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2005 GMC Safari

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2005 GMC Safari Review

A good van for those who tow cargo often or want more power from their vehicle

Reviewed by Automotive on


The GMC Safari is a three-door passenger van produced from 1985 to 2005. The GMC Safari is identical to Chevrolet’s Astro, a popular minivan produced through the same model years and sharing nearly every feature and design detail outside of the logo. All models had a front-engine rear- or all-wheel-drive layout. The GMC Safari was available as a passenger van and was also used as a commercial vehicle.

The first generation models were produced from 1985 through 1994. The second generation models, from 1995 to 2005, got a moderate facelift, extending the hood but still with a box-type passenger or cargo area. Layout remained the same as well as maximum passenger capacity and power options.

The Range

Body Styles: van
Engines: 4.3-liter V-6
Transmissions: four-speed automatic with overdrive
Models: GMC Safari, GMC Safari Cargo

What's New

Though production continued, there were no changes from the 2004 to the 2005 models, the only 2004 change was an argent-toned grille made standard on the base models.


The 2005 GMC Safari has a 111.2-inch wheelbase and is a total of 189.8 inches long. The sliding door is located on the passenger side, and there is no rear-side door on the driver side. The back has side-hinged swing-open cargo doors standard and Dutch doors, which swing up at the window and out halfway up the rear, are optional on some models. A rear-defogger is standard with the Dutch door setup.

These models have a very boxy appearance. The grille area is flat, with the GMC logo in the center, and large square headlights on each side. Models come in two-tone around the entire vehicle up to the rear and front bumper height. The back is nearly completely flat and models come with a roof rack. The Safari is available in a range of exterior colors.


The 2005 GMC Safari comes with two front bucket seats, two rows of rear bench seats, and a maximum capacity of eight on standard models. With the SLT models, the second-row bench seats can be replaced by two bucket seats, which seat seven with this configuration. The second and third rows can be removed completely for up to 170.4 cubic feet of cargo space. With all three rows, the back has a cargo capacity of 41.3 cubic feet. Passenger models come with tilt steering, cruise control, power windows, power doors, and power locks standard with additional options. The interior control layout is simple and intuitive. The seats are only moderately comfortable, and the ride is a little rough compared to other vans, but all rows have plenty of legroom. The 2005 GMC Safari is available with a range of interior trim options.

Performance & Handling

With light loads the 190-hp, 4.3-liter V-6 performs well. It produces up to 250 lb-ft of torque and uses a four-speed automatic on all models. The transmission has a tow/haul mode as well for trailers or boats. The all-wheel-drive models send power to the back wheels in normal driving situations. When slippage is detected, power is diverted as needed to the front wheels. The 2005 GMC Safari has good towing capacity for a van in its class but driving it can feel more like a truck than a van; front-wheel-drive models generally perform more impressively in this area.


2005 GMC Safari safety features include all-disc anti-lock brakes standard. Side-impact airbags are not available on any model.

EPA Fuel Economy

GMC Safari: 14/20 mpg city/highway
GMC Safari Cargo: 15/20 mpg city/highway

You'll Like

  • Roomy interior
  • Towing capacity
  • AWD traction

You Won't Like

  • Handling
  • Comfort for a passenger van
  • Lack of safety features
  • Resale value
  • Exterior style

Sum Up

A good van for those who tow cargo often or want more power from their vehicle

If You Like This Vehicle

  • Chevrolet Astro
  • Saturn Relay
  • Toyota Sienna

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