Generally speaking, the word minivan does not follow the words heavy duty in the automotive lexicon. Practical, yes, Economical, certainly. But heavy duty is a description normally reserved for trucks. SUVs and the odd piece of gardening equipment. GMC would like to change all that with the Safari. As minivans go, it is heavy duty, as it basic specifications show. The 4.3 liter V6 is the largest displacement engine in its class, producing a respectable 190 bhp and a muscular 250 lb.ft of torque. The venerable 4L60-E speed automatic transmission and brawny rear wheel drive layout allow towing up to 5400 lb and cargo models can tug 5900 lb. when properly equipped with the optional 3.73 axle. The Safari seats eight, and has up to 170 cu.ft of cargo volume. It’s even available with an all wheel drive system that distributes torque to the front wheelship is detected. This isn’t your neighbor’s milque toast minivan. GMC elected not to make any major changes to the Safari. There’s a new multipoint fuel injection system, and the traditional exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) system has been eliminated, thanks to catalytic converter improvements and refinements to the engine control computer.
The differential now gets synthetic gear lube to reduce operating temperature and extended axle bearing and seal life. Standard features include dual front airbags, 4 wheel anti lock brakes, chrome steel wheels, reclining high back front bucket seats, air conditioning, power windows and door locks, an overhead console and dual power outlets. The optional SLE trim includes a few more standard features.