When Truckin was started in 1975, there was a huge van movement. Every month we had the newest trends, hottest vans, and coverage of van shows all over the country. Fast-forward nearly 40 years and here we are again testing one of the newest vans from GM— the GMC Savana cargo van. Not only is this van perfect as a work truck, it comes bare bones and would make the ideal project for someone. I know this isn't exactly what you van guys were hoping for but we have to start somewhere. In my best Neil Armstrong voice, this is one small step for vans, one giant leap for vankind.

First Impressions
Taking the keys to the van, we hopped in and were not surprised in the slightest by the interior. That isn’t a bad thing however, since this was a cargo van, we knew that the less the better. We did like that our tester came with the 6.6L Duramax diesel, but that did drive the price up a bit. The window sticker came to a small business-friendly $39,995. Spartan, but perfect for utility.

From the Log Book
Lumbering down the road gave us the feeling of driving a school bus. The Duramax seemed a bit sluggish compared to the versions in the GM truck line and after some research we found out it only has 525 lb-ft of torque and 260 hp at the crank, compared to 765 lb-ft and 397 hp in the Silverado and Sierra HD trucks. The cargo area has 270 cubic feet of volume. If you’re good at Tetris, you could probably fit a couple elephants in there. Well maybe not, but you get the idea.

Final Thoughts
The Savana is perfect for the guy or gal who needs to haul a lot, but wants to be able to lock everything up. The Duramax gives enough power to haul while bringing 19.2 mpg on the highway. With a 10,000-pound tow rating, you can also tow your work trailer during the week and your bikes, boat, or toy hauler on the weekend. The Savana would also be the perfect platform to start a new van project. It is already gutted for you and with the right options, like gas powered heater and auxiliary power ports you could pretty much live in it.

2012 GMC Savana
Base Price: $25,090
Price as Tested: $39,995

Engine
Type: 6.6L Duramax V-8 turbodiesel
Horespower: 260 hp @ 3,100 rpm
Torque: 525 lb-ft @ 1,600 rpm

Drivetrain
Layout: Rear-wheel drive
Transmission: six-speed automatic
Axle Ratio: 3.54:1
Tow Rating: 10,000 pounds
Observed Gas Mileage: 16.8 mpg combined