Maximum capability to truck customers who need it; up to 15 passengers on extended-wheelbase chassis
Platform is showing its age; competition is heating up
The Savana 3500 is unchanged for the 2014 model year.
We'd equip an extended-wheelbase 2014 GMC Savana 3500 cargo van with the optional 6.6-liter Duramax diesel, the Convenience package with power windows and locks, a heavy-duty locking differential, heavy-duty trailering equipment and the chrome appearance package to dress it up. We'd then ship it off to an adventure-oriented converter such as Sportsmobile, giving us a big van that could easily sleep four while carrying all the gear typically taken on a 3-week tour. We'd be out the door for roughly $45,000 plus the cost of the conversion, and we'd have a base camp suitable for virtually any venue in North America.
The Savana 3500 comes in three trim levels: a base-level "cargo" model for hauling large items, and LS or LT trims for carrying passengers. All three are offered in short- or long-wheelbase with mandatory rear-wheel drive.
Opt for the Savana Cargo ($33,100) and don't expect many standard features. The van includes only the basics, such as vinyl seating, manual air conditioning and an AM/FM stereo. There's no CD player, no OnStar telematics system and no power locks, power windows or power mirrors. However, each of those features -- and more -- can be added as options.
Choose the LS ($37,000) and you get a few more features. The most important is seats. The Savana 3500 passenger is offered in two wheelbases; regular models have a 12-person seating capacity, while the extended-length Savana can carry up to 15 people. The Savana LS also includes power door locks and cruise control.
Drivers who opt for the upscale LT ($37,500) get even more standard equipment. Such features include cloth upholstery, a compass, remote keyless entry, rear air conditioning and exterior chrome accents.
Shoppers who want the Savana's diesel engine will pay big money for the privilege. The engine costs around $10,000 extra on all Savana models, so you shouldn't choose it unless you plan on hauling and towing extensively.
In addition to the Savana's standard equipment, many options are available. Extras range from items such as power mirrors and windows to high-end features, including a reversing camera, a navigation system and rear park assist.
|Basic||3 Years/36,000 Miles|
|Drivetrain||5 Years/100,000 Miles|
|Corrosion||3 Years/36,000 Miles|
|Rust-Through||6 Years/100,000 Miles|
|Roadside Assistance||5 Years/100,000 Miles|
|Maintenance||2 Years/24,000 Miles|
GMC Yukon XL -- Yes, the most obvious competitor to the GMC Savana 3500 is in the same showroom. A Yukon XL will seat up to eight, and although it doesn't deliver the sheer cubic volume of the Savana, it tops the van in comfort and over-the-road demeanor.
Ford E-350 -- The E-350 is just as dated as the Savana, but the next-generation full-size Transit arrives soon. Given the positive reception to its smaller sibling, the Transit Connect, Ford could have a winner on its hands, which would add pressure for a modernized GMC Savana.
Mercedes-Benz Sprinter -- The Sprinter offers impressive capability and efficiency in a considerably more modern package than the Savana 3500. But it's also more expensive.
RAM ProMaster -- With fuel-efficient V6 engines and a low load floor, RAM's latest take on the full-size van is sure to offer huge capability, whether you're hauling people or large items.