyundai Elantra

2017 GMC Savana Cargo Van Review

Considerably outdated, the 2017 GMC Savana Cargo brings up the rear of the full-size van class.
by Cameron Rogers
Edmunds Editor

Edmunds expert review

For many commercial businesses and contractors, a full-size cargo van is a great workhorse to get the job done. But of all the cargo vans on the market, the 2017 GMC Savana is perhaps the least desirable in our opinion.

Like its Chevy relative, the Express, the Savana does offer plenty of towing capacity thanks to its stout V8 engines. But otherwise the Savana lags behind rival vans. The Savana's cargo area is small, and GMC doesn't offer different roof heights for even more room. Its dated design also results in subpar maneuverability and feature availability. There's simply no compelling reason to choose the 2017 GMC Savana over its rivals.

What's new for 2017

The optional diesel V8 has been replaced by a four-cylinder diesel. The compressed natural gas (CNG) conversion is no longer available. Otherwise, the Savana Cargo carries forward unchanged.

We recommend

The Savana Cargo is only available in the Work Van trim level, so your starting configuration will be limited to engine, load rating and wheelbase choice. Unless you absolutely need the extra payload capacity, we recommend starting with the 2500 to keep costs down, though it's worth upgrading to the extended-wheelbase version to make up for the Savana's comparatively small cargo area. The diesel engine will likewise keep the Savana competitive with fuel-sipping rivals.

Trim levels & features

The 2017 GMC Savana Cargo is a full-size van with an expansive, boxy cargo area behind two front seats. (Its Savana Passenger sibling fills this space with additional rows of seating.) It's available in two load ratings: 2500 (max payload 3,234 pounds) and 3500 (max payload 4,192 pounds). Each can be ordered in a standard or extended wheelbase, which increases cargo volume from 239.7 cubic feet to 284.4 cubic feet. Regardless of starting configuration, the Savana only comes in the modestly equipped Work Van trim level. A few packages and numerous stand-alone options are available.

By default, the rear-wheel-drive Savana Cargo is powered by a 4.8-liter V8 (285 horsepower, 295 pound-feet of torque) paired to a six-speed automatic transmission. Alternate powertrains are available if the standard V8 doesn't meet your requirements, including a 6.0-liter V8 (342 hp, 373 lb-ft) matched to a six-speed automatic and a 2.8-liter diesel four-cylinder engine (181 hp, 369 lb-ft) with an eight-speed auto. The Work Van's standard features include 16-inch steel wheels, 60/40-split opening doors on the right side, a driver information display, air-conditioning, power windows and locks, vinyl upholstery and floor covering, LED cargo lighting, six D-ring cargo tie-downs, a 120-volt outlet, and a two-speaker audio system with AM/FM radio and an auxiliary jack.

Major equipment packages include the Convenience (tilt-adjustable steering wheel and cruise control), Chrome Appearance (chrome bumpers and grille), Hotel Shuttle (Chrome Appearance plus the 6.0-liter V8, a sliding rear passenger door, heated power mirrors, a second row of seating, tinted glass and rear cargo windows) and Ambulance (6.0-liter V8, a heavy-duty locking differential and a more powerful battery and alternator) packages. A separate bundle adds a 6.5-inch touchscreen, navigation, Bluetooth, a CD player and a USB port.

Some of the above features can be added as stand-alone options. Other options include all-terrain tires, remote locking and unlocking, remote engine start, rear parking sensors, a back-up alarm, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, cloth upholstery, power-adjustable front seats, a rearview camera, a 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot, GM's OnStar emergency communications, satellite radio, a spray-in cargo liner, and rear air-conditioning and heating.

Trim tested

Edmunds has not yet driven any version of this vehicle. The following is our first take on what's significant about it and what you can expect.


As in other cargo vans, the Savana's interior makes liberal use of hard plastics. The engine protrudes into the front footwells, a characteristic of old-school vans that rivals have long since abolished. A low roof and no door behind the driver make it difficult to enter and move around the back.


The cargo area measures 239.7 cubic feet in the short-wheelbase Savana, a few cubes smaller than the class average. This expands to 284.4 cubic feet in the long-wheelbase version. Competitors offer much more storage room because they can be ordered with even longer cargo floors and higher roofs.


The Savana fails to impress on the tech front, with just a two-speaker stereo with AM/FM radio and an auxiliary jack listed as standard equipment. Optional extras include a CD player, satellite radio and a touchscreen interface that's older than what you'll find in newer GMC vehicles.

Edmunds expert review process

This review was written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.

We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.