Powerful engines and some unique features make the Express (and its twin, the GMC Savana) pretty much the only game in town if you're looking for a full-size van that doesn't look and drive like it was designed two decades ago.
by wow 360K on Dec 17, 2009 Vehicle: 2005 Chevrolet Express Cargo
All I can say is 360K with no troubles. Engine/ trans /brakes/ electrical all exceptionally reliable. I am religious about maintenance and clean fluids which I believe has paid off. Drives great and very comfortable with seat mounted arm rests and cruise. I would consider no other after the service this vehicle has given me. This vehicle is a 2500, 4.8, 480el, semi floating 8 bolt axle, extended wheel base. It is worked everyday hauling hardwood flooring.
by Joe Flash on Feb 2, 2009 Vehicle: 2005 Chevrolet Express Cargo
I own two express vans that is use for my business, A 99, (170k miles) and 2005, (143k miles) 3500 ext vans. I have owned Ford vans prior to the Chevys. Ford makes a good van but my Express vans have more headroom, (no need for a sprinter van) and are more comfortable and durable. I load a lot of weight on my vans and they handle it without a problem. I think they are quality built. I have not had any problems with minor things breaking. But, then again, I do not abuse my vehicles. I work them hard, but I also maintain them. I would just like to say that I am very satisfied with my Chevy Express vans.
by Happy Owner on Dec 28, 2008 Vehicle: 2005 Chevrolet Express Cargo
For a van it handled well and was very comfortable to drive. Overall excellent reliability. A few glitches in the side door hinges and with a couple of the interior lights. Fuel economy varied dramatically by driving habits. Ranged from 12 to 22 mpg city to highway. Drivetrain reliability was excellent, with minimal expenses for maintenance or repairs in about 50K miles.
by Mike on Nov 14, 2007 Vehicle: 2005 Chevrolet Express Cargo
I own a 2005, but the 08' is identical. I own a carpet cleaning business and the van has 1 ton+ of equipment mounted inside. It has had perfect reliability. The Ford is a very old design. The Sprinter was weird, expensive, and underpowered. It also wouldn't fit in my garage. I cheaped out & didn't get PW/PM/PL. Get the power accessories as walking around to unlock the doors is a pain! I think for the money this is by far the best cargo van. One gripe: GM seems to tune their gen-2 small-block V8's for power rather than low-rpm torque. I have the 4.8 w/3.73 axle. With all the weight I'm hauling it's barely enough. You may have to special order it, but get the 4.10 axle if you have the 4.8
by Tom R on Oct 10, 2007 Vehicle: 2005 Chevrolet Express Cargo
I bought this van primarily to transport my disabled mother around on weekends. (I had a wheelchair lift unit installed on the side door). It was an attractive choice for me because it's secondary purspose is that it can used as our family's pickup truck. At 10,000 miles I have experienced zero defects. I have found the van to be comfortable and powerful. I loan this thing out to friends and family a lot and get many compliments about how nice it drives. As far as appearance and interior quality, It's a cargo van. I don't expect a luxurious interior and head turning looks. I use this thing to move stuff.
by Jimmy Wait on Feb 24, 2007 Vehicle: 2005 Chevrolet Express Cargo
I use this van for hauling, and it does a great job of that because of the huge cargo area. It has decent excelleration for it's size and weight and a fairly comfortable ride. I have had no mechanical problems as of yet and for the most part I like driving it. The only real downside for me is the low grade interior parts. Everything is made of cheap plastic and the exterior metal feels alot thinner and more flexable than the old 1988 Chevy van I drove previously. All in all, I feel it's a good work van for the price.
The Chevrolet Express cargo van heads into 2006 with a new 6.6-liter diesel V8 engine option. Otherwise, the van is unchanged save for the AM/FM sound system now being optional instead of standard.
Introduced in 1965, Chevrolet's full-size cargo van has since undergone only one complete redesign. Constant improvements throughout the '70s, '80s and '90s kept it somewhat up to date, but not until a full redesign in 1995 did the Express become a legitimately modern vehicle. A new exterior look, new engines, extended-length body styles and improved ergonomics made the Express hard to overlook when compared with the aging Econoline from Ford. The latest version incorporates features like four-wheel antilock disc brakes and powerful V8 engines that make the Express safer and more capable than ever before.
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Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
The standard wheelbase (135-inch) Express comes in half-ton (1500), three-quarter-ton (2500) and one-ton (3500) configurations, while the extended-wheelbase version (155-inch) requires either three-quarter-ton or one-ton running gear. The one and only trim level comes standard with air conditioning and a theft-deterrent system. The option choices include typical items like a rear air conditioner and heater, power windows and door locks, cloth upholstery, cruise control, a tilt steering wheel, keyless entry and a CD stereo. Also included on the options list is a host of job-specific cargo configurations, as well as swing-out access doors.
Powertrains and Performance
The standard engine on two-wheel-drive 1500 models is a 4.3-liter V6 rated at 195 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque. A 5.3-liter V8, with 295 hp and 335 lb-ft of torque, is standard on AWD 1500 and optional on two-wheel-drive 1500-series vans. Heavy-duty 2500 models come standard with a 4.8-liter V8 rated at 285 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque. A 6.0-liter V8 rated at 300 hp and 360 lb-ft of torque is standard on the 3500 and optional on the 2500. Also available on 2500 and 3500 series vans for 2006 is a 6.6-liter turbodiesel V8 with 250 hp and 460 lb-ft of torque. All 1500s use a four-speed automatic transmission, while 2500 and 3500 series vans get a heavy-duty automatic. Trailer capacities range from 5,900 to a stout 10,000 pounds, depending on the model.
Four-wheel antilock disc brakes are standard on all models. Light-duty models (GVWR less than 8,600 pounds) feature a front-passenger sensing system that will deactivate the front airbag if it senses a small adult or child sitting up front. Heavy-duty models use a manual airbag deactivation switch for the front passenger.
Interior Design and Special Features
The interior is built for functionality and not much else. The controls are simple to use and well within reach of the driver. Available 60/40-split driver-side access doors make it easier for the whole crew to get in and out of the van.
A reinforced frame, larger stabilizer bars, rack and pinion steering (half-ton models only) and an upgraded brake system give the Express a leg up on the Ford Econoline when it comes to ride and handling. Although the Express is still far from nimble, its modern running gear makes day-to-day driving a much more enjoyable experience. The brakes require less effort than those of the Econoline, and the powerful engines really make a difference when it comes to merging and passing.
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