Used 1999 Chevrolet Express Cargo Van Review




what's new

For '99, all Express vans get automatic transmission enhancements to increase durability and improve sealing, plus depowered dual front airbags.

vehicle overview

When Chevy dealers received a brand-new, full-size van to sell in 1996, it marked the first time in 25 years that GM had completely redesigned its big vans. The Chevy Express Cargo comes standard with lots of space, dual airbags and four-wheel antilock brakes. And it can be equipped with a variety of powerful engines. With this modern design and body-on-frame construction, Chevrolet is stealing some of Ford's thunder in the full-size van market.

Because most full-size vans are bought for conversion into rolling work stations, engineers decided to put the Chevy Express on a full-frame platform for improved stability. Regular-length models carry 267 cubic feet of cargo, and extended-length vans can haul 317 cubic feet of stuff. Trick rear doors open 180 degrees to make loading and unloading easier. For convenience, the full-size spare is stored underneath the cargo floor. A 31-gallon fuel tank keeps this thirsty vehicle from frequent fill-ups, but topping off an empty tank will quickly empty your wallet. Engine choices are sourced from the Chevrolet family of Vortec gasoline motors, or if you prefer, a turbocharged diesel. The Vortec 4300 V6 has been updated for 2000 to provide quieter operation, reduced emissions and improved durability. Other power plants include the 5000, 5700 and 7400 V8s, and a 6.5-liter turbodiesel V8. Standard side cargo doors are a 60/40 panel arrangement, but a traditional slider is a no-cost option on 135-inch wheelbase vans.

Only basic amenities are provided as standard on cargo models. These include full instrumentation, a single power outlet, an AM/FM stereo and ABS brakes. The optional equipment list includes all the usual upgrades that most passenger vans come with like front and rear air conditioning, a CD stereo and power door locks and mirrors. Exterior styling is an interesting mix of corporate Chevrolet, Astro Van and old Lumina Minivan. We'll admit the high, rear pillar-mounted taillights are odd looking, but at least they're functional. They can easily be seen even if the van is operated with the rear doors open. Low-mounted bumpers and moldings make the Chevy Express look much taller than it is. An attractively sculpted body side gives the van's smooth, slab-sided flanks a dose of character, as does the quad-lamp grille arrangement.

Overall, Chevrolet's latest rendition of the traditional full-size van appears to be right on target, giving Ford's Econoline its only real competition.






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.