Some things in the good ol' USA just don't change all that much, such as diehard Red Sox fans, Wheel of Fortune and Donald Trump's comb-over. The same could also be said for full-size passenger vans. The Chevrolet Express has soldiered on for nearly four decades with only one major redesign happening during that time.
A rolling testament to the "If it ain't broke, don't fix it" school of vehicle design, the Express offers a passenger van's timeless features of powerful engines and space, space and?space. With seating for up to 15 adults, these vans are ideal for sports teams, really big families and, of course, commercial use.
Over the years, the Chevrolet Express has enjoyed a healthy share of the full-size passenger van segment. Its main competition has been the even more aged Ford Econoline and the now retired Dodge Ram van. With its variety of powertrain and seating options, the Express is well-suited for those who need a big van, and it offers superior driving dynamics when compared to its Blue Oval rival.
For shoppers interested in a late-model van, there's also the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter (previously sold as the Dodge Sprinter) to consider. It offers several advantages over traditional American full-size vans, such as a frugal turbodiesel engine and a taller cabin that allows adults to fully stand up. However, the Chevy Express (along with its GMC Savana corporate twin) is still a solid choice thanks to its variety of passenger capacities, strong towing performance and relatively pleasant driving experience.
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 stereo as the key standard features. If this is going to be your family vehicle, the LT, with its rear A/C, full power accessories, cruise control and plusher seats is the better choice. Standard on all are stability control and side curtain airbags.
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. The rear-drive-only 2500 gets a standard 4.8-liter V8 with 280 hp or an optional 6.0-liter V8 generating 323 hp. Both engines are mated to a six-speed automatic. The 6.0-liter V8 is standard on rear-drive-only 3500 series models. Optional for the 3500 is a 6.6-liter turbodiesel V8 putting out 260 hp and 525 pound-feet of torque. Both 3500 series engines are also connected to a six-speed automatic.
As it has for years, the big Chevy should handle whatever folks throw at it. Furthermore, in a two-horse race against the Econoline, the Chevy Express boasts superior driving dynamics and somewhat more modern styling. Compared to a Mercedes-Benz Sprinter, however, the Express trails on both counts along with interior space. It's much cheaper, though.
Read the most recent 2013 Chevrolet Express review.
If you are looking for older years, visit our used Chevrolet Express page.