2020 GMC Savana Passenger Van

2020 GMC Savana Passenger Van Review: Proof That Dinosaurs Do Exist

by Michael Butler

The GMC Savana has been around for as long as the classic Mel Gibson movie Braveheart, and it will take a brave heart to drive one on a daily basis. You'd think that after two decades of production, the Savana would have improved or ceased to exist, but no, it's still chugging along at full speed and barely breaking the speed limit while doing so. For 2020 the Savana gets a new transmission for its diesel engine option, but the 276-horsepower, 4.3-liter V6 remains the go-to option in standard guise. You can have your Savana in two wheelbase configurations and there are two trim levels on offer, as well as four engine choices. Long wheelbase versions can seat up to 15 people, and the maximum GVWR ranges from 8,600 to 9,900 pounds between the various configurations. Competition comes in the form of the more dynamically capable and modern feeling Ford Transit Passenger Van. The Savana can still hold its own in terms of being a pure workhorse, but lags behind in most other categories, such as basic comfort and road holding.

2020 GMC Savana Passenger Van Changes: 🚙What’s the difference vs 2019 Savana Passenger Van?

As the new decade comes into swing, so does the hard-working GMC Savana Passenger Van, a no-nonsense people transporter with a heart of gold. GMC has decided to keep things relatively unchanged for 2020, and the only changes can be found under the hood: the old-school six-speed transmission that was affixed to the 2.8-liter diesel engine has now been replaced with an eight-speed unit, which improves efficiency and acceleration.

Pros and Cons

  • Good power from the V8 option
  • Low asking price
  • Tried and trusted construction
  • Good payload and towing capacities
  • New eight-speed transmission is much smoother
  • There's no AWD option available
  • It is very basic in base trim
  • Almost all features are optional extras
  • Basic infotainment system
  • As old as the declaration of independence

2020 GMC Savana Passenger Van Trims

Trim Engine Transmission Drivetrain Price (MSRP)
2500 LS
4.3-liter V6 Gas
8-Speed Automatic
Rear-Wheel Drive
$36,400
2500 LT
4.3-liter V6 Gas
8-Speed Automatic
Rear-Wheel Drive
$36,400
3500 LS
4.3-liter V6 Gas
8-Speed Automatic
Rear-Wheel Drive
$37,600
3500 LT
4.3-liter V6 Gas
8-Speed Automatic
Rear-Wheel Drive
$37,600

Savana Passenger Van Exterior

There's no other way to describe the exterior of the 2020 GMC than as a metal box on four wheels. GMC lists standard "features" such as a black grille, black manual-folding outside mirrors, and dual-halogen composite headlamps with daytime running lamps. You also get Solar-Ray deep-tinted glass and a swing-out passenger-side door. All models are fitted with 16-inch wheels, and chrome can be optionally added to the grille if you'd like.

2020 GMC Savana Passenger Van Front View Driving GMC
2020 GMC Savana Passenger Van Side View GMC
2020 GMC Savana Passenger Van Front View Driving 1 GMC
See All 2020 GMC Savana Passenger Van Exterior Photos

Dimensions

The regular wheelbase van measures 135.2 inches between axles, while the extended van comes in with a wheelbase of 155.1 inches. Total length is 223.95 inches for the regular wheelbase van and 243.95 on the extended wheelbase. Total width without the side mirrors is 79.25 inches across the range, and both wheelbase configurations stand 84.5 inches tall. Ground clearance is a decent 9.7 inches in the front and 8.6 inches in the rear, and the curb weight ranges from 5,830 pounds for the regular wheelbase to 6,169 lbs for the extended wheelbase in its heaviest guise.

  • Length 224.0 in
  • Wheelbase 135.2 in
  • Height 84.5 in
  • Max Width 79.3 in

Savana Passenger Van Performance

2020 GMC Savana Passenger Van Front View Driving 2 GMC
2020 GMC Savana Passenger Van Top View GMC
2020 GMC Savana Passenger Van Gauge Cluster GMC

Engine and Transmission

We appreciate the wide variety of engine and transmission options on offer in the Savana Passenger Van. The base engine for 2020 is a 4.3-liter V6 engine producing 276 horsepower and 298 lb-ft of torque. Next up is an optional 2.8-liter Duramax turbo-diesel four-cylinder engine that produces a low 181 hp, but makes up for it with 369 lb-ft of torque available from only 2,000 rpm. The diesel engine also gets a new eight-speed automatic transmission, shared with the base V6. Two V8 engine variants are on offer; a gas-only 6.0-liter Vortec engine producing 341 hp and 373 lb-ft of torque, and a CNG/LPG capable version with hardened valves and valve seats. The V8 option is clearly the most powerful, but it comes with a drawback; it will suck your wallet dry thanks to its bad fuel economy. A six-speed heavy-duty transmission is available as standard on the V8, while the other engines make do with a slicker eight-speed auto. Maximum towing rates stretch between 6,700 lbs and 9,200 lbs, aided by the Savana's strict RWD platform.

  • Engines
    2.8-liter Turbo Inline-4 Diesel, 4.3-liter V6 Gas, 6.0L V8 Vortec®, 6.0-liter V8 Gas
  • Transmission
    8-Speed Automatic
  • Drivetrain
    RWD

Handling and Driving Impressions

Dynamic handling is most definitely not the GMC Savanna Passenger Van's forte. Get behind the wheel blindfolded, and you'll be able to tell that this is a large van in seconds. The ride is best described as being crashy; the Savana's old-school body-on-frame construction does this passenger van no favors, and low-speed bumps are absorbed with little to no efficiency. Out on the open road, the Savana, as with competitors such as the Ford Transit Passenger Van, is susceptible to strong crosswinds. The light steering is a boon in the city, where parking lots and tight streets are navigated with ease, but on the open road, it can become tiresome to make constant incremental adjustments.

Savana Passenger Van Gas Mileage

Since the 2020 GMC Savana Passenger Van is registered as a commercial van, there are no official gas mileage figures available from the EPA, but consumers have reported a model-wide average fuel consumption figure of between 13 to 15 mpg combined. The Savana is fitted with a 31-gallon fuel tank, availing it with an estimated range of around 465 miles, if consumer figures are utilized. However, this is largely dependent on driving style and how heavy a load you'll be carrying on a regular basis, so if you take on full loads of passengers on a regular basis, expect gas mileage to drop accordingly.

  • Fuel Tank Capacity
    31.0 Gallons
* 2020 GMC Savana Passenger Van RWD 2500 135" LT

Savana Passenger Van Interior

2020 GMC Savana Passenger Van Dashboard GMC
2020 GMC Savana Passenger Van Steering Wheel Details GMC
2020 GMC Savana Passenger Van Central Console GMC
See All 2020 GMC Savana Passenger Van Interior Photos

Seating and Interior Space

One of the benefits of any passenger van over a traditional SUV is the copious amount of interior space on offer. In standard form, all vans come with seating for 12, but extended cab models can accommodate 15. In the front, occupants get 40.9 inches of headroom and 41.3 inches of legroom. Front shoulder room and front hip room comes in at 68.9/65.5 inches, respectively. In the second row, you get 38.4 inches of headroom and 36.3 inches of legroom. Third-row occupants get 38.5 inches of headroom and 36.6 inches of legroom. All the way in the back, fourth-row passengers get slightly less at 38.3 inches of headroom and 36.6 inches of legroom. Front seats come standard in vinyl but can be upgraded to cloth for a price.

  • Seating capacity
    12-seater
  • Front Leg Room 41.4 in
  • Front Head Room 40.9 in
  • Rear Leg Room 36.3 in
  • Rear Head Room 38.4 in

Savana Passenger Van Trunk and Cargo Space

Vans and cargo space are two terms that were meant for each other. The 2020 Savanna Passenger Van can offer a ton of space when configured with the minimum amount of seats. The floor to console measurement on the Savana is 154.7 inches for the regular, and 173.65 on the extended wheelbase. Cargo volume to the front seat is a massive 218.5 cubic feet in the regular wheelbase car, and 255.5 cubic feet on extended wheelbase cars, but will diminish depending on your chosen seating configuration. Small items can be stored in the large door-side pockets or glovebox. You also get three cupholders up front.

2020 GMC Savana Passenger Van Rear Passenger Seats GMC
2020 GMC Savana Passenger Van Dashboard 1 GMC
2020 GMC Savana Passenger Van Rear Angle View GMC

Savana Passenger Van Infotainment and Features

Features

The features list on the 2020 Savana Passenger van is not as extensive as you'd get on their more premium pickup trucks. In fact, it's so sparse that GMC highlights the fact that it comes with black bumpers. On the outside, this van offers dual-halogen composite headlamps and a fold-out passenger door. The interior of the Savana Passenger Van gets a bit more attention: you get a 120-volt power outlet, an eight-point digital compass, a three-prong auxiliary household-style outlet that can be used to plug in things such as a power tool or household items such as a TV and Playstation setup, if you must. You also get manual air conditioning front and rear, front and rear, auxiliary lighting, and an auto-dimming rearview mirror and 4G LTE Wi-Fi connectivity. LT models include cruise control as standard, as well as lane departure warning and keyless entry. The available myGMC app allows the owner to lock and unlock the vehicle and also allows for maintenance visits to be scheduled online, and the front pair of seats can be optionally equipped with six-way power adjustment.

Infotainment

As with the features list, the infotainment system offered on the 2020 GMC Savana Passenger Van is basic, to say the least. There's no display screen, and you only get basic offerings such as AM/FM stereo with an MP3 player, channeling sound through two front door speakers. Optional extras include SiriusXM satellite radio, a CD player, steering-wheel-mounted controls, a USB charging port, and Bluetooth streaming. Sadly that's all there is.

Savana Passenger Van Problems and Reliability

There are currently no recalls issued for the GMC Savana Passenger Van, although a third party recall was issued in mid-2019 for an issue with the reverse camera. The 2019 variants were subject to a total of three recalls. GMC will back their Savana Passenger Van with a three-year/36,000-mile basic warranty, which includes a five-year/60,000-mile powertrain/drivetrain warranty, a one-visit maintenance plan, and five years of roadside assistance.

Warranty

  • Basic:
    3 Years \ 36,000 Miles
  • Drivetrain:
    5 Years \ 60,000 Miles
  • Drivetrain Note:
    Qualified Fleet Purchases: 5 Years \ 100,000 Miles
  • Rust-Through:
    6 Years \ 100,000 Miles
  • Corrosion:
    3 Years \ 36,000 Miles
  • Roadside Assistance:
    5 Years \ 60,000 Miles
  • Roadside Assistance Note:
    Qualified Fleet Purchases: 5 Years \ 100,000 Miles
  • Maintenance Note:
    1 Year \ 1 Visit

Savana Passenger Van Safety

As a commercial car, the GMC Sahara Passenger Van has not been fully tested by either the NHTSA or IIHS, but as they say, ignorance is bliss - the NHTSA has evaluated the van only in rollover tests, for which it scored three stars out of five. Standard safety equipment on the Savana includes six airbags (consisting of two frontal airbags, dual seat-mounted side-impact airbags for driver and front passenger as well as side curtain airbags for the first three rows), steel door beams, and available forward collision alert, keyless entry, and lane departure warning, which is standard on LT models. LATCH child seat restraints are also available.

Verdict: 🏁Is 2020 GMC Savana Passenger Van a good Van?

The truth is that the 2020 GMC Savana Passenger Van is based on old-school technology, and is stuck in a sort of automotive time-bubble. It offers reliable motoring, solid towing and payload capacities, and lots of room for not a lot of money, but that also means that you don't get much in the way of features. All three engines on offer are capable of hauling this passenger bus around, even when fully loaded, and there's seating for up to 15 people on offer. GMC has also added some optional safety systems such as lane keep assist, and we like its honest and trusted approach to transporting people. We can't, however, get over its sloppy handling, dated infotainment system, and pure design age. If you're looking at getting one, we'd suggest holding out until GMC introduces the 6.6-liter V8 version, which should offer even more poke and value in 2021.

🚘What's the Price of the 2020 GMC Savana Passenger Van?

The Savana Passenger Van can be broken down into regular and extended wheelbase, as well as 2500 and 3500 trim specifications. 2500 Regular wheelbase cars start at $34,900 for the LS 4.3-liter car and end with $38,895 for the Duramax diesel van. LT 2500 vans start at $37,000 for the 4.3L and end with the Duramax at $40,995. 3500 regular wheelbase cars in LS trim start off at $37,200 for 4.3L vans, and a 6.0 V8 will set you back $38,195. The diesel engine added here tips the price over $41k. LT models start at $38,900 and max out at $42,895 for the diesel van.

3500 Extended Cab vans start in LS trim at $38,000 for the base engine and end at $41,995 with the diesel motor. LT models start at $39,700 for the 4.3L and end at $43,695 for the diesel model. These prices exclude a destination fee of $1,295, and any licensing, taxes, or registration fees.

See All 2020 GMC Savana Passenger Van Trims and Specs

🚗What GMC Savana Passenger Van Model Should I Buy?

Deciding on which GMC Savana Passenger Van to buy will depend on two things and two things alone; how many standard features you want and how much space you need. If you need the extra space, then it would make sense to go for the extended wheelbase, and if you're after more standard features, you should skip over the LS and go for the LT. If it were up to us, we'd go for the better-equipped LT model, which is available in your choice of 4.3-, 6.0- and 2.8-liter gas/diesel configurations. We'd have the ham-fisted 6.0-liter V8 thanks. Over and above the features offered on the LS, the LT adds the Driver Convenience package, which consists of a tilt-adjustable steering wheel and cruise control, a chrome appearance package, chrome center caps, as well as chrome bumpers and a chrome front grille. The LT also includes carpeted flooring, cloth bucket seats, and a deluxe front console unit with a built-in storage bin, as well as standard lane departure warning and cruise control.

Check out other GMC Savana Styles

2020 GMC Savana Passenger Van Comparisons

Chevrolet Express Passenger Van Chevrolet
Ford Transit Passenger Van Ford
CompetitorHorsepowerMPGPrice (MSRP)
GMC Savana Passenger Van276 hpTBC$36,400
Chevrolet Express Passenger Van 276 hpTBC$36,400
Ford Transit Passenger Van 275 hp15/19 mpg$40,180

2020 GMC Savana Passenger Van vs Chevrolet Express Passenger Van

The Chevy Express Passenger Van is as nondescript as they come: its a van built for transporting people, and that's pretty much it, just like the GMC Savana. This van is available with the exact same engine options as the Savana, so you get a 4.3-liter V6 producing 276 horsepower and 298 lb-ft of torque, as well as two V8 options, a regular gas, or flex-fuel version. Both produce 341 hp and 373 lb-ft of torque. Finally, there's a 2.8-liter turbo diesel four-pot on offer with 181 hp and 369 lb-ft of torque. As with the Savana, we like the power on offer from the V8, the impressive payload capacity as well as the good maximum tow capacity. Things we don't like are the bad fuel economy, basic and outdated interior design, and the fact that it steers like a Viking warship. The Savana and Chevrolet are basically the same van, so choose your weapon.

See Chevrolet Express Passenger Van Review

2020 GMC Savana Passenger Van vs Ford Transit Passenger Van

The ever-popular Ford Transit Van is offered as a highly capable passenger van and is available with three engine options, namely a naturally aspirated 3.7-liter V6, a 3.2-liter turbo-diesel, and our favorite, the 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6 engine that produces a healthy 310 hp and 400 lb-ft of torque. The Diesel and turbo V6 engines both offer excellent payload and towing performance. Unlike the Savana, the Transit offers good ride quality and some actual handling dynamics. We also appreciate the Ford Transit's high level of customization, its spacious cabin, and class-leading infotainment system. On the other hand, we struggled to get over its basic standard features list and lack of passenger comfort features. If you're doing a lot of driving, the Ford Transit Passenger Van should be the way to go.

See Ford Transit Passenger Van Review

GMC Savana Passenger Van Popular Comparisons

Savana Passenger Van News

$36,400 - $38,400
Price Range (MSRP)
GMC Savana Passenger Van