Used 2002 Chevrolet Express Cargo Van Review

Choices when it comes to full-size vans are easy to make. Do you want a Dodge, a Ford or one of the Chevy/GMC twins? If the Express offers the package you need in a full-size van, then buy it.




what's new

For 2002, Express Cargo gets only minor upgrades like a more efficient starter, stronger steering gear housing and Low Emission Vehicle compliance for models equipped with either the 8100 V8 or 6.5-liter diesel and a GVWR of more than 8,600 lbs.

vehicle overview

Chevy's brawny Express van comes equipped with a cavernous interior and a variety of powerful engines, like most full-size vans. But with the Express' modern design and body-on-frame construction, Chevrolet is stealing some of Ford's thunder in this narrow but lucrative market.

Because most full-size vans are bought for conversion into rolling motel rooms, engineers 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. Standard side cargo doors are a 60/40 panel arrangement, but a traditional slider is a no-cost option on 135-inch wheelbase vans. G3500s can tow up to 10,000 pounds when properly equipped.

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. An 8.1-liter V8 is the most powerful gasoline engine available providing a class-leading 340 horsepower and 455 pound-feet of torque. Other powerplants include the 4300 V6, 5000 and 5700 gas V8s, and a 6.5-liter turbodiesel V8. G1500 and G2500 models get GM's 4L60-E four-speed transmission, while heavier-duty G3500s use a stronger 4L80-E shifter. ABS brakes are standard on all models.

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 be seen easily 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.