What's New for 2010
For 2010, the Chevy Express 2500 and 3500 models get a standard six-speed automatic transmission that improves low-rpm torque and fuel economy. 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. Finally, remote engine start is now an option.
The current-generation Chevrolet Express turns 14 this year, and to celebrate its lengthy time on earth since its last complete redesign, Chevy has given its full-size passenger van a bit more power for its 5.3-liter V8 and a six-speed automatic for its 6.0-liter V8. Not exactly the gifts you'd expect for a teen, but then again, Jonas Brothers tickets or an Xbox wouldn't be realistic options for a giant people carrier.
If you need room for eight, 12 or 15 passengers, your choice in normal passenger vehicles is restricted to the Express, its GMC Savana twin, the Ford Econoline and the Dodge/Mercedes-Benz Sprinter. The Sprinter is the most modern among these, offering superior maneuverability, fuel economy, passenger space and build quality, but it is also more expensive. On the other end of the spectrum, the Econoline is going into its 18th year since its last total overhaul. It's basically the same size as the Express, but both of the Ford's engines offer significantly less power than the Chevy's base 5.3-liter V8. The optional 6.0-liter V8 is the most robust engine in the full-size passenger van segment.
Since the Chevy Express hasn't changed much over the years, one could buy a used model and reap substantial savings for what would be pretty much an identical vehicle. But for business or institutional owners in need of a new workhorse van, the 2010 Chevrolet Express is a very logical choice.
Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
The standard-wheelbase (135-inch) 2010 Chevrolet Express van comes in a base 1500 configuration as well as the heavier-duty 2500 and 3500. It seats eight to 12 passengers. The extended-wheelbase version (155-inch) is available only as the 3500 and includes a 15-passenger capacity. There are two trim levels: LS and LT. LS models are geared toward fleet service, so equipment is limited to features such as 16- or 17-inch steel wheels, passenger-side rear swing-out doors, air-conditioning, an AM/FM stereo, a theft-deterrent system and vinyl upholstery. The more livable LT models include auxiliary rear air-conditioning and heating, power windows and locks, cloth upholstery, cruise control, a tilt steering wheel and keyless entry. Most of these upgrades are optional on the LS. Other options include power driver and front passenger seats, a sliding passenger-side door, alloy wheels, remote engine start and an upgraded audio system with an in-dash six-CD changer.
Powertrains and Performance
The Chevy Express 1500 is powered by a 5.3-liter V8 with 310 hp and 334 pound-feet of torque. A four-speed automatic and rear-wheel drive are standard, and all-wheel drive is optional. The maximum towing capacity with this engine is 6,200 pounds. Fuel economy is 13 mpg city/17 mpg highway and 14 mpg combined.
The rear-drive-only 2500 and 3500 get a 6.0-liter V8 with 323 hp and 373 lb-ft of torque. A six-speed automatic is standard. The maximum towing capacity for a properly equipped 3500 model is 9,900 pounds.
All 2010 Chevrolet Express passenger vans have standard antilock disc brakes, stability control and side curtain airbags (for the first three rows of seating). In government frontal-impact crash tests, the Express scored a perfect five stars.
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. The standard configuration seats eight, with 12- and 15-passenger arrangements also available, depending on which model you choose. There is only one roof height available, so compared to the Dodge Sprinter, it is more difficult to walk around inside to reach the rearmost rows of seating.
A robust frame, rack-and-pinion steering (half-ton models only) and standard four-wheel antilock disc brakes give the 2010 Chevy Express respectable on-road 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 passengers and 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.