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2016 Chevrolet Express Overview

When folks talk about a basic full-size passenger van, chances are they’re thinking of the venerable Chevrolet Express. The 2016 Express does bring a few upgrades, but it remains primarily an 8- to 15-passenger workhorse (12 passengers standard) that comes in 2500 (3/4-ton) and 3500 (1 ton) configurations.

Both the 2500 and the 3500 trims return in either the basic LS trim level or the marginally more elaborate LT. The 3500 is offered in an extended-length version that adds 20 inches to the standard 135-inch wheelbase and the delivered 224-inches of overall length. Cargo area behind the fourth row of seating in is 92.1 cubic feet in regular-length trims; the 3500 extended-wheelbase trims offer 127.2 cubic feet behind the rear seats. And if you're willing to go through the hassle of removing the van's rear seats, there’s a massive amount of additional load space available--but in that case you’d be better off with the 2016 Chevy Express Cargo, which is covered in a separate preview.

Changes in the 2016 Express lineup include a newly available 220-amp alternator, dual isolated battery system, an upgraded (and optional) MyLink infotainment setup with GPS navigation, restyled heated power-adjustable outside mirrors, and OnStar-interfaced 4G LTE WiFi capability. Also expect a standard rear-view camera in the LT level.

The standard Express powertrain for 2016 is a 4.8-liter flex-fuel (FFV) V8 mated with a 6-speed automatic transmission, producing 285 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque. Mileage for the base powertrain remains an unimpressive 11 mpg city/17 highway/13 combined. The Express 2500 is also available with a 6.0-liter V8 powerplant that boasts 342 hp and 373 lb-ft of torque under the management of the same 6-speed automatic. Mileage for the V8 remains 11/16/13, although the same engine is offered in an eco-friendly compressed natural gas (CNG) version that’s good for 282 hp and 320 lb-ft of torque, with the 6-speed automatic.

For some serious towing power, consider the Express 3500's optional 260-hp 6.6-liter turbodiesel V8, mated with the 6-speed automatic for a hefty 525 lb-ft of torque. Though it’s too weighty to warrant EPA mileage figures, this potent variation can tow up to 10,000 pounds when equipped with an optional heavy-duty towing package.

On the outside, the 2016 Express LS offers 16-inch steel wheels in the regular-wheelbase trim level and 17-inch steel wheels in the 3500 extended-wheelbase edition. The LT adds standard chrome exterior trim pieces. Inside, look for the LS to offer vinyl upholstery, front air conditioning, basic OnStar telematics, an AM/FM radio with 2 speakers, and that new 4G LTE WiFi capability. The 2016 Express LT features keyless entry, cloth upholstery, Bluetooth-integrated OnStar features, front and rear air conditioning, full power accessories, cruise control, a tilt-only steering wheel, and a trip computer.

Options for the 2016 Express include 17-inch alloy wheels, rear parking sensors, a slew of seating configurations, a sliding side door, power-adjustable front seats, 6-speaker audio with satellite radio, remote engine start, and Bluetooth hands-free calling capability.

Standard safety equipment expected to return aboard the 2016 Express includes 4-wheel antilock brakes (ABS), traction and stability control, front side-mounted airbags, 4-row head-protection airbags, and new seat-mounted thorax protection airbags. Both trims also feature OnStar emergency alerts and communications, daytime running lights, and a post-collision safety system. No crash test data is available from either the government or the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) due to the van's massive size.

The 2016 Express lineup goes on sale in the autumn of 2015, again taking on the likes of Ford’s Transit and Ram’s ProMaster, both of which offer a tad more refinement and a choice of roof heights. Other returning favorites are Mercedes-Benz’s turbodiesel-powered Sprinter and Nissan’s cargo-friendlier NV.


Have Laptop. Will Travel. I'm retired and travelling the country in a 34' motor home. I'm really digging meeting people . . and sometimes their cars . . . getting a sense of what makes this nation tick. The plan is to visit all the national parks in the continental US, then cruise to Alaska to visit Denali, and to Hawaii to check out Haleakala and the Hawaii Volcano's national parks. Anyhow, when I'm not horsing the motor home around the roadways, I'm tooting around in the 2012 Ford Focus that we tow behind, or making runs to Home Depot and various malls with the 2004 F-150 that just won't die.

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