I'd previously owned 2 Ford 15 passenger vans and this was my first Chevy Express Van. I'm NEVER going back to the Ford vans! This Express Van drives with much greater stability and handling honesty. It has been trouble free for 62,000 miles and is still going strong. I pull the seats and use it to haul plywood or put in a fouton for traveling. I even carry a motorcycle inside on occassion. Driving at 55 I get 17-18 mpg (5.7 L engine) on long trips. Highly Recommended! I just bought a 2005 for my business uses too.
Chevrolet is known for it's trucks and compact cars. However, their 'dark horse' known as the Express Van rarely attracts any positive attention. As an individual working in the demanding trade of plumbing, never have I ever experienced such a royal piece of sh*t that refuses to die. My efforts to overload it's weight rating and to continuously postpone oil changes, have produced no results as it defiantly clings to life. The water pump, heating element, engine light, and gas consumption are constant issues. This van is much like the Stephen King Novel's famous car Christine, however it does not heal itself, it maintains a poor condition to syphon your hard earned money. Avoid at all costs.
Have a Family of 8 and needed a replacement for our Suburban that was totaled by a drunk. Equity in Suburban to little to replace with same. Opted for a basic Conversion Van. Quad Seating, rear bench folds into a bed. 5L V-8. Result is very nice ride, and better value for the money. Conversion adds insulation which greatly reduces interior noise from road. 7100 lb GVWR is plenty, and with seats removed can haul massive cargo. 20% better mpg than Suburban - 17 vs 14, more living space. Large picture windows allow toddler in car seat excelent view of world outside. 6ft7 son can sit anywhere and have plenty of room. Great for long distance travel.
I would love to drive a sporty little Thunderbird, but reality is that I have 4 teenage athletic boys. We bought the van to cart the boys (and their teams) to various sporting events, plus we like to travel. With 12 passenger seating, 6 of us can travel from MN to TX in comfort and we can haul the entire soccer/basketball/baseball team to games, no problem, yet it still fits in my garage fine. With my hitch, I can haul anything. My beefs are: braking system - pads need to be replaced often, and with the most expensive pads to keep them from squeaking badly; the gas mileage stinks! Plus, I usually do end up providing transportation for the entire team/youth group, since I can.