Despite all of the creepy and malevolent stigmas attached to nondescript cargo vans, sometimes, they are just the thing we need … and not to do dastardly deeds with. In the world of contractors, landscapers, plumbers, electricians, or even professional flea marketers or treasure hunters, sometimes all you need is a large covered space that will help you safety transport your stuff in a reliable manner.
GMC isn’t going to get any mind-blowing style points for its 2018 Savana, but what it lacks in aesthetics, it more than makes up for in practicality. The new Savana might remind you slightly of old Savana models, and that is because there are design cues and setup dates back to the Clinton administration. But thankfully GMC has updated the 2018 version with plenty of updates that are from this century, and we’re glad to see them. There are three models available for the Savana: the 1500, 2500 and 3500, each with their own distinctive features that we will explore.
The 1500 is about as basic as basic comes. Anyone old enough to remember the NO-FRILLS brand name grocery stores used to carry will have no trouble picturing that infamous logo on the side of the 1500. Standard “features” on the 1500 include true hand crank windows and manually adjusting seats, that are vinyl by the way. A stereo system will cost you extra, but you do get an AM/FM radio that has an aux port thankfully. There are power door locks, and air conditioning.
The 1500 is powered by a 4.3-liter V6 that produces a moderate 195 horsepower and decent 260 lb-ft of torque. There is an optional 5.3-liter V8 that gives the Savana a bit more punch, putting down 310 horsepower and 334 lb-ft of torque. Either engine comes with your choice of transmission, so long as what you want is a four-speed automatic that routes power to your (actual) choice of either the rear wheels or to all four corners if you choose the optional all-wheel upgrade. In terms of practical numbers, the 1500 can tow 6,700 pounds and has a payload capacity of 2,381 pounds. The 135-inch wheelbase provides a very useful 270.4 cubic feet of cargo space.
As you might expect, the 2500 trim model ups the ante in a few ways, most notably under the hood. The base engine for the 2500 is a 4.8-liter V8 that makes a respectable 280 horsepower and 295 lb-ft of torque. There is an optional 6.0-liter V8 that ratchets things up to 324-horsepower and 372 lb-ft of torque. Still not enough? Well, try out the optional 6.6-liter diesel powered V8 that produces 260-horsepower and a stupefying 525 lb-ft of torque. The 2500 gets two more trans gears for a total of 6-speeds for its auto transmission.
The 2500 comes with the same 135-inch wheelbase, but that can be upped as well to 155-inches for a total of 313.9 cubic feet of cargo storage space. Payload capacity also rises to 3,274 pounds, while towing power rockets to an Herculean 10,000 pounds.
Finally, the 3500 takes mostly from the 2500 interns of engine options and drivetrain, and doesn’t do much to raise the bar on much else other than increasing payload to a sizable 4,238 pounds.
Now, an all-work truck doesn’t have to mean no-play. And while the standard features don’t amount to much more than doors, windows, and a firewall, there are some legitimate features available on the 2018 Savana. You can get a real CD player if you still use one. You can also opt for the softer, less sticky cloth seats and even have tried-and-true power windows and power-adjustable seats. GMC jumps into the technological revolution by offering Bluetooth connectivity for those on-the-go calls, OnStar 4G LTE, and even the company’s intelliLink infotainment navigation system. There is also a rear-view camera and a rear pack-assist feature. More practical options include remote start, a very useful 220-amp generator and drivetrain options like a heavy-duty trailering package and equally heavy-duty locking rear differential.
For a base price of $30,745, the 2018 GMC Savana offers up a huge amount of practicality and resourcefulness for not a ton of money. And when your crew or clients step into any of the Savana models, their first though might not be anything creepy at all.