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2020 Chevrolet Express Overview
Largely used as a people mover, the Chevrolet Express is a proven design that dates back more than 20 years. In other words, if you’re looking for the most modern shuttle van, this isn’t it. If value is a concern, read on. The Express was last redesigned more than 20 years ago, and that shows in its interior and exterior styling, but people-moving needs haven’t evolved much during that period, so it’s still worth a look. It will accommodate up to 15 passengers, depending on configuration.
Two wheelbases—135.2 and 155.1 inches—are each offered with three engine options. The base engine is a 4.3-liter V6 rated at 276 horsepower and 298 lb-ft of torque. A turbodiesel 2.8-liter 4-cylinder engine rated at 181 hp and 369 lb-ft of torque is also available. Both are paired with an 8-speed automatic transmission. A gasoline-powered 6.0-liter V8 rated at 341 hp and 373 lb-ft of torque is optional, as is a second 6.0-liter V8 that operates on either propane or compressed natural gas. Both V8s are mated to a 6-speed automatic transmission. Every Chevy Express passenger van has rear-wheel drive (RWD) and comes with a 3.42:1 axle ratio.
Depending on your hauling needs, the Express comes in two configurations (2500 and 3500) with different payload capacities. The 2500, which is available only in the 135-inch wheelbase, is capable of handling payloads up to 2,770 pounds, while the heavier-duty 3500 will handle loads up to 3,760 pounds (135-inch wheelbase only). Towing capacity for the Express passenger van ranges between 6,700 and 9,600 pounds depending on configuration.
Because it’s essentially a commercial vehicle, the Express is fitted with spartan amenities. Two trim levels are available, LS and LT. LS trims come standard with 12-passenger seating over 4 rows. Vinyl seats are standard, as is an AM/FM audio system with an MP3 player. Rubberized vinyl flooring is standard, as are air conditioning front and rear and a rear auxiliary heater. Stepping up to the (also 12-passenger) LT trims adds full cloth seating and carpet to the floor. Chrome bumpers are included at the LT level, as are a forward-collision alert and lane-departure warning. LS trims are available with multiple package options, including the Safety Package, Communications Package, and Enhanced Convenience Package, all of which upgrade its engine to the 6.0-liter V8 in addition to adding safety, communication, or convenience features. Both trims come standard with 4G LTE connectivity.
Although the Express will move people effectively, it’s worth considering any of the more modern options if you’re shopping in this segment. The Nissan NV, Ford Transit, and Mercedes-Benz Sprinter all offer similar people-moving abilities coupled to less-ancient architecture, though they are more expensive. The Express also lacks a high-roof option, which means adults will always need to crouch when moving around inside. Nonetheless, the Express is a proven design and one that offers value over newer and more costly options.
Josh Jacquot is an automotive journalist who has held positions at both enthusiast- and consumer-based automotive publications for more than 20 years. With a far-reaching knowledge of all things automotive, his career has put him behind the wheel of everything from snowplows to 600-horsepower rallycross cars. His driving resume includes wins at the national level in NASA Rallysport competition and the California Rally Series in addition to one regrettable night at the inaugural 25 Hours of Thunderhill. Though he likes most anything that can be driven, he has a particular affinity for box flares, Campagnolo wheels, and gratuitous wings and ducts. Someday he will own an Renault R5 Turbo.
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