2018 Chevrolet City Express

2018 Chevrolet City Express Review

What the City Express lacks in power, it makes up for in ease of operation and economy.
6.7 / 10
Edmunds overall rating
author
by Calvin Kim
Edmunds Editor

Edmunds expert review

The 2018 Chevrolet City Express is a compact cargo van that's designed for small businesses or fleet operators that don't need the behemothlike girth of a full-size van and would rather prioritize maneuverability and cost effectiveness. But that doesn't mean the City Express can't get the job done. Its cargo area's total interior volume is 122.7 cubic feet, and it can handle up to 1,500 pounds of load capacity.

But there's more to work-time practicality than just interior volume. There are numerous cargo tie-down points, and the rear doors can open up to 180 degrees so you can back up to a loading dock or deck. The center console bin is sized for files, so operators can keep essential paperwork at hand. Should you need a work surface, the passenger seatback folds forward, revealing a plastic panel for you to set a laptop or write upon.

Moving all of this is a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 131 horsepower and 139 pound-feet of torque. This power output is on the low side for the small cargo van segment, but the City Express beats the competition where it counts: the bottom line. The City Express has a lower MSRP and better fuel economy.

Still, take a look at your requirements since the Ram ProMaster City offers more power and payload capacity and the Ford Transit Connect is available in more configurations. Also note that this is the last year for the City Express. After 2018, Chevy will be discontinuing it.



What's new for 2018

Bluetooth connectivity and a rear camera are now standard for both LS and LT models.

We recommend

We recommend the LT trim as it includes cruise control, an additional 12-volt outlet (for a total of two) and rear parking sensors.



Trim levels & features

The 2018 Chevrolet City Express is a small cargo van that's mechanically related to the Nissan NV200. It comes in two basic trim levels: LS and LT. It's powered by a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 131 horsepower and 139 pound-feet of torque, and is paired to a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) that drives the front wheels. The LS is fairly bare-bones, with the LT including a few more convenience options to make life in the City Express easier.

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's seat with manual lumbar adjustment, a fold-flat passenger seat, a tilt-only steering wheel, air conditioning, Bluetooth connectivity, a rearview camera, and a two-speaker sound system with a CD player and an auxiliary audio jack. Cruise control 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, cruise control, 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-colored 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, and a USB audio jack.



Trim tested

Each vehicle typically comes in multiple versions that are fundamentally similar. The ratings in this review are based on our full test of the Chevrolet City Express (2.0L inline-4 | CVT automatic | FWD).

Edmunds Scorecard

Overall6.7 / 10

Driving

7.0 / 10

Acceleration7.5 / 10
Braking5.0 / 10
Steering7.5 / 10
Handling6.0 / 10
Drivability7.5 / 10

Comfort

6.5 / 10

Seat comfort6.0 / 10
Ride comfort7.0 / 10
Noise & vibration6.0 / 10

Interior

7.0 / 10

Ease of use7.0 / 10
Getting in/getting out8.5 / 10
Roominess7.5 / 10
Visibility5.5 / 10
Quality6.0 / 10

Driving7.0

It's little surprise that the City Express is most suited for city driving. Quick turn-in, light steering and a tight turning radius remove stress from daily driving. At higher speeds the van is highly susceptible to crosswinds. Acceleration and braking are similar to that of many subcompact cars.

Acceleration7.5

The 131-hp engine gets by for most city driving. More power would be nice for carrying larger loads, and the CVT automatic's rev-happy nature makes this more clear. In our tests the City Express covered 0-60 mph in 10.2 seconds.

Braking5.0

The front-disc, rear-drum brake combo works fine in normal daily driving conditions. In a simulated panic-stop at our test track, the van needed 143 feet to stop from 60 mph, and that's without any extra weight. We consider that to be poor.

Steering7.5

Steering weight is lighter at lower speeds and increases appropriately as speeds pick up. Overall, the steering works fine, especially considering its purpose as a work vehicle.

Handling6.0

The City Express is calm and predictable in normal driving. It leans considerably through corners, amplified by a high center of gravity, but in most situations you won't notice how soft it is.

Drivability7.5

The high-profile, boxy shape of this van makes it susceptible to crosswinds. Initial steering turn-in is quick, helpful when making low-speed parking lot maneuvers. The turning radius is 36.7 feet, which is decent for a van.

Comfort6.5

The minimalist nature of the City Express negatively impacts comfort. The driver's seat offers few adjustments. The steering wheel doesn't telescope. Ride quality is acceptable as a work van but nothing more. The rear cargo area amplifies road noise when empty.

Seat comfort6.0

A lack of steering wheel adjustment means some will never find their driving position sweet spot. The sloping door panel design makes for a poor armrest. Only the driver gets a center armrest. The seats have reasonable support.

Ride comfort7.0

The ride quality is average for a work van. The ride will also be affected if you load the van to its maximum payload rating.

Noise & vibration6.0

This cargo version is a two-seater. With no back seats, there's a cavernous storage area that tends to be quite boomy when empty. Load it full of gear and the noise gets muffled considerably.

Interior7.0

The LT is a cosmetic step up from the interior of the base City Express. The radio and most controls are simple and easy to use. Most will find the front seat very accessible. A low load floor in the cargo area is a plus. Visibility is a serious minus, even with a rearview camera.

Ease of use7.0

Instrument panel gauges are basic. Air conditioning and fan controls are dial-operated, radio functions are a mix of small buttons and knobs. The fuel filler neck is strangely low. Six-footers will need to bend down awkwardly to refuel.

Getting in/getting out8.5

Front doors open to nearly 90 degrees for great access to the seats. Sliding cargo doors on either side open fully for load area access. Rear cargo doors also open about 180 degrees.

Roominess7.5

The rear cargo loading area is 4.7 feet wide by 3.9 feet tall by 6.7 feet deep, measured by way of the rear cargo doors. Sliding doors grant access from both sides of the van. There are cargo mounting points inside the storage area.

Visibility5.5

Large front windows with additional lower peek-a-boo windows increase forward/side views, as do the large side mirrors with blind-spot bubbles. Visibility is otherwise limited by windowless side panel doors.

Quality6.0

A squeaky work van is forgivable to a point, especially when it is empty. Some exterior trim pieces flex when door handles are pulled.

Utility7.0

Center console storage consists of two medium-depth trays and a large, laptop-size bin. None are covered. Door pockets are too narrow for cupholders. Behind the front seats is 122.7 cubic feet of cargo space. Max payload is 1,500 pounds.

Technology

The City Express' standard head unit features AM/FM reception, a CD slot, Bluetooth connectivity, and aux-in, playing through two door-mounted speakers.

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.