When it comes to schlepping stuff, nothing beats a big box on wheels. Unless it's a small, affordable box on wheels, like the Chevrolet City Express cargo van.
The compact City Express aims to excel in the areas that have hamstrung work vehicles for decades. Its small exterior dimensions coupled with a cavernous interior makes it possible to deliver in places or squeeze onto job sites where traditional full-size vans would have difficulty. The fact that this small Chevy also manages to return much better fuel economy numbers than those big old-school vans in the process is another important boost to the business bottom line that can't be overlooked.
Given its workhorse nature, the Chevrolet City Express has all the basics covered — power windows and door locks, keyless entry, air-conditioning and cloth upholstery for starters — but otherwise creature comforts are a tad scarce. Even so, when it comes to moving goods or services through a crowded urban environment, this compact alternative to full-size vans is hard to beat.
Current Chevrolet City Express
As you'd expect from a two-seat commercial vehicle, the Chevrolet City Express lacks the depth and breadth of trim levels and features you'd be looking for from a passenger car.
The list of standard equipment on the base LS model is a good case in point. It includes 15-inch steel wheels, 40/60-split rear cargo doors, sliding rear side doors, keyless entry, air-conditioning, cloth upholstery, vinyl flooring, a height-adjustable driver seat with manual lumbar adjustment, a fold-flat front passenger seat, a tilt-only steering wheel, power front windows, power door locks, and a two-speaker sound system with a CD player and an auxiliary audio input jack. Stand-alone options include such nice-to-have extras as cruise control, Bluetooth phone-audio connectivity and rear parking sensors. Step up to the LT trim level and you get all of the above, plus power mirrors with heating, an extra rear-mounted 12-volt power outlet and rear parking sensors.
Both the LS and LT are available with one of two Glass packages that add deep-tinted privacy glass to rear side and back windows, along with a rearview mirror and a rear defroster. An Appearance package bundles wheel covers, a chrome grille with black accents, and body-color bumpers, mirrors and door handles. An available Technology options package, offered only on LT models, adds a 5.8-inch touchscreen display (a Nissan-designed system, not Chevrolet MyLink), a navigation system, satellite radio, a USB audio jack and a rearview camera.
Powering the City Express is a 2.0-liter four-cylinder that produces 131 horsepower and 139 pound-feet of torque. This engine comes mated to a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) that drives the front wheels. The combination returns respectable EPA fuel economy estimates of 25 mpg combined (24 city/26 highway). Maximum payload is rated at 1,500 pounds.
In Edmunds testing, the City Express accelerated from zero to 60 mph in 10.2 seconds, a slow time but on par with most of its competitors. That lackluster performance is offset to a large degree by the van's nimble handling, which is by far its strongest selling point.
Used Chevrolet City Express Models
Introduced for the 2016 model year, the Chevrolet City Express returns unchanged save for some minor tweaks to option availability.
Read the most recent 2018 Chevrolet City Express review.
If you are looking for older years, visit our used Chevrolet City Express page.