2017 GMC Savana Van Review
Edmunds expert review
Full-size passenger vans are the perfect choice if you're looking to transport a large number of people, whether you're a business owner who needs to shuttle customers around or the parent in a family so large that it won't fit in a traditional minivan. The 2017 GMC is a possible option for you, with versatile seating arrangements for up to 15 passengers. But considering this van's numerous drawbacks and the availability of more qualified rivals in this field, we suggest you look elsewhere.
The primary knock against the Savana Passenger is its age. Though it has undergone minor interior and exterior refreshes over the years, today's Savana is nearly identical to the first examples that rolled off the production line in 1996. All other competitors have been fully redesigned since then.
The Savana truly looks and drives as if it competes with a kind of vehicle that no longer exists. Rival vans also offer high-roof variants to aid passenger ingress and egress and are generally more pleasant to drive. While used parts availability and an established track record might be potential draws, it's difficult to recommend the GMC Savana Passenger given the strength of the competition and lack of competitive advantage.
What's new for 2017
Trim levels & features
The 2017 GMC Savana Passenger is a large size van with numerous seating configurations and room for 12 people. (Its Savana Cargo sibling retains the front two seats and uses the rest of the interior as an expansive cargo area.) It's available in two load ratings, 2500 and 3500, and in two trims, the base LS and the LT. Additionally, the 3500 can be ordered in a long wheelbase, which increases the length of the floor by 20 inches, good for another row of seats, if you desire.
The LS is powered by a 4.8-liter V8 (285 horsepower, 295 pound-feet of torque) mated to a six-speed automatic transmission. Standard features include 16-inch steel wheels, a 60/40-split opening passenger door, 12-passenger seating (2-3-3-4 with a 50/50-split back row), air-conditioning, power windows and locks, a driver information display, vinyl upholstery and floor covering, GM's OnStar emergency communications, and a two-speaker audio system with an AM/FM stereo and an auxiliary port.
A tilt-only steering wheel and cruise control are standard on 3500 models and optional on the 2500. Opting for the extended-wheelbase 3500 adds rear air-conditioning, which is available as a separate option for the other LS models.
Stepping up to the LT adds front and rear chrome bumpers, remote locking and unlocking, cloth upholstery, carpeted flooring, rear air-conditioning, and the tilt-only steering wheel and cruise control for the 2500.
Many of the features added by the LT are available on LS models as well. A bundle containing a 6.5-inch touchscreen with integrated rearview camera display, Bluetooth, a CD player, a USB port and a navigation system is available for any Savana Passenger model. A rearview camera with display located in the rearview mirror can be ordered on any vehicle without the touchscreen. Other stand-alone options include power-adjustable and heated mirrors, rear parking sensors, a heavy-duty locking rear differential, remote vehicle start, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, power-adjustable front seats, satellite radio and a 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot.
Some features and packages are available only when the appropriate body type is selected. The Paratransit package for extended-wheelbase 3500 models removes the rear seat and reverts to vinyl floor coverings. This body style can also be ordered in a 15-passenger (2-3-3-3-4 seating) configuration.
Two additional powertrains are available on any body style. For hauling a high number of people, consider the 6.0-liter V8 (342 hp, 373 lb-ft) matched to a six-speed automatic transmission. If fuel efficiency is a priority, check out the diesel 2.8-liter four cylinder engine (181 hp and 369 lb-ft) paired to an eight-speed automatic.
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.
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.