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2017 Chevrolet Express Cargo Overview
Chevrolet’s full-size Express Cargo soldiers on as a viable fleet-oriented workhorse for 2017, but the van is showing its age and, according to most reviewers, lacks the refinement and features that today’s consumers demand. Hope is on the horizon, however, with the possibility that Chevy will partner with Nissan to begin building the 2- to 5-seat Express Cargo atop the Japanese automaker’s capable NV platform, possibly as early as 2018. Add to that some anticipated upscale styling tweaks, a new engine, and a debuting 10-speed automatic transmission, and this hefty hauler’s future begins to look a little brighter.
For the upcoming model year, there have been hints of minor upgrades to some of the Express Cargo’s optional MyLink infotainment features, along with more ergonomic front seats. Otherwise, this big van returns in 4 trims, the three-quarter-ton 2500, the 2500 Ext (Extended), the 1-ton 3500, and the 3500 Ext. Both Ext variants sport 23 inches of extra length over the standard-length iteration’s 221.4 (18 feet, 8 inches), and the Ext wheelbase is 20 inches longer than the standard-length Express Cargo’s 135-inch (11 feet, 3 inches) wheelbase.
All trims are offered only with a rear-wheel drivetrain (RWD), while cargo space returns at 239.7 cubic feet behind the front seats in the standard-length iterations and 284.4 cubic feet in the Ext trims.
The standard engine aboard the 2017 Express Cargo is a 285-hp 4.8-liter flex-fuel (FFV) V8 managed by a 6-speed automatic transmission to put out 295 lb-ft of torque. Mileage figures for the Express Cargo are not available, but the similarly sized Express passenger vans equipped with the same V8 are estimated at 11 mpg city/17 highway/13 combined. All Express Cargo trims can also be equipped with a 6.0-liter V8 that will throw down 329 hp and 373 lb-ft of torque, managed by the 6-speed automatic. Mileage estimates for current models with the larger V8 are 11/16/13.
A 6.6-liter 260-hp turbodiesel V8 powerplant is also optional. Look for the 6-speed automatic to manage a hefty 525 lb-ft of torque from the turbodiesel, good enough to tow 10,000 pounds of trailer with the optional heavy-duty towing package installed. There's also a 6.0-liter V8 capable of burning compressed natural gas (CNG), producing 282 hp and 320 lb-ft of torque. The 6-speed automatic comes standard on the CNG engine as well, but mileage figures for it are unavailable.
It should be noted that the 6-speed automatic returns equipped with a standard tow/haul mode with all of the above engine choices.
Since the 2017 Express Cargo is intended as a bare-bones workhorse, look for Spartan accommodations and minimal features. On the outside, you'll find 16-inch steel wheels and a swing-out passenger-side cargo door. Inside, look for vinyl upholstery, manual air conditioning, power windows and door locks, a driver information display, and a CD/MP3 player with 2 speakers and a seek-and-scan feature.
The 2017 Express Cargo can, however, be fitted with a wealth of optional features. These include a roof rack, chrome exterior trim, additional door glass, enhanced interior lighting, rear air conditioning, cruise control, a tilt-only steering wheel, cloth upholstery, and Chevy’s MyLink infotainment with 4G LTE WiFi Hotspot capability. Further options include remote engine start, a power-adjustable driver’s seat, heated power-adjustable outside mirrors, and a rear bench seat.
Standard safety features aboard the upcoming year’s Express Cargo should include 4-wheel antilock brakes (ABS), traction and stability control, front side-mounted airbags, front and, in 5-passenger variants, rear head curtain airbags, and daytime running lights. Because of its large size, the Express Cargo has not been crash tested by either the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration or the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.
The 2017 Express Cargo is scheduled to arrive on dealer lots in the fall of 2016, vying with Ford’s Transit, Ram’s ProMaster, and Mercedes-Benz’s Sprinter for a share of the full-size van market. Nissan’s NV Cargo is also a competitor, though most reviewers maintain the NV is becoming nearly as dated as the Express.
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