At first glance, you’d be hard-pressed to tell the difference between a Chevrolet Express or GMC Savana van circa 1995 and today’s models. For 2008, it’s under the hood and inside the body that counts.

The 2008 Chevy Express and GMC Savana passenger and commercial cargo vans deliver a higher level of safety, a freshened interior, and the enhanced reliability of Gen IV engines, according to Steve Matsil, General Motors’ chief engineer for medium-duty commercial trucks and rear-drive vans.

"The new vans offer the most comprehensive standard safety package ever in a full-size van," Matsil says. "The focus of the new safety features was on crash avoidance and crash protection."

Crash Avoidance Technology 

  • StabiliTrak Electronic Stability Control System is standard on passenger van models. It is designed to monitor factors, such as steering angle, to automatically intervene when the system senses the vehicle is not adequately responding to driver input.
  • Four-wheel anti-lock brake system (ABS), also standard on passenger vans, helps the driver maintain steering control during hard braking.
  • A tire pressure monitoring system is standard on cargo and passenger models.
  • New flat and convex exterior mirrors offer a wider field of vision.
  • Daytime running lamps automatically light upon ignition for greater visibility.

Crash Protection

  • Three-point safety belts are standard at every seating position. Front seat belt pretensioners, standard on 1/2-tons, help reduce slack in the belt in the event of a crash.
  • Head curtain side airbags, standard on all passenger vans and available on cargo vans, provide a higher level of protection in the event of a side impact or a vehicle rollover. Dual front airbags are standard on all GM full-size vans.
  • Enhanced Technology Glass (ETG) is standard in the rearmost side windows of 12- and 15-passenger vans.


Head curtain side airbags are standard on passenger vans.  -
Head curtain side airbags are standard on passenger vans.

Expanded Driver Info Center

Housed within the new instrument cluster is an expanded driver information center that includes:

  • Tire pressure, compass, fuel range, average economy, engine hours, oil life, ice warning, and outside temperature indicators.
  • Instructions to replace the diesel fuel filter, clean the diesel exhaust filter, and service the air conditioning system.
  • Warnings that the transmission is hot, traction control has been disengaged, the fuel level is low, and a vehicle theft has been attempted.
  • Reminders that a turn signal has been left on, the gas cap has not been properly tightened and, the vehicle’s top speed is limited. 

Originally posted on Work Truck Online