2018 Chevrolet Express Cargo

2018 Chevrolet Express Cargo Van Review

The 2018 Chevrolet Express Cargo Van is dated and not as modern or versatile as its competitors.
author
by Kurt Niebuhr
Edmunds Editor

Edmunds expert review

Full-size vans are great vehicles for contractors and small-business owners thanks to their expansive cargo areas and substantial payload and towing capabilities. The 2018 Chevrolet Express is one of these versatile equipment haulers, with class-leading towing figures and a reasonable starting price. But its many drawbacks should lead you to consider one of its rivals instead.

The primary knock against the Express is its age. The Express launched in 1996 and it has received only sporadic refreshes and updates since then. The cabin is positively dated against the rest of the class, and the Express offers none of the latest safety and technology features of its competitors.

Although offered in standard and extended wheelbases, the Express has less cargo volume than other vans due to its single low roof height while others offer multiple roof configurations. And while towing and payload capabilities are commendable, its inefficient V8s will put a larger dent in the monthly fuel bill than competitors' V6 engines. Given the strength of the competition and lack of distinctive advantages, it's difficult to recommend the Chevrolet Express.



What's new for 2018

Last year's base 4.8-liter V8 has been replaced by a 4.3-liter V6 with similar horsepower and torque ratings. General Motors' OnStar system and a rearview camera are standard. Several new packages, including the Safety, Cargo and Communications packages, are now available.

We recommend

Since the 2018 Chevrolet Express is only available in WT trim, your cargo-hauling needs will determine which engine and wheelbase configuration is best. If it were up to us, we'd start with the long-wheelbase version to make up for the Express' height-compromised cargo area. We'd also go with the four-cylinder diesel engine for its superior fuel economy.




Trim levels & features

The 2018 Chevrolet Express Cargo is a full-size van with two seats and an expansive cargo area. (Its Express Passenger sibling fills this space with additional rows of seating.) Two load ratings are available: 2500 and 3500. Each can be ordered in a standard or extended-wheelbase configuration. No matter which starting configuration you choose, the Express Cargo comes only in a single, modestly equipped WT trim. Numerous stand-alone options are available.

By default, the rear-wheel-drive Express Cargo is powered by a 4.3-liter V6 (276 horsepower, 298 pound-feet of torque) paired to an eight-speed automatic transmission. Alternate powertrains are available if the standard V6 doesn't meet your requirements, including a 6.0-liter V8 (341 hp, 373 lb-ft) matched to a six-speed automatic and a 2.8-liter four-cylinder diesel engine (181 hp, 369 lb-ft) with an eight-speed auto.

The WT's standard features include 16-inch steel wheels, 60/40-split opening doors on the right side, a driver information display, air conditioning, power windows and locks, vinyl upholstery and floor covering, LED cargo lighting, six D-ring cargo tie-downs, a 120-volt outlet, a rearview camera, a 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot, GM's OnStar communications, and a two-speaker audio system with AM/FM radio and an auxiliary jack.

Major equipment packages include the Convenience package, which adds a tilt-adjustable steering wheel and cruise control, and the Chrome Appearance package, which brings chrome bumpers and grille. The Hotel Shuttle package adds the Chrome Appearance items plus the 6.0-liter V8, a sliding rear passenger door, heated power mirrors, a second row of seating, tinted glass and rear cargo windows. Meanwhile, the Safety package adds the contents of the Convenience package, the V8 engine, power-adjustable mirrors, rear parking sensors with backup alarm and blind-spot monitoring, while the Ambulance package uses the V8, a heavy-duty locking differential and a more powerful battery and alternator. A separate bundle adds a 6.5-inch touchscreen, navigation, Bluetooth, a CD player and a USB port.

Some of the above features can be added as stand-alone options. Other options include all-terrain tires, remote locking and unlocking, remote engine start, rear parking sensors, a backup alarm, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, cloth upholstery, power-adjustable front seats, satellite radio, a spray-in cargo liner, and rear air conditioning and heating.



Trim tested

Edmunds has not yet driven any version of this vehicle. The following is our first take on what's significant about it and what you can expect.

Driving

Even the standard-wheelbase Express is a large vehicle, and it drives like one. Tidy handling and accurate steering are not among the big Chevy's marching orders. The upgraded V8 engine is responsive, though, and easily gets the van up to highway speeds, even with a full load of cargo.

Comfort

The driver and front passenger are divided by an enormous center bulge covering some of the engine and transmission, the width of which causes the driver to feel squeezed even in this large vehicle. The basic controls are easy to find and simple to use, but comforts are few.

Interior

The interior looks exceptionally dated compared to the rest of the class. The old-school vibe continues with the engine covering that protrudes into the driver and passenger footwell. Getting into the cargo area is hampered by a low roof and the lack of a door behind the driver.

Utility

Cargo volume behind the front seats measures 239.7 cubic feet in the short-wheelbase (SWB) Express, increasing to 284.4 cubes in the long-wheelbase (LWB) model. Cargo capacity in the SWB model is in line with similar vans, but the LWB's volume is lacking. Rivals offer taller roofs.

Technology

The standard radio comes only with AM/FM radio reception and an auxiliary jack. You'll have to pay more for a CD player, satellite radio, a USB port, and an ancient touchscreen interface that is several generations removed from what's used in other Chevrolets.

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.