Full 2010 Chevrolet Express Cargo Review
What's New for 2010
For 2010, the Chevy Express Cargo Van 2500 and 3500 are paired to a standard six-speed automatic that improves fuel economy and low-end torque There are other powertrain changes as well, including a slight power bump for the 5.3-liter V8 (now 310 horsepower) and flex-fuel E85 compatibility. Remote engine start is added to the options list.
The current iteration of the Chevrolet Express cargo van turns 14 this year, and to celebrate its lengthy time on earth since its last complete redesign, Chevy has given its full-size work van a bit more power for its 5.3-liter V8 and a six-speed automatic for heavy-duty models. These aren't exactly the gifts you'd expect for a teen, but then, "American Idol" tickets and a Sony PlayStation wouldn't be realistic additions to the Express' lengthy options list, either.
If you need a rugged van for your business, your choices are restricted to the Express, its GMC Savana twin, the Ford Econoline and the Dodge/Mercedes-Benz Sprinter. The latter is the most modern, offering superior maneuverability, fuel economy, passenger space and quality. But it is also more expensive and has a lower-output diesel V6 as its sole engine choice. On the other end of the spectrum, the Econoline is hitting the ripe old age of 18. It's basically the same size as the Express, but both of the Ford's 1500 engines offer significantly less power than the Chevy's base 5.3-liter V8. The Express' 6.6-liter turbodiesel V8 is also the most robust powertrain in the full-size cargo van segment with 460 pound-feet of torque.
Should you not need all the space or heavy hauling capacity provided by full-size vans like the Express, the new Ford Transit Connect is also worth a look. But thanks to its strong engine lineup and multiple configurations, we think most contractors or business owners will be quite pleased if they choose a 2010 Express for their full-size cargo van needs.
Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
The 2010 Chevy Express Cargo full-size van's standard wheelbase (135-inch) model comes in a base 1500 version as well as heavy-duty 2500 and 3500 variants. The extended-wheelbase version (155-inch) is available on the 2500 and 3500 series vans only.
Standard equipment on the Express Cargo includes 16-inch steel wheels, swing-out right-side doors, air-conditioning, front bucket seats, vinyl upholstery and a trip computer. Options include alloy wheels, power windows and locks, towing features, heated power mirrors, swing-out driver-side passenger doors, a sliding right-side door, a tilt steering wheel, cruise control, cloth upholstery, a six-way power driver seat, driver-only front seat, a variety of rear door and window configurations, keyless entry, remote engine start, a simple two-speaker AM/FM stereo and an upgraded stereo with a CD player.
Powertrains and Performance
The rear-drive Chevrolet Express 1500 cargo van comes with a 4.3-liter V6 that produces 195 hp and 260 lb-ft of torque. Standard on all-wheel-drive 1500s and optional on rear-drive 1500s is a 5.3-liter V8 good for 310 hp and 334 lb-ft of torque. These engines are coupled to a four-speed automatic.
The rear-drive-only 2500 and 3500 come standard with a 4.8-liter V8 that produces 280 hp and 296 lb-ft of torque. Optional engines include a gasoline-fueled 6.0-liter V8 capable of 323 hp and 373 lb-ft of torque and a 6.6-liter turbodiesel V8 good for 250 hp and 460 lb-ft of torque. These engines are coupled to a six-speed automatic. Maximum payload capacity for a 3500-series van is 4,150 pounds.
All 2010 Chevrolet Express Cargo vans have antilock brakes as standard equipment. Side airbags and side curtain airbags are optional. In frontal-impact crash tests conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the Chevy Express scored a perfect five stars for driver and front-passenger protection.
Interior Design and Special Features
The Chevy's interior is built for functionality, not fashion. All controls are simple to use and well within reach of the driver, but they're far from stylish. The front footwells remain as cramped as ever. Unlike the Sprinter, the Express Cargo lacks a tall-roof option that allows a normal-size person to walk upright in the cargo area. Express Cargo buyers can opt for 60/40-split driver-side doors or a passenger-side sliding door for easy access to the rear compartment (60/40-split passenger-side doors are standard). Standard-length vans have a maximum cargo capacity of 204 cubic feet, while extended-length vans check in with a voluminous 237 cubic feet of space.
A robust frame, rack-and-pinion steering (half-ton models only) and standard four-wheel antilock disc brakes give the 2010 Chevy Express Cargo respectable ride, handling and braking characteristics. With a pair of strong V8 engines to choose from, merging and passing maneuvers are easily accomplished, even when you're hauling a heavy load of cargo. As full-size vans go, the Express is pleasant to pilot -- just don't expect it to match the more nimble Sprinter for maneuverability.