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2008 GMC Savana

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2008 GMC Savana Review

A beneficial vehicle for utility purposes with strong performance and the ability to transport numerous passengers in reasonable comfort.

Reviewed by Automotive on


The 2008 GMC Savana classifies as a full-size van with useful interior space and an admirable array of powerful engines superior to most comparable vans. The Savana primarily serves as a means to transport passengers and cargo. It comes in three models and the choice of half-ton and one-ton. The available models include the 1500, 2500, and 3500 and all have a passenger and cargo edition. All models come in two trims: the LS and LT. In addition, the passenger 3500 and the cargo 2500 and 3500 offer extended wheelbase versions. The Savana offers five engines.

All models are geared toward fleet services and well-suited for seating up to 15 passengers. Standard features remain minimal. However, it can be equipped with various available options to provide more comfort for the passenger version.

The Range

Body Styles: full-size van
Engines: 5.3-liter V-8, 6.0-liter V-8
Transmissions: four-speed automatic
Models: GMC Savana 1500, GMC Savana 2500, GMC Savana 3500

What's New

The interior shows some significant changes for 2008, which include a new steering wheel, switchgear, instrument cluster, and materials. Stability control, side-curtain airbags, a tire pressure monitor, and a convex exterior mirror for improved rear vision become standard features.


It is infrequent for the Savana to receive changes to the exterior. The majority of changes appear under the skin. The 2008 GMC Savana focuses on utility purposes and the body style reflects that. The front end has a trapezoidal grille, an oversized GMC emblem, and upscale reflector headlights. The doors in the front are re-designed and the side-hinged doors provide easier access to the interior. Rear access to the interior occurs through a barn-type door that swings out close to 180 degrees. Additionally, it includes swing out quarter windows in the rear. All models and trims ride on 16-inch tires.

The base passenger models come in regular and extended lengths. The length of the regular length model totals 135 inches and measures 224.1 inches overall. The extended length has a 155-inch wheelbase and reaches 244.1 inches overall boosting the cargo capacity from 204 to 236 cubic feet. Both vans measure 79.4 inches wide and 81.6 inches tall.


The interior comes built for practicality with no frills. The controls look well laid-out and sit within easy reach of the driver. A 60/40-split driver’s-side door provides an option for the best access to the rear seats. The standard seat arrangement accommodates 12 passengers; however other configurations and models have the ability to seat from eight to 15 passengers.

While the only major standard features on the LS include air-conditioning, cruise control, theft deterrent, and an AM/FM stereo, a few convenience features include a console with storage, front cup holders, front door pockets, power steering, and a 12-volt power outlet. The LT adds remote entry, a CD player, and optional power front seats.

Performance & Handling

The Savana offers respectable handling and ride due to the rack and pinion steering and a stout frame. As well as a decent ride, this van offers minimal vibration and noise. Passing and moving through traffic occurs easily due to the V-8 engines, including when it carries a load of cargo or passengers.

Engine options include a 195-horsepower, 4.3-liter V-6; a 279-horsepower, 4.8-liter V-8; a 301-horsepower, 5.3-liter V-8; a 323-horsepower, six-liter V-8; and a 250-horsepower, 6.6-liter, turbo-diesel V-8 generating 460 lb-ft of torque. All of these engines team with a four-speed automatic transmission.

All-wheel drive provides an option on the 1500. This model also has an impressive towing capacity of 6300 pounds, and the 3500 tows 7600 pounds when equipped properly.


The 2008 GMC Savana comes equipped with a comprehensive collection of standard safety equipment including anti-lock disc brakes with front and rear ventilation, brakeforce distribution, stability and traction control, and side-curtain airbags for the first three rows. Daytime running lights and an engine immobilizer provide added security.

The National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration gives the Savana five out of five stars for frontal-impact crash tests, but only three stars for rollover protection.

EPA Fuel Economy

GMC Savana 2WD cargo 4.3-liter V-6: 15/20 mpg city/highway
GMC Savana 2WD cargo 5.3-liter V-8: 12/16 mpg city/highway
GMC Savana AWD cargo 5.3-liter V-8: 13/17 mpg city/highway
GMC Savana 2WD passenger 5.3-liter V-8: 12/16 mpg city/highway
GMC Savana AWD passenger 5.3-liter V-8: 12/16 mpg city/highway

You'll Like

  • Dual passenger doors
  • Strong powertrain
  • Multiple passenger configurations
  • Optional all-wheel drive

You Won't Like

  • No-frills design
  • Subpar interior materials
  • Less space than comparable vans

Sum Up

A beneficial vehicle for utility purposes with strong performance and the ability to transport numerous passengers in reasonable comfort.

If You Like This Vehicle

  • Dodge Sprinter
  • Ford E-Series

See the New 2015 Savana.

Front & Driver Side View

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