A full-size passenger van is really the only choice if you're looking to transport a large number of people. The 2017 Chevrolet Express is one option, with versatile seating arrangements that can host eight, 12 or 15 passengers. But unless you like the styling or are comforted by the wide availability of spare parts, we suggest you look elsewhere.
Advanced age is the primary knock against the Express. Though it has undergone minor interior and exterior refreshes over the years, today's Express is the same as the one that launched in 1996. All other competitors have been fully redesigned since then. Rivals also offer high-roof variants to aid passenger ingress and egress. Although used-parts availability and an established track record might be potential draws, overall we don't recommend the Chevrolet Express Passenger given the strength of the competition and lack of competitive advantage.
trim levels & features
The 2017 Chevrolet Express Passenger is a full-size van with abundant seating configurations and room for up to 12 people. (Its Express Cargo sibling retains the front two seats and uses the rest of the interior as an expansive cargo area.) It's available in two load ratings, 2500 and 3500, and in two trims, base LS and LT. Additionally, the 3500 can be ordered with a long wheelbase, which increases the length of the floor by 20 inches. The additional room allows for another row of seats, if you desire.
The LS is powered by a 4.8-liter V8 (285 horsepower, 295 pound-feet of torque) mated to a six-speed automatic transmission. Standard features include 16-inch steel wheels, a 60/40-split opening passenger door, 12-passenger seating (2-3-3-4 with a 50/50-split back row), air-conditioning, power windows and locks, a driver information display, vinyl upholstery and floor covering, GM's OnStar emergency communications, and a two-speaker audio system with an AM/FM stereo and an auxiliary port.
A tilt-only steering wheel and cruise control are standard on 3500 models and optional for the 2500. Opting for the extended-wheelbase 3500 adds rear air-conditioning, which is available as a separate option for the other LS models.
Stepping up to the LT adds front and rear chrome bumpers, remote locking and unlocking, cloth upholstery, carpeted flooring and rear air-conditioning. This trim also adds the tilt-only steering wheel and cruise control to the 2500.
Many of the features added by the LT are available on LS models as well. A bundle containing a 6.5-inch touchscreen with integrated rearview camera display, Bluetooth, a CD player, a USB port and a navigation system is available for any Express Passenger model. A rearview camera with display located in the rearview mirror can be ordered on any vehicle without the touchscreen. Other stand-alone options include power-adjustable heated mirrors, rear parking sensors, a heavy-duty locking rear differential, remote vehicle start, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, power-adjustable front seats, satellite radio and a 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot.
Some features and packages are available only when the appropriate body type is selected. The Paratransit package for 3500 extended-wheelbase models removes the rear seat and reverts to vinyl floor coverings. This body style can also be ordered in a 15-passenger (2-3-3-3-4 seating) configuration. Standard-wheelbase 2500 and 3500 models can be ordered in an eight-passenger (2-3-3) configuration.
Two additional powertrains are available on any body style. For hauling a high number of people, consider the 6.0-liter V8 (342 hp, 373 lb-ft) matched to a six-speed automatic transmission. If fuel efficiency is a priority, check out the 2.8-liter four-cylinder diesel engine paired to an eight-speed automatic.
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.