After attending Michigan State as the team’s quarterback, Kirk Cousins was drafted in the fourth round in 2012 to become the backup quarterback for the Washington Redskins. After playing part-time for three seasons, Cousins has spent the last two years as the team’s starter with a record of 17-14-1. In terms of yardage, Cousins has been among the best in the league over that span, and his play has earned him a combined salary of nearly $44 million.
When an NFL player gets their first big payday, they typically go straight to a car dealership to drop big money on a new ride. Others even have a local dealership give them a car in exchange for appearing in advertisements. Cousins decided to keep the same low-key ride after making it big. Cousins earned just over $2.5 million in his first four seasons, which is when he made his car purchase.
Celebrities tend to spend at least six figures on their cars, but Cousins only spent $5,000, which is usually what the average teenager spends on their first ride. Cousins had been leasing a Chevy Tahoe for two years, but then bought a GMC Savana conversion van from his grandmother for just $5,000 in 2014. While Cousins has a couple of other modest cars, it’s the 2000 Savana that he likes the most, and usually gets spotted driving.
Cousins said that when he was younger, they would take the van on road trips to the University of Iowa to watch football games. After well over 100,000 miles, Cousins decided to have it revamped after buying it from his grandmother, but still keeping the leather seats inside. Still, the Savana isn’t quite fuel efficient with an estimated 15 miles per gallon in the city and 18 miles per gallon on the highway.
You’ve probably seen your fair share of GMC Savana vehicles on the road, as it’s often used by professionals such as plumbers and cable installers. The identical form of the Savana is the Chevy Express, and both of them are usually fleet vehicles that can also be great for personal use if you need a lot of room for roadtrips. All in all, the Savana can bring along up to 15 passengers, and Cousins has said that it’s incredibly useful when family is in town for his games.
The Redskins organization isn’t really a stranger to their players opting for cheaper vehicles. Cousins’s former teammate, running back Alfred Morris, drove a 1991 Mazda while he was still on the team. A local auto dealer decided to soup up the vehicle for him, restoring all of the necessary parts and adding a lot of features. The same dealer has also used Cousins in their advertisements, and have featured his 2000 GMC Savana in the process.
Cousins even signed an endorsement deal with a local mechanic that takes care of his beloved van because he stopped in there so much. Because of the company keeping his old van on the road, he has his wife and family drive to the stadium to drop him off for the games, and the they tailgate in the parking lot leading up to kickoff. He never wants to give it up, either, saying that it sits high enough to make it very comfortable, which is something that can be hard for a pro athlete to find.
So just how does the van handle on the road, and what makes Cousins like it so much? The 4.3-liter engine only has around 200 horsepower, but the four-speed automatic transmission can haul up to two tons, making it perfect for making the 90 minute trip to Redskins games. The 5,141 pound curb weight makes the Savana a bit of a tank, especially with a 31 gallon fuel tank capacity. Don’t expect Cousins to drive to his games as quickly as he drives his offense down the field, though. With an estimated top speed of 80 miles per hour, the Savana can hardly go over the speed limits in certain parts of Virginia and Maryland.
Heading into the 2017 NFL season, there were some people that were concerned when they didn’t see Cousins park his Savana at training camp. Some thought that the fact he signed a one-year $23,943,600 deal in the offseason made him eventually buy a nicer vehicle to replace the Savana. Cousins said that the van was certainly not out of commission, and that fans would be able to spot it at FedEx Field during the season.
“The van continues to live,” Cousins said. “This year I did take the van and I think it’s going to last for a long time.” Cousins also added that he has no plans on ever selling the van, and instead will drive it until it no longer runs. Now, he’ll have the salary to replace it many times over when it eventually happens. For those that are curious, Cousins’s 2017 salary alone would allow him to buy 1,333 2000 GMC Savanas that were brand new without any mileage!
Celebrities usually buy vehicles that make them standout, but Cousins said it’s been able to help him blend in, which can be hard when the Washington D.C. area has many rabid Redskins fans. Cousins said he wondered “if the van sticks out and gives me away when I drive around. I haven’t noticed that yet, but it’s been good.” He also added that the tires are up to date and ready to roll for the season. With a large contract likely to come his way after the 2017 season, there’s no sign that Cousins is ready to ditch his trusty ride for something more flashy in the future.