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- Highs Low starting price, optional V-8 power, tried and true construction.
- Lows No high-roof option, all-wheel drive isn't available, dated six-speed transmission with some engines.
- Verdict A time-tested and proven work horse that keeps it simple and gets the job done.
A large, traditional, rear-wheel-drive passenger or cargo van, the 2020 GMC Savana is a tried and true commercial vehicle. Unlike many of its competitors the full-size Savana still uses a ladder-type frame, a design similar to GMC's full-size pickup trucks, the Sierra 1500 and the Sierra HD. This body-on-frame construction has proven durable and dependable over the years and allows the Savana to tow up to 10,000 pounds and boast a maximum payload capacity of 4312 pounds. Its ride and handling, however, aren't quite as carlike as some of its rivals. The Savana is available as a passenger vehicle with seating for as many as 15 or as a cavernous cargo van. Several engines, including a couple of V-8s, are offered as well two wheelbases and a few trim levels.
What's New for 2020?
Not much has changed for the 2020 GMC Savana. The only upgrade this year is a new eight-speed automatic transmission for models equipped with the Duramax 2.8-liter diesel engine. It replaces the van's dated six-speed automatic and should improve acceleration and fuel economy.
Pricing and Which One to Buy
If you're looking for an extra-large full-size cargo van with big power, the GMC Savana cargo in the 2500 extended-wheelbase configuration represents an extremely strong value at $35,000. Several engines are offered, but we also recommend the optional 6.0-liter V-8 engine. With 341 horsepower and 373 lb-ft of torque, it's considerably more powerful than the standard 276-hp 4.3-liter V-6 but only costs $1000 more.
Engine, Transmission, and Performance
GMC offers the Savana with a wide range of powertrains. Both the passenger and the cargo versions of the van come standard with a 276-hp 4.3-liter V-6, but we recommend the optional 341-hp 6.0-liter V-8. GMC also offers a version of the V-8 that runs on gasoline as well as compressed natural gas and propane. The most expensive and most complex engine available is a 2.8-liter Duramax turbo-diesel making 181 horsepower. It's only a four-cylinder, but it pumps out an impressive 369 lb-ft of torque, which is almost as much as the V-8. Still, vans with the V-8 can pull and haul more weight. While the V-6 and the diesel engines get a more modern eight-speed automatic transmission, the V-8s are still paired with an antiquated but durable six-speed automatic.
Towing and Payload Capacity
A 2500 or 3500 standard-wheelbase version of the 2020 GMC Savana passenger van offers the highest tow rating when equipped with the 6.0-liter V-8 and the optional trailering equipment package. This setup has a maximum tow rating of 9600 pounds and a maximum payload capacity of 3578 pounds. However, with the same V-8 the Savana cargo van can tow 10,000 pounds, which is 2600 pounds more than the V-6 model. Its maximum payload is 4312 pounds.
Fuel Economy and Real-World MPG
Because the 2020 GMC Savana is a commercial vehicle, it is not issued fuel-economy ratings or estimates by the Environmental Protection Agency. This is also the case with GMC's heavy-duty 2500 and 3500 pickup trucks.
Interior, Comfort, and Cargo
Inside, the 2020 GMC Savana is all about function. Its interior offers large, comfortable seats and a basic dashboard design with durable black plastics and ergonomic control placement. The passenger van comes with seating for 12 standard, but extended-wheelbase models can transport 15. Base LS models get front and rear air conditioning, power windows, power locks, an AM/FM audio system with MP3, cruise control, and a tilt steering wheel. The upper LT trim level adds a few luxuries such as keyless entry. Cargo versions of the Savana offer as much as 286.6 cubic feet of cargo space; however, unlike high-roof versions of some competitors, tall users cannot stand up inside the Savana comfortably. Cargo vans come raw, with bare cargo areas for easy customization to fit your needs. GMC does offer some shelving and other storage solutions, as well as a sliding side door or two doors that swing out. Unlike modern minivans, all GMC Savanas only have a cargo or loading door on the passenger side.
Infotainment and Connectivity
If you're expecting the same level of infotainment technology and connectivity as GMC offers in its pickups, you're going to be disappointed. The 2020 GMC Savana cargo van doesn't even have a touchscreen in its dashboard, and one isn't available. A touchscreen with navigation is offered for the passenger van. A 4G Wi-Fi hotspot and Bluetooth are offered on both models, as is the myGMC mobile app, which allows you to lock and unlock your vehicle from your smart phone. The app also allows you to schedule and manage dealer maintenance visits.
Safety and Driver-Assistance Features
GMC offers a solid list of driver aids and dynamic safety systems on the 2020 Savana; however, two of them are included only in the more expensive LT trim level: forward-collision alert and lane-departure warning. Side blind-spot monitoring is also available, while a backup camera is standard. Key safety features include:
- Available forward-collision warning
- Available side blind-spot alert
- Available rear parking assist
Warranty and Maintenance Coverage
GMC includes a basic warranty package on the 2020 Savana, and its parameters are similar to the warranties offered on the Ram ProMaster and Mercedes Sprinter; however, the warranty of the Nissan NV is considerably longer, at five years/100,000 miles. GMC also includes the cost of one dealer visit for scheduled maintenance during the first year, and the duration of the Savana's powertrain warranty can be extended to five years/100,000 miles for qualified fleet purchases.
- Limited warranty covers 3 years or 36,000 miles
- Powertrain warranty covers 5 years or 60,000 miles
- Complimentary maintenance is covered for 1 year/1 visit