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1998 GMC Safari

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1998 GMC Safari Review

A van with the soul of a truck.

Reviewed by Automotive on


The 1998 GMC Safari is a minivan that offers more than family hauling and cargo space. It also boasts the ability to haul boats, campers, and other items with ease. It blends the benefits of a truck with the capabilities of a van. On the upside, it's spacious and offers a host of creature comforts for buyers while towing well with a rear- or all-wheel-drive system. There are several trims so that buyers can pick and choose what is most important to them. The downside is that the ride is similar to a truck. Buyers will not get the same smooth car-like feel that they receive in the average minivan.

The Range

Body Styles: van
Engines: 3.3-liter V-6
Transmissions: four-speed automatic
Models: GMC Safari SLE, GMC Safari SLT, GMC Safari SLX

What's New

The 1998 GMC Safari brings in a new theft-deterrent system and enhancements to the transmission. There are also a host of new color choices, and the full-power airbags remain.


The 1998 GMC Safari is much like they always have been; the same boxy shape has not changed over the years, and there is nothing really new or exciting about the exterior. It has been based on a truck chassis and that sets it apart from the standard minivan. That is not to say it's not attractive. Those that like the simplicity of the styling will appreciate it. However, unlike many of the competitors, there is not a fourth door for convenience. It also comes with rear-wheel drive as standard where most have all-wheel drive as standard.


The 1998 GMC Safari has an interior that most resembles the comfort and space of a minivan. It has the ability to seat up to eight and offers many of the features that's wanted in a vehicle geared for the family. Even such features as separate middle-row audio options help to make it ideal for those with plenty of people to haul. That said, larger drivers will be less than pleased with the amount of space they are given. Tight quarters in the front are not indicative of the minivan market and could be the deciding factor for some against it. The dashboard is stylish while benefits such as safety locks on the rear door and heating ducts in the back are for comfort.

Performance & Handling

The 1998 GMC Safari was designed to be a powerful alternative on the minivan market, and it holds up well. In addition to its passenger and cargo space, it offers the ability to do heavy-duty work. It can haul a boat or trailer for long distances without breaking a sweat. The ride suffers from the truck chassis underneath, though, as it handles much like the trucks it was based on. It offers a lower fuel economy than most vans, but it is an overall reliable ride.


The 1998 GMC Safari is among the few vehicles that held onto the full-power airbags. There are also daytime running lights, child safety seats, and a safety lock on the rear door. Anti-lock brakes are standard as are side-door guard beams.

EPA Fuel Economy

GMC Safari: 15/19 mpg city/highway

You'll Like

  • Hauling capabilities
  • Plenty of standard features and optional extras
  • Powerful engine
  • Safety features
  • Leather optional

You Won't Like

  • Truck-like feel
  • Lack of fourth door
  • Cramped driver space

Sum Up

A van with the soul of a truck.

If You Like This Vehicle

  • Chevy Astro
  • Ford Windstar

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