New Chevrolet Express Cargo Review

2012 Chevrolet Express Cargo Cargo Van Exterior

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Some things in the good ol' USA just don't change all that much, such as die-hard Red Sox fans, Wheel of Fortune and Donald Trump's comb-over. The same could also be said for the Chevrolet Express. Chevy's full-size passenger van has soldiered on for nearly four decades, with only one major redesign happening during that time.

A rolling tribute to the "If it ain't broke, don't fix it" school of thought, the Express offers powerful engines and space, space and...space. With seating for up to 15 adults, this van is built for sports teams, really big families and, of course, commercial use. Thanks to its variety of powertrain and seating options, the Express continues to hold appeal, particularly as a used option. However, rivals like the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter and Nissan NV offer numerous advantages due to their much more recent designs.

Current Chevrolet Express Passenger Van
The Chevrolet Express is available in 1500, 2500 and 3500 versions. The 3500 is also available with an extended wheelbase, which allows for 15-passenger capacity. Two trim levels known as LS and LT are offered. The LS is typically what fleet buyers purchase, so it's a bit plain, with only air-conditioning and a two-speaker stereo as the key standard features. The LT, with its rear A/C, full power accessories and full-length carpeting, is the better choice for family or recreational duty. Standard on all are stability control and side curtain airbags. The options list has grown to include Bluetooth, a navigation system and a USB input.

The 1500 series comes with a 5.3-liter V8 making 310 horsepower, backed by a four-speed automatic transmission and standard rear-wheel drive or available all-wheel drive. All other Express models feature a six-speed automatic and rear-wheel drive. The 2500 gets a standard 4.8-liter V8 with 280 hp or an optional 6.0-liter V8 generating 323 hp, which is standard on the 3500. Optional for the 3500 is a 6.6-liter turbodiesel V8 putting out 260 hp and 525 pound-feet of torque. Alternatively, both the 2500 and 3500 can be equipped with a 282-hp 6.0-liter V8 that runs on compressed natural gas.

As it has for years, the big Chevy should handle whatever folks throw at it. However, fresh faces like Ford's Transit and Nissan's NV provide superior driving dynamics and more modern styling, as does the pricier Mercedes-Benz Sprinter. At the right price, the Express remains a viable candidate. Just make sure you test-drive the competition, too.

Read the most recent 2014 Chevrolet Express Cargo review.

If you are looking for older years, visit our used Chevrolet Express Cargo page.

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