2018 Chevrolet Express

2018 Chevrolet Express Van Review

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

Edmunds expert review

A full-size passenger van is really the only choice if you're looking to transport a large number of people. The 2018 Chevrolet Express is one option, with versatile seating arrangements that can carry 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.

The age of the Express is the primary knock against it. Though it has undergone minor interior and exterior refreshes over the years, today's Express is essentially the same as the one that launched way back in 1996. All other competitors have been fully redesigned since then. Rivals also offer high-roof variants to allow for better passenger entry and exit. Although used-parts availability and an established track record might be potential draws, overall we can't recommend the Chevrolet Express Passenger given the many strengths of its competition and lack of competitive advantage.



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Last year's base 4.8-liter V8 has been replaced by a 4.3-liter V6 with similar horsepower and torque ratings.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.

We recommend

Recommending any one version of the 2018 Chevrolet Express Passenger is tricky since the wheelbase and load rating you should choose will largely depend on your needs. If you intend to regularly carry eight or more people or tow a trailer, consider the 3500 for its increased payload and towing capabilities.




Trim levels & features

The 2018 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 cargo area by about 20 inches. The additional room allows for another row of seats if you desire.

The LS is powered by a 4.3-liter V6 (276 horsepower, 298 pound-feet of torque) paired to an eight-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 communications, a rearview camera, 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 Bluetooth, a CD player, a USB port and a navigation system is available for any Express Passenger model. A rearview camera with the 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 large number of people, consider the 6.0-liter V8 (341 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 (181 hp, 369 lb-ft) paired to an eight-speed automatic.



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 passengers.

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

Most vehicles in this class max out at 12 seats, but the Express (along with its GMC Savana twin and the Ford Transit) offers seating for up to 15. A high roof is not on the options list, so passengers will have to duck as they enter and exit.

Utility

The cargo area behind the rear seats measures an impressive 92.1 cubic feet, leaving plenty of room for carry-on luggage. All seats behind the first row are removable should you need to store extra cargo, increasing the area to 252.8 cubes in the long-wheelbase model.

Technology

The Express isn't the most tech-forward van on the market, with just a two-speaker sound system, AM/FM radio and an auxiliary port as standard. Additions such as a USB port, CD player and navigation are available. The optional touchscreen's user interface is dated compared to those in other Chevys.

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.