What's New for 2002
For 2002, Express Cargo gets only minor upgrades like a more efficient starter, stronger steering gear housing and Low Emission Vehicle compliance for models equipped with either the 8100 V8 or 6.5-liter diesel and a GVWR of more than 8,600 lbs.
Chevy's brawny Express van comes equipped with a cavernous interior and a variety of powerful engines, like most full-size vans. But with the Express' modern design and body-on-frame construction, Chevrolet is stealing some of Ford's thunder in this narrow but lucrative market.
Because most full-size vans are bought for conversion into rolling motel rooms, engineers 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. Standard side cargo doors are a 60/40 panel arrangement, but a traditional slider is a no-cost option on 135-inch wheelbase vans. G3500s can tow up to 10,000 pounds when properly equipped.
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. An 8.1-liter V8 is the most powerful gasoline engine available providing a class-leading 340 horsepower and 455 pound-feet of torque. Other powerplants include the 4300 V6, 5000 and 5700 gas V8s, and a 6.5-liter turbodiesel V8. G1500 and G2500 models get GM's 4L60-E four-speed transmission, while heavier-duty G3500s use a stronger 4L80-E shifter. ABS brakes are standard on all models.
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 be seen easily 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.