2012 GMC Savana

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2012 GMC Savana Review

Note: This review was created when the 2012 GMC Savana was new.

The 2012 GMC Savana is a utilitarian van that offers plenty of passenger seats and an abundance of drivetrain configurations, but rivals have better fuel economy ratings and are easier to drive.

Pros & Cons

  • Available diesel engine
  • All-wheel drive option
  • High available seating capacity
  • Not the easiest van to maneuver
  • Options cause price to skyrocket
  • Poor fuel economy

Research & Ratings

Currently, the GMC Savana has a score of 7.1 out of 10, which is based on our evaluation of 24 pieces of research and data.




Critics' Rating: 7.0
Performance: 7.3
Interior: 7.2
This model has never been fully tested for safety. Its overall score is being calculated without safety.
J.D. Power Ratings Logo

2012 GMC Savana Overview

Automotive journalists say that the GMC Savana can fulfill the needs of most buyers who need a basic work van for toting tools to the job site or passengers to the airport. With seating for up to 15, it has one of the largest seating capacities in the class. Plus, the GMC Savana is one of the only work vans that offers all-wheel drive, and it also has one of the highest towing capacities in the class.

However, if you don’t need the ultimate in towing capacity and enough seats for a soccer team, another van in the class may prove to be a better choice because the GMC Savana’s fuel economy isn’t great, and it can be hard to maneuver in small parking lots or crowded downtown streets. Though they’re more expensive, rivals like the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter offer nearly twice the Savana’s cargo capacity, depending on the configuration, and the Ford Transit Connect Electric is both easier to drive and far more eco-friendly.

If you’re looking for a versatile, no-frills van, the GMC Savana and its corporate twin, the Chevrolet Express, are good choices. Because they haven’t changed much since 2003, you could save money by opting for a used model. However, if you need to get the most out of your van’s fuel economy or cargo capacity, or you plan to spend a lot of time driving in the city, consider shopping rivals.

Other Vans to Consider

The Ford Transit Connect is much smaller than the GMC Savana, with a maximum seating capacity of five, so it can’t hold nearly as many passengers or as much cargo. But if you can sacrifice some utility for a van with far better handling and gas mileage, the Transit Connect is a good choice. This van is also available with Ford’s Work Solutions system, which is an in-dash computer system that can print invoices, keep tabs on tools and monitor other vehicles in the company fleet. Plus, buyers looking for an environmentally-friendly alternative can opt for the Transit Connect Electric, a plug-in electric vehicle with an EPA-rated range of 56 miles on a fully-charged battery.

If you need a van with even more cargo capacity than the GMC Savana can offer, your best bet is the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter. The Sprinter costs significantly more than the base Savana, but it’s also much larger. The Sprinter has fewer seats than the Savana, but when properly configured, the Sprinter can hold almost twice the Savana’s cargo capacity. Test drivers also say the Sprinter is a bit easier to drive than most other work vans.

Details: The GMC Savana

The 2012 GMC Savana doesn’t see any significant changes or updates. It is available in 1500, 2500 and 3500 models, which come in either regular or extended-length wheelbases. The interior can be equipped as either a Cargo or a Passenger van, in WT (Work Truck), LS and LT trims. Depending on the model, the Savana offers up to five engines, two transmissions and rear- or all-wheel drive. This van can seat between two and 15 people, depending on the configuration.  See the full 2012 GMC Savana specifications.

  • "The Express and Savana excel as work trucks, even if they are often overshadowed by Ford's E-series.” -- Car and Driver
  • "The … GMC Savana is a willing workhorse for buyers requiring the functionality of a full-size van.” -- Edmunds

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