The 2021 GMC Savana Passenger and it’s twin, the Chevrolet Express—is one of the last old-school full-size vans, built atop a ladder-frame chassis just like a full-size pickup truck, which gives it extra durability. For 2021, the 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 three engine choices. Long wheelbase versions can seat up to 15 people, and the maximum GVWR ranges from 8,600 to 9,600 pounds between the various configurations. Available with an interior set up either for cargo or passengers, the Savana is an honest workhorse with few frills. There are hardly any changes to the Savana for the 2021 model year, the most notable being the replacement of the old 341-horsepower 6.0-liter V8 gas engine with a new 401-hp 6.6-liter engine. Buyers can choose from a gasoline-powered V-6 or V-8 engine or opt for a diesel four-cylinder. All versions offer plentiful towing and payload capacities and either a standard- or extended-wheelbase body style.
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 401-hp 6.6-liter V-8. 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. The GMC Savana cargo model in the 2500 extended-wheelbase configuration represents an extremely strong value. Several engines are offered, but we recommend the optional 6.6-liter V-8 engine. With 401 horsepower and 464 lb-ft of torque, it’s considerably more powerful than the standard 276-hp 4.3-liter V-6. 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. A 2500 or 3500 standard-wheelbase version of the GMC Savana passenger van offers the highest tow rating when equipped with the 6.6-liter V-8 and the optional trailering equipment package.
Inside, the 2021 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.
The features list on the 2021 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 swing-out passenger door. 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. 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. LT models include cruise control as standard, as well as lane-departure warning, a tilting steering column, and remote 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.
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