What's New for 2000
The only notable changes are revisions to the base V6 that result in quieter operation, enhanced durability and reduced emissions.
When Chevy dealers received a brand-new, full-size van to sell in 1996, it marked the first time in 25 years that GM had completely redesigned its big vans. The Chevy Express Cargo comes standard with lots of space, dual airbags and four-wheel antilock brakes. And it can be equipped with a variety of powerful engines. With this modern design and body-on-frame construction, Chevrolet is stealing some of Ford's thunder in the full-size van market.
Because most full-size vans are bought for conversion into rolling work stations, engineers decided to put the Chevy Express on a full-frame platform for improved stability. Regular-length models carry 267 cubic feet of cargo, and extended-length vans can haul 317 cubic feet of stuff. Trick rear doors open 180 degrees to make loading and unloading easier. For convenience, the full-size spare is stored underneath the cargo floor. A 31-gallon fuel tank keeps this thirsty vehicle from frequent fill-ups, but topping off an empty tank will quickly empty your wallet. Engine choices are sourced from the Chevrolet family of Vortec gasoline motors, or if you prefer, a turbocharged diesel. The Vortec 4300 V6 has been updated for 2000 to provide quieter operation, reduced emissions and improved durability. Other power plants include the 5000, 5700 and 7400 V8s, and a 6.5-liter turbodiesel V8. Standard side cargo doors are a 60/40 panel arrangement, but a traditional slider is a no-cost option on 135-inch wheelbase vans.
Only basic amenities are provided as standard on cargo models. These include full instrumentation, a single power outlet, an AM/FM stereo and ABS brakes. The optional equipment list includes all the usual upgrades that most passenger vans come with like front and rear air conditioning, a CD stereo and power door locks and mirrors. Exterior styling is an interesting mix of corporate Chevrolet, Astro Van and old Lumina Minivan. We'll admit the high, rear pillar-mounted taillights are odd-looking, but at least they're functional. They can easily be seen even if the van is operated with the rear doors open. Low-mounted bumpers and moldings make the Chevy Express look much taller than it is. An attractively sculpted body side gives the van's smooth, slab-sided flanks a dose of character, as does the quad-lamp grille arrangement.
Overall, Chevrolet's latest rendition of the traditional full-size van appears to be right on target, giving Ford's Econoline its only real competition.