Overview & Reviews
Some things in the good ol' USA just don't change all that much, such as diehard Red Sox fans, Wheel of Fortune and Donald Trump's comb-over. The same could also be said for full-size passenger vans. The Chevrolet Express has soldiered on for nearly four decades with only one major redesign happening during that time.
A rolling testament to the "If it ain't broke, don't fix it" school of vehicle design, the Express offers a passenger van's timeless features of powerful engines and space, space and…space. With seating for up to 15 adults, these vans are ideal for sports teams, really big families and, of course, commercial use.
Over the years, the Chevrolet Express has enjoyed a healthy share of the full-size passenger van segment. Its main competition has been the even more aged Ford Econoline and the now retired Dodge Ram van. With its variety of powertrain and seating options, the Express is well-suited for those who need a big van, and it offers superior driving dynamics when compared to its Blue Oval rival.
For shoppers interested in a late-model van, there's also the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter (previously sold as the Dodge Sprinter) to consider. It offers several advantages over traditional American full-size vans, such as a frugal turbodiesel engine and a taller cabin that allows adults to fully stand up. However, the Chevy Express (along with its GMC Savana corporate twin) is still a solid choice thanks to its variety of passenger capacities, strong towing performance and relatively pleasant driving experience.
Current Chevrolet Express Passenger Van
The Chevrolet Express is available in 1500, 2500 and 3500 versions. The 3500 is also available with an extended wheelbase, which allows for 15-passenger capacity. Two trim levels known as LS and LT are offered. The LS is typically what fleet buyers purchase, so it's a bit plain, with only air-conditioning and a stereo as the key standard features. If this is going to be your family vehicle, the LT, with its rear A/C, full power accessories, cruise control and plusher seats is the better choice. Standard on all are stability control and side curtain airbags.
The 1500 series comes with a 5.3-liter V8 making 310 horsepower, backed by a four-speed automatic transmission and standard rear-wheel drive or available all-wheel drive. The rear-drive-only 2500 gets a standard 4.8-liter V8 with 280 hp or an optional 6.0-liter V8 generating 323 hp. Both engines are mated to a six-speed automatic. The 6.0-liter V8 is standard on rear-drive-only 3500 series models. Optional for the 3500 is a 6.6-liter turbodiesel V8 putting out 260 hp and 525 pound-feet of torque. Both 3500 series engines are also connected to a six-speed automatic.
As it has for years, the big Chevy should handle whatever folks throw at it. Furthermore, in a two-horse race against the Econoline, the Chevy Express boasts superior driving dynamics and somewhat more modern styling. Compared to a Mercedes-Benz Sprinter, however, the Express trails on both counts along with interior space. It's much cheaper, though.
Used Chevrolet Express Passenger Van Models
The Chevrolet Express last received a complete redesign back in 1996. To mark this rebirth, the name was changed from "Sportvan" to "Express." New body styling that featured high-mounted taillights, new power plants and an updated cabin with improved ergonomics gave the Chevy the edge compared to its Ford and Dodge competition.
The luxury-themed LT debuted for 2001, but the biggest change during this generation happened in 2003, when an enhanced lineup of engines debuted (a 200-hp V6, 295-hp 5.3-liter V8 and 300-horse 6.0-liter V8) and all-wheel drive was offered for the first time. The standard transmission was a four-speed automatic. During this time, there was also a 3/4-ton 2500 version offered, as well as base and LS trims.
For 2007, the V6 was dropped, while the V8s were upgraded to 301 hp and 323 hp, respectively. The following year the interior was redone, and stability control and side curtain airbags became standard. For 2010, the 5.3-liter was bumped to 310 hp and the 6.0-liter V8 got a six-speed automatic transmission. The 4.8-liter V8 and turbodiesel V8 did not arrive until 2011.
Prior to the '96 reincarnation, the Chevrolet Express van rode the same basic platform for nearly three decades and the sheet metal barely changed in a quarter century. Engine choices ranged from an inline-6 all the way up to 6.2-liter diesel and 7.4-liter gasoline V8s. The most popular engine was Chevy's tried-and-true 5.7-liter (350-cubic-inch for the older vans) V8. Up to 1995, the model designations consisted of G20 and G30 (a G10 was available prior to '94), while the top trim level went by the oh-so-suburban name of Beauville.
Visual updates through the '70s, '80s and early '90s consisted chiefly of grille and headlight changes. Periodic hardware updates, such as the adoption of a four-speed automatic and fuel injection in the mid-'80s and dual airbags in the mid-'90s kept the big Chevy van viable in this niche market segment.
User Reviews:Showing 1 through 10 of 81.00
Chevrolet Express Van ("Summer Van") - 2002 Chevrolet Express
By kieblaiy - May 12 - 10:02 pm
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.
Wow! - 2004 Chevrolet Express
By cooldude5 - February 27 - 9:51 am
I've had this van since 2006. It's been so good. I personally think it's more comfortable and prettier than the fords. Cabin is a little loud. Very easy maintenance.
Poorly engineered - 2007 Chevrolet Express
By ehibma - January 1 - 2:59 pm
I borrowed this vehicle for my growing family, and knew within 5 minutes it was horrible. The kids had to duck under seat belts to get to the 3rd row. No head rests for the back rows. You feel every bump in the road. What were the engineers thinking? They didn't think this through at all. Saving up for a Mercedes Benz Sprinter.
Very superior to all others tested - 2011 Chevrolet Express
By appletime - April 14 - 5:02 pm
The Express is far superior to Ford's version and superior to all others I tried before I purchased it. Quiet, Very Powerful, Comfortable, Stylish and workmanship receive top scores from my comparisons.
A very comfortable ride - 2009 Chevrolet Express
By Mark Lisle - May 10 - 11:02 am
Very comfortable to drive in both seating comfort and excellent handling. Very smooth engine and transmission with plenty of power. For a large van, economy is pretty good - up to 19 mpg on highway, and averaging over 16 mpg for all driving combined. Very efficient cruise control. This is a much more comfortable driving and handling vehicle than the Honda Pilot that it replaced,
High mileage problems ! - 1999 Chevrolet Express
By Fisherman Joe - April 24 - 1:04 pm
I purchased my 1500 Express 5 years ago, & when I picked it up I started a long drive home, & at 2:30 am on the freeway it quit. 3 days later I was away again after replacing a fuel pump at about 149,000 mi. The rest of my trip was uneventful. Other than the usual wear & tear (brakes, a 2nd in- tank fuel pump,muffler, door lock).I still have the van with 240,000 mi. For the past year or so, it has been running really rough. I changed fuel filter, spark plugs, distributor, rotor, & other parts to no avail. Finally took it to a dealer. $1950 later it has a new computer, injector, vacuum leak repaired, c/w all tuning & reprogramming. For the last 100 miles or so it runs like new !!
Good for everything - 1999 Chevrolet Express
By Great for everything - January 24 - 3:36 am
I have used this van for heavy hauling, passengers, and road trips. Is better than an SUV in almost every way. More space, more seating, more comfort, and just great for everything!
Conversion Express Van - 1997 Chevrolet Express
By Mckinley G - December 29 - 5:22 pm
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
Excellent work truck - 2000 Chevrolet Express
By Don P - December 21 - 2:57 pm
The Express cargo van is an excellent choice for the small contractor-repairman. Our truck runs 30,000 miles a year with nothing but routine maintenance, even after 10 years in service. The 5.7 V8 runs flawlessly, and effortlessly carries whatever load we have put on it.
'09 Chevy Express Passenger Van - 2009 Chevrolet Express
By adabatch92 - December 13 - 6:29 pm
I've been driving several different vans of this model ranging from '06 to '09. The engine has very good power, and the AWD system really helps it grip the road. However, the gas mileage could be better, the best I've ever gotten out of it is 17mpg (on 87 octane gas). I don't like the traction control system, which just shuts off all power for several seconds if you lose traction, this can be quite unnerving when pulling out on to a busy intersection. I do like some of the features, such as the on board tire pressure monitors and the oil life %. On the whole, a good van. Only problem I've had was a oil filter gasket leak, which as probably an installation fault by the garage.