GMC G1500

The G1500 (also known as the 1500 Savana) is GMC’s half-ton cargo or passenger van. Likewise, G2500 refers to the three-quarter ton version and G3500 refers to the one-ton version. The G1500 competes primarily with the Ford E-Series and Mercedes-Benz Sprinter as a commercial van. The Savana replaced the GMC Vandura in 1996 and is currently in production. All body styles are either three-door with side sliding doors, or four-door with two doors on the side that swing open. Additionally, all models are built on a front-engine, rear-wheel or four-wheel drive layout.

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About the GMC G1500

The G1500 is mainly a commercial vehicle. This smaller model is more commonly used by contractors or as a smaller fleet vehicle. However, consumer outfitted passenger vans can also be found. The passenger versions can seat up to 15. These vehicles are known for power, reliability, interior space, durable powertrains and excellent performance, and superior towing capacity. Criticisms include questionable build quality and inferior materials within the cabin.

GMC G1500 Features

The 2012 GMC 1500 Savana is available with a 195-hp, 5.3-liter, V-6, regular gas engine or a 310-hp, 5.3-liter, V-8, flex fuel engine. Both engines are paired with a four-speed automatic transmission with overdrive. There are eight different trim levels. The base model is a six-cylinder Work Van cargo van with a 135-inch wheelbase and rear drive. This model gets 15/20 mpg city/highway. All other models have the eight-cylinder engine, which is rated at 13/17 to 13/18 mpg city/highway. Other models include the upgraded all-wheel drive Work Van cargo van, rear and all-wheel drive cargo Upfitters, rear and all-wheel drive passenger LT models, and rear and all-wheel drive LS passenger models. MSRP ranges from $25,090 to $33,200.

Both cloth upholstery and air conditioning come standard. Some optional features include remote start, Wi-Fi internet, Bluetooth cell phone compatibility, and bulkhead dividers.

The van’s exterior is boxy with a typical half-ton van profile. Seventeen inch wheels are standard and alloy wheels are optional. Other options include rear swing-out doors, sliding passenger doors, and a chrome appearance package. All of the 12- to 15-passenger vans have three-layer glass windows to guard against ejection. Standard safety features on all vans include all-disc antilock brakes, three-row side curtain airbags for all passenger models, and Stabilitrak, an electronic stability system.

GMC G1500 Evolution

In 1892, R.E. Olds took over his father’s naval and industrial engine plant to create the General Motors Corporation (GMC). Despite some ups and downs, GMC is still a strong force in the automotive industry, parenting such companies as Buick, Cadillac, and Chevrolet. GMC also merged with other car manufactures— Saab, Saturn, and Hummer—to keep them from going under.

The GMC 1500 is currently in its second generation. The first generation models include those built from 1996 through 2002. These ranged in power from a 4.3-liter V-6 up to an 8.1-liter Vortec V-8 with a four-speed automatic.

The second generation models include those built from 2003 to the present. The second generation models remain primarily the same in design. Until 2006, GMC offered a unique four-wheel-steering option, called QuadraSteer, cutting the truck's turning circle down to 37.4 feet which is about 10 feet less than a typical full-size pickup. However, this option was discontinued in 2006 because buyers were not willing to pay the high price that came with it.

Similar to the first generation vans, the second generation GMC Savana vans start with a 4.3-liter Vortec V-6 engine on the lower trim level and offer a six-liter Vortec V-8 on the higher trim models. Powerful diesel models and flex fuel models are also available. In models sold after 2010, the transmission was upgraded from a four-speed automatic to a six-speed automatic.

Select a GMC G1500 Year

1998 GMC G1500


1997 GMC G1500


The 1997 GMC Savana G1500 is a full-size van with cargo and passenger options and is almost the same vehicle as the G2500 and the G3500.

1996 GMC G1500


The 1996 GMC G1500 is a full-size van with both cargo and passenger options.