2017 Chevrolet City Express Review
Edmunds expert review
The 2017 Chevrolet City Express belongs to the new class of compact commercial vehicles built with the small-business owner in mind. Much smaller than the typical full-size van, the City Express delivers carlike maneuverability but still has 122.7 cubic feet of space to satisfy your larger hauling needs.
Propelled by a 131-horsepower, 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine, the City Express isn't meant to replace full-size, V8-powered cargo vans like the Chevrolet Express. It also isn't designed to be a passenger hauler because it only comes in a two-seat configuration. So though the City Express will hold a surprising amount of cargo, there are limitations to its capabilities.
The segment for small utility vans such as the City Express has been expanding, so there are a few options to consider if this is the type of vehicle that fits your needs. The closest competitor to the City Express is the slightly less expensive Nissan NV200; the Express is actually a mechanical twin of the NV200, so the two vans are very similar. If you're looking for a vehicle with more refinement and flexibility, you might consider the 2017 Ford Transit Connect. It's available with two engine options and two wheelbase lengths, and it can be configured as a cargo van or a passenger van. There's also the 2017 Ram ProMaster City, the largest of the bunch with a slight power advantage, the most cargo capacity and highest payload.
Estimated city fuel economy is one area in which the 2017 City Express excels, though each vehicle in this segment has its strength. Any one of them could prove to be an ideal fit for your needs.
Standard safety equipment on the Chevrolet City Express includes antilock brakes (front disc/rear drum), traction and stability control, and side curtain airbags. Rear parking sensors and a rearview camera are optional.
During Edmunds testing, the Chevrolet City Express came to a stop from 60 mph in 143 feet, which is a poor performance for any class of vehicle.
What's new for 2017
Trim levels & features
The 2017 Chevrolet City Express is a small cargo van that comes in two basic trim levels: LS and LT.
Standard equipment on the LS trim includes 15-inch steel wheels, 40/60-split rear cargo doors, sliding rear side doors, power front windows, power door locks, keyless entry, cloth upholstery, vinyl flooring, a height-adjustable driver seat with manual lumbar adjustment, a fold-flat passenger seat, a tilt-only steering wheel, air-conditioning, and a two-speaker sound system with a CD player and an auxiliary audio jack. Cruise control, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, and rear parking sensors are available as stand-alone options for the LS.
The LT includes all of the above, plus heated power mirrors, an additional rear 12-volt power outlet and rear parking sensors.
Optional on both the LS and LT are two Glass packages and an Appearance package. The Glass packages add privacy glass to the rear and passenger-side windows, as well as a rearview mirror and a rear defroster. The Appearance package adds wheel covers, a chrome grille with black accents, and body-color bumpers, mirrors and door handles.
The Technology package is available only on the LT trim and adds a 5.8-inch touchscreen display (a Nissan system, not Chevrolet MyLink), a navigation system, satellite radio, a USB audio jack and a rearview camera.
The 2017 Chevrolet City Express comes standard with a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 131 horsepower and 139 pound-feet of torque. It is paired with a continuously variable transmission (CVT) that drives the front wheels. EPA-estimated fuel economy for 2017 wasn't available at publishing time, but last year's van posted 25 mpg in combined driving (24 city/26 highway), which is better than average for the small-van segment.
During Edmunds testing, the City Express LT went from zero to 60 mph in 10.2 seconds. That's not especially quick, but it's about average for a small van. The maximum payload for the City Express is 1,500 pounds.
The 2017 Chevrolet City Express' main advantage compared to a traditional full-size van is its agile nature and maneuverability. A light steering effort and quick turn-in make it easy to navigate parking lots and tight city streets. Driving a larger cargo van, by comparison, can feel like steering a cruise ship. Although the City Express' taller profile and higher center of gravity make it more susceptible to crosswinds, it isn't a cause for concern if you aren't frequently traveling windy, open highways.
The City Express' small four-cylinder engine offers the highest city-driving fuel efficiency, but it also lacks real power. So if the cargo you plan to haul is on the heavy side, you might find the City Express' muscle insufficient for the job.
By that same token, we found driving around with a completely empty cabin had an amplifying effect on the road noise. Hauling cargo is really the purpose of owning a vehicle like this, and having boxes or a similar load inside helps with sound-deadening.
As with most commercial-focused cargo vans, the 2017 Chevrolet City Express is designed with utility in mind. There are lots of tie-down points, and on the LT trim level there's an additional 12-volt power outlet in the back. Several standard integrated mounting points allow for the installation of racks and shelves.
The passenger-side seat has an underseat storage tray, and the seatback can be folded down to accommodate longer items or serve as a flat worktable, whether for using a laptop to track paperwork or catching a quick lunch. The steering wheel doesn't telescope, which might make it more difficult to find a comfortable driving position. But for those who want a little touch of modern tech, there's an available infotainment system sourced from Nissan, replete with navigation, a USB outlet, satellite radio, and a user-friendly 5.8-inch color touchscreen that doubles as a display for the rearview camera.
The City Express' wide-opening cargo doors, dual-rear sliding doors and low load floor make ingress/egress a cinch. Cargo capacity in the City Express tops out at 122.7 cubic feet, with a maximum payload of 1,500 pounds. For comparison, the Ford Transit Connect provides 128.6 cubic feet of space and a 1,620-pound payload or 103.9 cubic feet and 1,470 pounds for the long- and short-wheelbase cargo vans, respectively, while the Ram ProMaster City offers 131.7 cubic feet and a 1,883-pound capacity. The Nissan NV200 is identical to the Chevy in all measurements.
Edmunds expert review process
This review was written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.
We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.