Full sized vans are one of the most versatile car segments around. Depending on your needs, they can transport people or cargo. Recognizing this, Chevrolet has its own take of the van. Known as the Chevrolet Express, this is Chevyâ€™s representative in this tight race. So does it have what it takes to be a contender in this segment?
From the looks of it, the Express is all business. Possessing a straightforward look, it may not be able to win some car beauty contest, but its purpose is well stated in its looks: itâ€™s ready to go rough and tumble against just about anything. There are 2 doors on the front, and a split opening door on the passenger side. However, a sliding door on the passenger side and/or a split door on the driverâ€™s side are optional equipment for those that want more access points. As for the interior, it is just about as utilitarian as the exterior.
Depending on the style that you want, you can haul up to 15 people or a maximum of 284.4 cubic feet of luggage space. If you intend that the Express to be a cargo van, the seats are limited to just 2 at the front. However, if seating is your priority, as a transporter type of van, the Express can seat 8 people in standard wheelbase and 15 in the extended wheelbase model. The seats are basic, but still comfortable enough. As for trim, this car is relatively sparse, with power steering and an AM/FM radio among the standard equipment in this car.
Other optional equipment such as cruise control, navigation, and satellite radio can increase the price tag even further. But the cargo space is just amazing. With all the seats folded (or unavailable) the total cargo space is pegged at 239.7 cubic feet for the standard wheelbase model and 284.4 cubic feet for the extended wheelbase.
There are 5 engine options available for the Express. There is the 4.3 liter V6 engine producing 195 horsepower, a 4.8 liter V8 engine producing 290 horsepower, a 5.3 liter V8 engine producing 310 horsepower, a 6.0 liter V8 engine producing 323 horsepower, and a 6.6 liter V8 diesel engine producing 260 horsepower and 525 lb/ft of torque.
The transmissions available are either a 4 or 6 speed automatic. Rear wheel drive comes standard, though a 4 wheel drive system (the only car in its class to have it) is optional equipment. This brings out performance numbers such as towing capacity ranging from 6200 to 10000 pounds, and a hauling capacity ranging from 1722 to 4187 pounds. Driving characteristics are acceptable. It may not be like a cruiser or a speedster, but it is stable to drive.
The Ford Econoline Wagon (MSRP $28,305; 13 city / 13 hwy) is perhaps the closest to be compared to the Express. Both use V8 engines, but the Express has more horsepower. They are in a tie when it comes to fuel efficiency.
Pros & Cons
Its utilitarian approach in both the exterior and interior can either be considered a positive or a negative, depending on the owner. What they would like though is that it offers a ton of space for hauling either people or luggage, which is the point of having these types of cars anyway. Power is ranging from adequate to abundant depending on the engine, a necessity for heavy duty work. On the downside, adding extra equipment or options can be pricey, and fuel economy is generally deemed horrible.
On final glance, the Chevrolet Express seems to be a marginal vehicle because of some of its faults. But given its strong utility, this is still a car to be reckoned with.
What others say:
â€œLike all big vans, these are clumsy to drive, with a wide turning radius, copious cornering lean, and modest grip. â€Consumer Guide
â€œThey offer a tall cargo bay with rear hinged doors that can be opened 180 degrees. Stability control and curtain air bags are standard. AWD is available.â€MSN Auto-ConsumerReports
â€œThe full-size 2011 Chevrolet Express van is one of the most versatile and functional passenger vehicles on the road.â€Edmunds
|Vehicle Type: Van RWD||Base Price: $28,835.00|
|Fuel Tank Capacity: 31 gallons (117 liters)||MPG: 13 city / 17 hwy|
|Length: 224.1 in. (569 cm)||Width: 79.2 in. (201 cm)|
|Height: 83.7 in. (212.5 cm)||Wheel Base: 135 in. (342 cm)|
|Curb Weight: 5533 lbs (2509 kg)||Ground Clearance: 8.0 in. (20 cm)ft|
|Luggage Capacity: 92.1 cu ft||Maximum Seating: 8 people|
|Engine: 5.3L 16 valve OHV V8||Displacement: 323 cu in|
|Horsepower: 310 HP||Max RPM: 5200 RPM|
|Torque: 334 lb-ft @ 4500 rpm||Transmission: 4-Speed Automatic OD|
|0-60 mph: NA||Max Towing Capacity: 6200 lbs (2812 kgs)|
|Option:Express 1500 LT AWD||MSRP: $32,390; MPG: 13 city / 17 hwy|
|Option:Express Cargo Van||MSRP: $25,090; MPG: 15 city / 20 hwy|
|Option:Express Cargo Diesel||MSRP: $38,435; MPG: NA city / NA hwy|
|Option:Express Diesel||MSRP: $44,965; MPG: NA city / NA hwy|