2019 Nissan NV vs. 2019 GMC Savana Cargo

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Both the NV and the Savana Cargo have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, height-adjustable front shoulder belts, plastic fuel tanks, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, daytime running lights, rearview cameras and available rear parking sensors.


The NV comes with a full 5-year/100,000-mile basic warranty, which covers the entire van and includes free 24-hour roadside assistance. The Savana Cargo’s 3-year basic warranty expires 2 years and 64000 miles sooner.

The NV’s corrosion warranty is unlimited miles longer than the Savana Cargo’s (unlimited vs. 100,000 miles).


The camshafts in the NV’s engine are driven by a hardened steel chain, with no maintenance needs. The Savana Cargo diesel’s camshafts are driven by a rubber belt that needs periodic replacement. If the Savana Cargo’s cam drive belt breaks the engine could be severely damaged when the pistons hit the opened valves.

For smoother operation, better efficiency and fewer moving parts, the engines in the NV have an overhead cam design, rather than the old pushrod design of some of the engines in the Savana Cargo.

To reliably power the ignition and other systems and to recharge the battery, the NV has a 130-amp alternator. The Savana Cargo’s standard 105-amp alternator isn’t as powerful.

To reliably start during all conditions and help handle large electrical loads, the NV has a 650-amp battery. The Savana Cargo only offers a standard 600-amp battery.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2018 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Nissan vehicles are better in initial quality than GMC vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Nissan 10th in initial quality, above the industry average. With 14 more problems per 100 vehicles, GMC is ranked 20th, below the industry average.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2018 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Nissan vehicles are more reliable than GMC vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Nissan 10th in reliability, above the industry average. With 23 more problems per 100 vehicles, GMC is ranked 18th.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2018 Auto Issue reports that Nissan vehicles are more reliable than GMC vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Nissan 11 places higher in reliability than GMC.


The NV’s optional 5.6 DOHC V8 produces 34 more horsepower (375 vs. 341) and 14 lbs.-ft. more torque (387 vs. 373) than the Savana Cargo’s optional 6.0 V8.

Brakes and Stopping

For better stopping power the NV’s brake rotors are larger than those on the Savana Cargo:



Savana Cargo

Front Rotors

14.2 inches

12.8 inches

Rear Rotors

14.4 inches

13 inches

Opt Rear Rotors


13.5 inches

In an emergency stopping situation, many drivers don’t press the brakes with enough force to stop the vehicle in the shortest distance. The NV has a standard brake assist system to detect emergency braking situations (by how hard and how quickly the brake pedal is pressed) and then automatically apply maximum braking immediately in order to help prevent a collision. The Savana Cargo doesn’t offer a brake assist feature.

Tires and Wheels

The NV 1500/2500’s tires provide better handling because they have a lower 70 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the Savana Cargo’s 75 series tires.

For better load carrying, ride, handling and brake cooling the NV has standard 17-inch wheels. Only 16-inch wheels are available on the Savana Cargo.

Suspension and Handling

The NV has standard front and rear stabilizer bars, which help keep the NV flat and controlled during cornering. The Savana Cargo’s suspension doesn’t offer a rear stabilizer bar.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the NV’s wheelbase is 11.1 inches longer than on the Savana Cargo 2500 135” WB (146.1 inches vs. 135 inches).

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the NV is .6 inches wider in the front and 1.2 inches wider in the rear than on the Savana Cargo.

For better maneuverability, the NV’s turning circle is 4 feet tighter than the Savana Cargo 2500 135” WB’s (45.2 feet vs. 49.2 feet). The NV’s turning circle is 9.3 feet tighter than the Savana Cargo 2500 155” WB’s (45.2 feet vs. 54.5 feet).


The NV is 3.5 inches shorter than the Savana Cargo 2500 155” WB, making the NV easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

Passenger Space

The front step up height for the NV Standard Roof is 2.3 inches lower than the Savana Cargo 2500 135” WB (18” vs. 20.3”). The NV Standard Roof’s rear step up height is 1.4 inches lower than the Savana Cargo 2500 135” WB’s (19.4” vs. 20.8”).

Cargo Capacity

The NV’s cargo area is larger than the Savana Cargo’s in almost every dimension:



Savana Cargo 2500 135” WB

Savana Cargo 2500 155” WB

Max Width




Min Width








A standard locking center console keeps your small valuables safer in the NV. The Savana Cargo doesn’t offer locking storage for small valuables.

Servicing Ease

The NV uses gas struts to support the hood for easier service access. The Savana Cargo uses a prop rod to support its heavy hood. It takes two hands to open the hood and set the prop rod, the prop rod gets in the way during maintenance and service, and the prop rod could be knocked out, causing the heavy hood to fall on the person maintaining or servicing the car.


The NV’s standard power windows have a locking feature to keep children from operating them. GMC does not offer a locking feature on the Savana Cargo’s power windows.

The NV’s driver’s power window opens or closes with one touch of the window control, making it more convenient at drive-up windows and toll booths. The Savana Cargo’s power windows’ switch has to be held the entire time to close it fully.

The NV’s standard sliding doors can be opened with less than three inches side clearance. The Savana Cargo’s standard rear double doors are clumsy and make loading in tight spots difficult.

© 1991-2018 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved.

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