Chevrolet's full-size Express is available as a passenger or cargo van with rear-wheel drive in 1500, 2500 and 3500 duty levels. Engines range from a 4.3-liter V-6 to a 6.6-liter diesel V-8. For 2008, side curtain airbags become standard equipment on all models, and the interior receives updates. The Express competes with other full-size vans like the Ford E-Series and Dodge Sprinter.
Seating layouts in the passenger van provide space for eight, 12 or 15 occupants. The latter two configurations also include an electronic stability system with rollover mitigation, a feature General Motors added in recent years in response to criticism about rollover risk.
The GMC Savana is closely related to the Express.
Express vans are built on a separate box frame. A 2003 redesign included revamped taillamps and upscale reflector-type headlights. Light-duty vans have rack-and-pinion steering.
Front and rear suspensions are modified from those used on GM's full-size pickup trucks. Rear suspensions use a solid axle with semielliptic variable-rate multileaf springs and gas shocks. The wheels measure 16 inches in diameter, and the fuel tanks are made of composite material.
Express passenger vans come on a regular-length (135-inch) wheelbase, but the heavier-duty 2500 and 3500 Series are also available in extended-wheelbase (155-inch) form. The two versions measure 224 and 244 inches long overall, respectively. Each van is 79.4 inches wide and at least 81.6 inches tall.
The gross vehicle weight rating is the sum of the weight of the vehicle plus the weight of the passengers and cargo it can carry. Chevrolet's 1500 Series vans have GVWRs of 6,200 or 7,200 pounds (cargo and passenger models, respectively), whereas the GVWRs for 2500 Series vans are 7,300 or 8,600 pounds. Full-bodied vans in the 3500 Series are rated at 9,600 pounds GVWR.
For 2008, the Express van has a redesigned steering wheel, instrument cluster, climate controls and radio, plus an assortment of new switches. With the new instrument cluster comes a revamped driver information center that displays instructions for vehicle maintenance and warnings for when the vehicle's transmission is overheating or a theft attempt has taken place.
Full-size Express passenger vans can carry eight, 12 or 15 occupants, while Express cargo vans seat only two people up front. Regular-length passenger models and cargo vans can be equipped with a 60/40-split left-side entry/load door. Side access doors with remote releases are limited to work-oriented Express Access models.
Under the Hood
Five engines are available. Light-duty G-Series vans have a 4.3-liter V-6 that makes 195 horsepower and 260 pounds-feet of torque. A 4.8-liter V-8 bumps power to either 258 hp and 294 pounds-feet of torque or 279 hp and 294 pounds-feet of torque, while the 5.3-liter V-8 that's standard in passenger vans makes 301 hp and 325 pounds-feet of torque. Higher up the ladder, a 6.0-liter V-8 generates 323 hp and 373 pounds-feet of torque. Some cargo vans can be equipped with a 250-hp, 6.6-liter diesel V-8 that churns out a massive 460 pounds-feet of torque.
All engines have air-filter and oil-life monitors and use a four-speed automatic transmission that incorporates a Tow/Haul mode.
All-disc antilock brakes and daytime running lights are standard, and new standard features include a tire pressure monitoring system and side curtain airbags, but side-impact airbags are not available. An electronic stability system with rollover mitigation is included in 12- and 15-passenger vans.