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PERFORMANCE | 5 out of 10
Optional all-wheel drive
Display little rough-road harshness and only minor float
Not as truck-like to drive as one might expect
Kelley Blue Book
The 2008 GMC Savana comes with a wide range of available engines, but all of the drivetrain combinations offer commendable performance. Handling, however, is subpar on the GMC Savana.
GMC's big van, the 2008 GMC Savana, "can be equipped with one of five engines," according to Cars.com. Kelley Blue Book says that the engine lineup begins with a "4.3-liter V6" that produces "195 horsepower" and "260 lb.-ft. of torque @ 2800 rpm." Moving up to the four available V-8 engines, Edmunds reviewers find "a 5.3-liter V8 making 301 horsepower and 325 pound-feet of torque," along with a "6.0-liter V8 rated at 323 hp and 373 lb-ft"; Consumer Guide states that a "4.8-liter V8" is available on 2500 Cargo extended versions. Kelley Blue Book rounds out the engine list, revealing that a "6.6-liter Turbodiesel V8" is also available. Edmunds declares that the V-8 engines mean "merging and passing maneuvers come easily, even when you're hauling a heavy load of passengers and cargo." Kelley Blue Book also praises the V-8 options on the GMC Savana 2008, noting that "buyers who must haul heavy loads will probably opt for the new Vortec 5300" 5.3-liter engine.
Despite having a multitude of available engines, all versions of the 2008 GMC Savana feature a "four-speed automatic transmission that incorporates a tow/haul mode," says Cars.com, though they also attest "rear- and all-wheel-drive models are available." Reviews read by TheCarConnection.com praise the available all-wheel drive, which Car and Driver praises as "particularly helpful in a rain-soaked grass paddock" during their test drive. Motor Trend reviewers add that "any number of service, delivery, and transport companies who operate in wet and/or snowy climates would find many advantages" with the "all-wheel-drive full-size" GMC Savana.
Unfortunately for fleet buyers and anyone else interested in a GMC Savana 2008, the van doesn't offer spectacular fuel economy with any engine choice. The official EPA estimates range from 12 mpg city and 16 mpg highway with the 5.3-liter V-8 in AWD mode to 15 mpg city and 20 mpg highway on 2WD V-6 models.
Handling and other performance aspects of the GMC Savana 2008 lineup are unremarkable. When stopping the GMC Savana, Car and Driver says "braking performance was rather ordinary -- 214 feet from 70 mph to a standstill," though they were "favorably impressed by the improved pedal feel" and "the system's resistance to fade." In terms of handling and steering, Automobile writes that the GMC Savana is "awkward to maneuver and virtually impossible to park." Fortunately, ride quality is commendable, as ConsumerGuide quips "these GM rigs display little rough-road harshness and only minor float over crests and dips."
The 2008 GMC Savana moves well enough, but fuel economy is very poor.