2018 GMC Savana Van Review
Edmunds expert review
While minivans are perfect for transporting most families, they simply aren't suitable for those who need to seat a large number of people or have substantial cargo requirements. A full-size passenger van such as the 2018 GMC Savana is the only answer. While typical minivans can only seat eight, the Savana has room for 12, or even 15 if you opt for the long-wheelbase version. The large, flexible seating solutions make a vehicle such as the Savana ideal for large families or shuttle operators.
Like passenger vans of yore, the Savana utilizes an old-school body-on-frame construction similar to a pickup truck. Its heavy-duty bones give it the ability to tow and carry more than most competitors, which rely on a unibody structure that gives them lower payload capabilities. Unfortunately, the Savana's truck frame gives it a rougher ride than its rivals, and its advanced age means modern advanced safety aids are practically nonexistent. Its touchscreen interface is relatively ancient for the same reason. Even in a class built for function over form, the cabin looks much older and is filled with lower-quality materials than those of its rivals. You also can't order the Savana in a high-roof variant. Though the 2018 Savana enjoys excellent towing and payload ratings, there aren't enough benefits to recommend this aging workhorse.
What's new for 2018
Trim levels & features
The 2018 GMC Savana is a large 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. You can keep the extra space for additional cargo room or add another row, good for seating up to 15 passengers (a 2-3-3-3-4 configuration).
By default, the rear-wheel-drive Savana is powered by a 4.3-liter V6 (276 horsepower, 298 pound-feet of torque) paired to an eight-speed automatic transmission. Alternate powertrains are available if the standard V6 doesn't meet your requirements, including a 6.0-liter V8 (341 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 automatic.
Standard features on the LS model 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 rearview camera, a driver information display, vinyl upholstery and floor covering, a 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot, GM's OnStar emergency communications, a 120-volt household-style power outlet, 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 via the Driver Convenience package. 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, Bluetooth, a CD player, a USB port and a navigation system is available for any Savana model. Other stand-alone options include power-adjustable and heated mirrors, rear parking sensors, a blind-spot monitor, a heavy-duty locking rear differential, remote engine start, a sliding rear door, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, power-adjustable front seats and satellite radio. A number of these features are available as part of packages for the 2500 model in LS trim; these include the Communications, Safety and Enhanced Convenience packages.
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.
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.