Used 2016 Chevrolet Express Cargo Van Review
Edmunds expert review
The 2016 Chevrolet Express Cargo is a willing workhorse for buyers who require the functionality of a full-size van, but more modern competitors could be a better fit for your business.
What's new for 2016
The Chevrolet Express cargo van has been around for decades with relatively minimum changes and boasts a familiar set of attributes, including powerful gas and diesel V8 engines, rugged construction and heavy-duty hauling and towing capability. The past few years have seen massive changes to the commercial van segment, however, with all-new and fully modern rivals bringing some special advantages. As such, the 2016 Chevrolet Express cargo van is indeed a relic.
For example, competitors now offer high-roof body styles that facilitate easier loading and unloading, along with more overall cargo space. New aerodynamic shapes and engines also deliver superior fuel economy, which can help lower operating costs and bolster the bottom line. Plus, the introduction of several smaller cargo vans, like the Ford Transit Connect and Chevrolet's own City Express, represents another option many businesses may want to consider.
Among full-size alternatives, the 2016 Ford Transit cargo van is offered with three different gas and diesel engine choices, three different roof heights and two different wheelbases to enable buyers to select a configuration that most closely matches their intended use. The 2016 Ram ProMaster van also offers a high-roof version and two different gas and diesel engines. It's also built on a front-wheel-drive platform that exchanges cargo space and foul-weather traction. The full-size 2016 Nissan NV isn't quite as versatile and lacks a diesel engine option, but does offer a high-roof option and strong V8 power. Lastly, the 2016 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter stands out for its high quality and multiple available configurations.
The 2016 Chevrolet Express could still work out if all you need is an inexpensive and familiar work van, but overall we recommend going with one of the other full-size van choices.
Trim levels & features
The 2016 Chevrolet Express Cargo is a two-seat, full-size van that comes in two load ratings, the 2500 series and 3500 series. Each comes in two wheelbases: a standard wheelbase of 135 inches and an extended 155-inch wheelbase.
Standard equipment on the Express Cargo includes 16-inch steel wheels, 60/40-split swing-out right-side doors, air-conditioning, vinyl upholstery, power windows and locks, six D-ring cargo tie-downs, a 120-volt household-style power outlet, a trip computer and a simple two-speaker sound system with AM/FM radio and an auxiliary audio jack.
Major options include 17-inch steel wheels, heated power mirrors, a variety of rear door and window configurations, a towing package, rear parking sensors, keyless entry, cloth upholstery, a six-way power driver seat, front passenger seat delete, a three-person rear bench seat, the Convenience package (cruise control and a tilt-only steering wheel), a leather-wrapped steering wheel, remote ignition, rear heating and air-conditioning, Bluetooth phone connectivity, a 4G LTE WiFi hotspot, GM's OnStar emergency communications (see Safety section), a USB port added to the standard sound system, satellite radio, a rearview camera and the Chevrolet MyLink system that includes a 6.5-inch touchscreen, a CD player, Bluetooth audio, smartphone Internet radio apps, voice controls and a navigation system.
Performance & mpg
The 2016 Chevrolet Express Cargo van is offered with a choice of two gasoline V8 engines and a diesel V8.
First up is a 4.8-liter V8 that develops 285 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque. For heavier duty you can step up to a 6.0-liter gasoline V8 that produces 329 hp and 373 lb-ft of torque. A compressed natural gas (CNG) version of this engine puts out 282 hp and 320 lb-ft of torque. Both V8s send power to the rear wheels through a six-speed automatic transmission.
When there's serious heavy lifting to do, you can opt for the turbocharged 6.6-liter diesel V8 rated at 260 hp and 525 lb-ft of torque. It, too, is backed by the six-speed automatic transmission. Fuel economy estimates are not available for these heavy-duty vans, as the EPA doesn't rate vehicles with gross combined weight of more than 6,000 pounds.
When properly equipped, both the Express 2500 and Express 3500 vans have a maximum towing capacity of 10,000 pounds. Payload capacities range from almost 3,000 pounds for the 2500 version to 4,145 pounds for the standard-wheelbase 3500.
The 2016 Chevrolet Express Cargo van's list of standard safety features includes antilock brakes, stability control, front side airbags and front side curtain airbags. A rearview camera and rear parking sensors are options, as is OnStar emergency communications, which includes automatic crash notification, on-demand roadside assistance and stolen vehicle assistance.
On the road, the 2016 Chevrolet Express Cargo handles like the big truck-based vehicle it is. If you plan on using your van for urban deliveries or other situations where room to maneuver is at a premium, we'd suggest looking to the Transit or Sprinter, both of which feel noticeably more nimble.
If it's pure brawn that's most important to you, however, there's a case to be made for the Express. Both the 6.0-liter gasoline and 6.6-liter diesel engines move the big van out smartly, though they manage to consume quite a bit of fuel in the process. From a practical perspective, either engine has the muscle to move heavy loads or tow trailers without putting up a fuss.
Anyone who's ever set foot inside an old-school cargo van like the 2016 Chevrolet Express will immediately recognize its most glaring shortcoming: the standard roof height that requires you to move around in an uncomfortable crouch. Another throwback is the engine cowling that intrudes into the driver and front passenger footwell, decreasing space and comfort.
Those issues aside, the Chevy Express Cargo's interior is very basic, with familiar gauges and controls. Expected amenities like power mirrors, keyless entry and even cruise control are extra-cost options. Even the addition of new tech features including an available 4G LTE WiFi hotspot and Chevrolet's optional MyLink infotainment system can't do much to bring the interior into the modern era.
The Express' cargo hold does offer a maximum of 239.7 cubic feet of space in standard-wheelbase models, and 284.4 cubic feet in long-wheelbase versions. By comparison, a Ford Transit ranges from 246.7 cubic feet to a whopping 487.3. The Mercedes Sprinter gets even bigger. Side door choices include a standard hinged version and an optional sliding door, both on the curb side of the vehicle. Unlike with the Transit, a driver-side cargo door is not offered.
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.