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2002 GMC Savana

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2002 GMC Savana Review

GMC vans measure up well alongside the Dodge Ram Van and Ford Econoline.

Reviewed by Automotive on


The 2002 GMC Savana continues with a model launched in 1996 for the full-size van market. It shows a long overdue redesign with a rounded-off look. Sitting on a wheelbase of 135 or 155 inches for the available weight series, the Savana carries up to 15 people depending on its configuration. The side-entry doors offer 60/40 hinged doors or a slider. This design allows an easy access for loading cargo and passengers. The new design also features flush door handles and glass, as well as hidden door hinges.

The Savana measures up well in its class and makes an excellent choice if you need a versatile, hard-working van.

The Range

Body Styles: passenger van
Engines: 4.3-liter V-6, 5.0-liter V-8, 5.7-liter V-8, 8.1-liter V-8, 6.5-liter V-8 diesel
Transmissions: four-speed automatic
Models: GMC Savana, GMC Savana SLE, GMC Savana SLT

What's New

The full-scale GMC van only gets minor improvements for 2002. Upgrades include stronger gear housing and an efficient starter. Models with over 8600-pound GVWR and either a 6.5-liter diesel or a 8100 V-8 engine get certified as low emission vehicles in California.


The Savana exterior styling looks bulbous and rounded. It has a similar-looking broad front end like others in GM’s truck family. Thin, tall taillights and a high-arched rear finish the exterior look of the round-topped van. The 2002 GMC Savana sits on a 135-inch wheelbase with a total length measurement of 218.8 inches. The full-size Savana looks a bit like a commuter train car from behind, as it sits much taller than the competition at 83.9 inches.

The swing-out doors on the passenger side come standard. The single sliding door offers an alternative. The 180-degree opening of the two rear doors ensure easy loading. The base model sits on 15-inch steel wheels, and the SLT uses alloy 15-inch wheels. Both vans have manual sunshades and swing-out rear quarter windows, along with intermittent wipers and a matching spare tire. Body-colored exterior additions on the SLT provide further distinction.


Interior features of the 2002 GMC Savana include adequate legroom, two cup holders in a center console, a storage compartment for CDs, an auxiliary input power outlet, cloth upholstery, a tilt steering wheel, bucket front seats, cruise control, rear and front air-conditioning, a VCR, a 12-speaker stereo with an in-dash CD player, and external temperature display. The upper-level SLT adds two flip-down 6.8-inch video screens for travel entertainment, wireless headphones, and independent audio controls.

The Radio Data Systems technology remains optional, which delivers traffic reports, preference-based station selection, and weather forecasts. A universal remote transmitter connects to security systems or garage doors. Cargo space measures 316.8 cubic feet in the full-length Savana. Seating configurations vary between eight and 15 occupants.

Performance & Handling

Five different engines offered for the 2002 GMC Savana adequately accommodate requirements of passenger- and cargo-carrying. The engines suit hauling and towing needs, as well. The standard engine, a 4.3-liter V-6, produces 200 horsepower goes into the half-ton van models. Quarter-ton Savanas choose from a five-liter V-8 or a 5.7-liter V-8, producing 220 hp and 255 hp, respectively. The optional engines include a heavy-duty 8.1-liter gasoline Vortec 8100 V-8 that generates 340 hp and a diesel-powered, 6.5-liter V-8 that makes 195 hp. All engines mate with an automatic four-speed transmission. The diesel engine pulls up to 10,000 pounds when properly equipped.


The safety features on all 2002 GMC Savanas include child seat anchors, rear door child safety locks, an engine immobilizer, four-wheel ABS, ventilated front disc brakes, rear drum brakes, daytime running lights, and dusk-sensing headlamps. The base uses a lap belt in the rear center seat. The Savana SLT includes all of the above, as well as an anti-theft remote alarm system, driving lights, and fog lights. Height-adjustable headrests, two in the front and two in the rear, provide support. Side-impact airbags remain unavailable.

EPA Fuel Economy

GMC Savana Base: 13/16 mpg city/highway
GMC Savana SLE: 14/17 mpg city/highway
GMC Savana SLT: 14/17 mpg city/highway

You'll Like

  • Spacious interior
  • Powerful V-8 options

You Won't Like

  • Cheap materials for interior
  • Unreliable build quality

Sum Up

GMC vans measure up well alongside the Dodge Ram Van and Ford Econoline.

If You Like This Vehicle

  • Chevrolet Express
  • Mercedes-Benz Sprinter
  • Ford Transit Connect
  • Toyota Sienna
  • Dodge Grand Caravan
  • Chrysler Town and Country

See the New 2015 Savana.


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