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Kelley Blue Book ® - 2003 GMC Savana Van Overview

Vehicle Overview from Kelley Blue Book

KBB.com 2003 GMC Savana Van Overview

Carry It In Style

GMC has billed itself as the builder of "Professional Grade" vehicles. We take this to mean that although GMC trucks and vans can perform the working chores that the masses require of them, their exterior and interior appointments are designed to cater more to the working professionals of the world. So while the delivery guy may be bringing your goods in a Chevy, when his boss comes to visit, the head honcho should be behind the wheel of a GMC—at least that's the theory.

When it comes to hauling stuff—be it people or material—there is no better vehicle to do it with than the full-size GMC Savana. Oh sure, pickup trucks look good and they have lots of room in the open bed, but what if you live in a place where it rains a lot, or worse yet, it snows! Suddenly the thought of having a steel roof overhead seems pretty appealing and the Savana can do more than just deliver merchandise, it can also serve as a mobile shop for handy men and contractors. Try that in an open bed pickup.

For 2003, GMC has given all the Savana models a major facelift and a host of technical improvements. The Savana's steel frame is now fully boxed, meaning that it is stronger and less prone to flex, a problem that used to plague older vans. The front suspension has also been improved with new springs and better dampening; this set up greatly improves the Savana's ride while providing the driver with greater control due to the better road feel telegraphed via the power steering. Braking performance receives a boost with the addition of four-wheel ABS disc brakes. The new system includes a rear proportioning valve to help deal with varying weight loads and a reserve power features that allows the brakes to continue to work even if the engine is shut off or stalls out.

Exterior improvements include a new front end with a bold chrome grille surround and matching bumper. The Savana is outfitted with new 16-inch wheels fashioned to mirror those of the other high-end GMC trucks. The outside left and right mirrors are now power operated, heated and include an integrated turn signal at the base. Inside, you'll find a comfortable set of front bucket seats that entitle you to view the massive expanse of the Savana's dashboard. Thankfully, all of the controls vital to the driver have been grouped close to the steering wheel, negating the need for a full stretch just to change the radio or switch on the A/C. GMC has made a valiant effort to quiet the Savana's interior, paying special attention to the door latching mechanism and seat mounts.

Whether you plan to use your Savana as a utility vehicle or one pressed into passenger service, you'll find no other van is as adept at loading and unloading as this one. For starters, the Savana features the industry's first left-side hinged door making it possible to load people or cargo from both sides of the van. In addition, the cargo vans feature a set of handy side access panels that allow you to securely store small tools or gear; the panels can be opened via a remote key fob. Once inside, you'll find the Savana offers seating for up to 15 people or as much as 316-cubic feet of cargo space (extended wheelbase models). With 50-inches of open space between the wheel wells and 54-inches from floor to ceiling, its safe to say that when it comes to cargo, if one person can carry it the Savana can probably accommodate it.

Power for the base 1500 models is provided by a 200 horsepower 4.3-liter V6. This engine has good pulling power when the relatively light shell of the Savana is empty, but for heavier work, we recommend one of the more potent V8s; there are three to choose from including a 270-horsepower 4.7-liter, a 285-horsepower 5.3-liter and a workhorse 6.0-liter V8 that churns out a massive 300 horsepower. All of the Savana's engine choices are teamed to an excellent four-speed automatic transmission with overdrive that helps the big van get the best fuel mileage possible. For those who work in constant bad weather conditions, you can now order your Savana with all-wheel drive for improved road holding and traction on slippery surfaces.

Standard equipment on the Savana includes air conditioning, ABS brakes, full gauge package, daytime running lights, AM/FM stereo radio, vinyl seat trim, intermittent wipers and automatic transmission. Options include the OnStar telematics systems, power windows, door locks, cloth seats, CD stereo and speed control. GMC dealers also offer a wide variety of conversion vans that have been upgraded by GM-approved aftermarket shops and carry the full GMC warranty.

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