For 2012, the Chevrolet Express Cargo 2500 Ext. features 20 extra inches of overall length and wheelbase, at 244 inches and 155 inches, respectively. This means, obviously, a considerable increase in cargo space to 313.9 cubic feet. Otherwise, this full-size, 2-passenger work van remains as unadorned as its siblings, sporting standard 16-inch steel wheels, vinyl front bucket seats, a trip computer and air conditioning. Standard phone pre-wiring and two unemployed speakers, meanwhile, represent its only concessions to entertainment and communications requirements.
Options, on the other hand, can go some distance toward bringing this Spartan hauler up to some sort of comfort and convenience standard. The Express Access Package, for instance, features side cargo bins with remote-opening doors, remote engine start and keyless entry, while adding the Enhanced Lighting Package means upgraded cabin and dash lighting. The Convenience Package throws in power windows, door locks and outside mirrors, with the Power Package adding heated and turn-signal-integrated outside mirrors. A heavy-duty rear locking differential, a 3.73 rear axle ratio and heavy-duty trailer-towing equipment result in a hefty uptick in utility, while available cloth upholstery, cruise control, tilt-wheel steering, a power-adjustable driver’s seat and a driver’s side rear access door contribute mightily to driver compatibility. Believe it or not, a couple of techno-gizmos, including Bluetooth-capable OnStar Directions and Connections service with emergency communications, as well as a single-CD player with AM/FM stereo, are also available to this three-quarter-ton workhorse.
Standard power for the rear-wheel-drive (RWD) 2012 Express Cargo 2500 Ext. is a 4.8-liter ethanol-capable (FFV) V8 engine that mates with the standard 6-speed automatic transmission for 280 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque. Payload capacity is some 3,000 pounds, and gas mileage is estimated at 11 mpg city/17 highway.
Also available for this full-size workhorse is a 324-hp 6.0-liter FFV V8, again with the 6-speed automatic transmission, that’ll pump out 380 lb-ft of torque to the estimated-mileage tune of 10/16. With the proper equipment this stretched-out Chevy van can tow more than 9,000 pounds and haul over 3,000 pounds of payload. A compressed natural gas (CNG) 6.0-liter V8, again with the 6-speed automatic, is also available to the Express Cargo 2500 Ext. Horsepower and torque figures mirror those of the gas-powered version.
Standard safety equipment aboard the 2012 Express Cargo 2500 Ext. includes 4-wheel antilock brakes (ABS), traction and stability control, front head airbags, daytime running lights, dusk-sensing headlights and a vehicle antitheft system.