At the end of its twenty-year run, the GMC Safari has no changes for 2005 and is in limited production.

The Safari is the same vehicle as the Chevrolet Astro; basically a box on a rear-wheel-drive truck frame, it offers superior towing and cargo capacity, if not the driving experience of its front-wheel-drive minivan cousins.

The single powertrain is a 4.3-litre V6, mated to a four-speed Hydra-Matic automatic transmission. Three trim lines are offered, in seven- or eight-passenger seating. An on-demand all-wheel-drive system is available as an option; it sends its power to the rear wheels until it detects slippage, whereupon it diverts some torque to the front.

The base SL package includes rear panel-type doors, roof rack, 15-inch steel wheels, variable intermittent wipers, trailer wiring harness, front air conditioning, cargo net, cruise control, power locks, full-length carpeting, tilt wheel, power windows, CD player, and four-wheel disc brakes with ABS.

The SLE adds power mirrors, 16-inch aluminum wheels, overhead console and keyless remote, while the SLT adds three-piece rear Dutch doors with rear washer/wiper and defogger, front and rear air conditioning, auxiliary rear heater, leather-wrapped wheel, premium cloth seats, six-way power driver’s seat and CD/cassette with six speakers.

Like the Astro, the Safari is a tough little van, with a tall configuration that allows for exceptional headroom. It’s rated for towing up to 2,449 kg (5,400 lbs) and its loss will mean that those who need to take both the boat and all the boaters to the cottage will have to scramble to find something else – possibly the Chevrolet Express, GMC Savana or the Ford E-Series.

The Safari is built in Baltimore, Maryland.

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