1997 Chevrolet Express Review

Pros & Cons

  • Fresh design, wide rear cargo doors, dual airbags, powerful optional engines
  • Intrusive engine cover, odd taillight design, still not as slick as Ford Club Wagon
List Price Estimate
$990 - $1,676

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Edmunds' Expert Review

Vehicle overview

Last year, for the first time in 25 years, Chevy dealers received a brand new, completely redesigned, full-size van to sell. Well, sort of. The supply of 1996 models was little more than a trickle as the factory suffered through teething problems. The Chevy Van (the cargo hauler) and the Express (the people hauler) were expected to arrive in dealer showrooms last spring. For 1997, the bugs have been worked out at the plant, and consumers might actually find one of these new vans on a dealer's lot. Equipped with dual airbags and four-wheel anti-lock brakes, Chevrolet is looking forward to stealing some of Ford's thunder in the full-size van market.

Rugged full-frame construction replaces the unibody setup of the previous-generation Chevy Van. Preferred by converters, full-frame construction allows for improved stability, ride and handling. 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 the new van easier. Up to 15 passengers can ride in the extended-length Express, which ought to make this new van a hit with shuttle services. Other seating options include five, eight and twelve passenger arrangements. G3500's 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. Engine choices are sourced from the Chevrolet family of Vortec gasoline motors, and, for the first time, a turbocharged diesel can be installed in Chevy's full-size van. Available are the Vortec 4300 V-6, the 5000, 5700, and 7400 V-8's, and a new 6.5-liter Turbodiesel V-8. Standard side cargo doors are a 60/40 panel arrangement, but a traditional slider is a no-cost option on 135-inch wheelbase vans.

Child safety locks are standard on the rear and side doors of the Express. Passenger assist handles help passengers into and out of the van. Front and rear air conditioning is optional. For 1997, G3500 get dual airbags. Also new are daytime running lights, smoother shifting automatic transmissions, and electronic variable orifice power steering that reduces effort at low speeds, making these vans easier to park.

Exterior styling is an interesting mix of corporate Chevrolet, Astro Van and Lumina Minivan. The high, pillar-mounted taillights are odd, but functional. They can easily be seen if the van is operated with the rear doors open. Low-mounted bumpers and moldings make the Express look taller than it is. An attractively sculpted body side gives the van's smooth, slab-sided flanks a dose of character. Three new colors arrive for 1997, in shades of brown, red, and silver.

Overall, Chevrolet's thoughtful rendition of the traditional full-size van appears to be right on target, giving Ford's Econoline/Club Wagon the first real competition it has faced in years.

1997 Highlights

Dual airbags and DRLs appear on the G3500 model. Variable steering reduces effort at low speeds for easier parking, and automatic transmissions shift more smoothly.

Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the Used 1997 Chevrolet Express.

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Most helpful consumer reviews

1997 Express
G1500 3dr Van
1997 Express 1500 Conversion w/55K miles in Mar 2002. 5L V8 equipped. Reliable for appx 30K miles, then all heck broke loose. By 105K miles: Trans replacement (NO tow pkg), rear axle seals, both u-joints, fuel pump module, gas gauge sender, starter, alternator, radiator repair, A/C repair, 2 fuel injectors. Upper intake manfifold gasket. Chronic Intake Manifold coolant leaks, Vacuum line leaks, tail-lite replacement. #8 cyl ate spark plugs (every 3K-5K miles after 80K miles) finally suffered ring or valve failure at 105K (0 compression at idle). RH side rear door hinges corroded and upper hinge broke making door unuseable. Prior to engine fail - spent over 8K on repairs in 10K miles.
Conversion Express Van
Mckinley G,12/29/2009
G1500 LS 3dr Van
My experience with the 1500 Chevy Express Van is very pleasant. You will be hard pressed to fine another van that rides like it. The 5.7 liter engine is adequate in power but I would like to get better gas mileage. It has plenty of room and the auto volume radio is nice. The gas mileage in the city of course is not good in traffic but what 350 cid engine is. I really love this truck and would consider getting another one but…


IIHS Rating
The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety uses extensive crash tests to determine car safety.
  • Side Impact Test
    Not Tested
  • Roof Strength Test
    Not Tested
  • Rear Crash Protection / Head Restraint
    Not Tested
  • IIHS Small Overlap Front Test
    Not Tested
  • Moderate Overlap Front Test

More about the 1997 Chevrolet Express

Used 1997 Chevrolet Express Overview

The Used 1997 Chevrolet Express is offered in the following submodels: Express Van. Available styles include G3500 LS 3dr Van, G2500 3dr Van, G1500 LS 3dr Van, G1500 3dr Van, G3500 LS 3dr Ext Van, G2500 LS 3dr Van, G3500 3dr Van, G2500 LS 3dr Ext Van, G2500 3dr Ext Van, and G3500 3dr Ext Van. Pre-owned Chevrolet Express models are available with a 5.7 L-liter gas engine or a 4.3 L-liter gas engine, with output up to 245 hp, depending on engine type. The Used 1997 Chevrolet Express comes with rear wheel drive. Available transmissions include: 4-speed automatic.

What's a good price on a Used 1997 Chevrolet Express?

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Which used 1997 Chevrolet Expresses are available in my area?

Shop Edmunds' car, SUV, and truck listings of over 6 million vehicles to find a cheap new, used, or certified pre-owned (CPO) 1997 Chevrolet Express for sale near. Simply research the type of car you're interested in and then select a used car from our massive database to find cheap prew-owned vehicles for sale near you. Once you have identified a used vehicle you're interested in, check the AutoCheck vehicle history reports, read dealer reviews, and find out what other owners paid for the Used 1997 Chevrolet Express.

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Find a used Chevrolet Express for sale - 3 great deals out of 13 listings starting at $8,567.

Find a used Chevrolet for sale - 6 great deals out of 8 listings starting at $15,858.

Find a used certified pre-owned Chevrolet Express for sale - 11 great deals out of 12 listings starting at $25,242.

Find a used certified pre-owned Chevrolet for sale - 11 great deals out of 12 listings starting at $13,147.

Should I lease or buy a 1997 Chevrolet Express?

Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand, can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a new car every three years or so.

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