Aimed primarily at commercial buyers, the Chevrolet Express Cargo is a traditional full-size van with a capacious stripped-out cargo area aft of the rear seats. Though its basic architecture dates all the way back to 1996, Chevrolet has made a number of improvements to the interior and powertrain lineup in recent years to keep the Express Cargo (along with the passenger-oriented Express Passenger) competitive.
Being a work-focused full-size vehicle, the Express features a plain but highly functional interior with user-friendly controls and an impressive amount of cargo space. Storage spaces abounds for stowing CDs, maps and the like and cupholders are plentiful. Its girth equates to low handling limits, although the van never feels tippy.
The Express is offered in three different models (1500, 2500 and 3500) with five engine options, available traction-enhancing all-wheel-drive and two different wheelbases (135 inches or 155 inches).
Available for 2500 and 3500 models is a new Crew Cargo Van that adds a second row seat to increase passenger capacity to five and provide a mix of people and cargo carrying ability.
Express Cargo 1500
The Express Cargo 1500 comes standard with a 4.3-liter V6 that produces 195 horsepower and 260 lb-ft of torque. A 5.3-liter V8 with 310 horsepower and 334 lb-ft of torque is optional. Both engines work with a four-speed automatic transmission.
The 1500 can be had with rear-wheel-drive or optional all-wheel drive (the later is exclusive to the 1500) The 1500 comes with just the 135-inch wheelbase, which makes for 270.4 cubic feet of cargo volume.
Standard features include A/C, power windows, power locks, vinyl seats and not much else - it is a work truck, after all. The seats are manually adjustable and a stereo system is an extra-cost option.
For those interested in towing, the 1500 is capable of pulling an impressive 6700 pounds, and payload capacity is 2381 pounds.
Express Cargo 2500
The Express Cargo 2500 is powered by a standard 4.8-liter V8 with 280 horsepower and 295 lb-ft of torque. Those looking for more torque can check the box for the optional 6.6-liter diesel V8, which produces 260 ponies and a whopping 525 lb-ft of twist and also utilizes the six-speed auto. Both engines are paired with a six-speed automatic transmission are good for staggering 10,000 pound and 3274 towing and payload capacities, respectively.
Also available is a 6.0-liter V8 that makes 324 horsepower and 372 lb-ft of torque.
Standard features are identical to those of the 1500, but the 2500 comes with a choice of wheelbases: a 135-inch length is standard, while the 155-inch edition ups the cargo capacity to 313.9 cubic inches.
Express Cargo 3500
The maximum-strength Express Passenger 3500 shares the engine choices of the 2500. Towing is unchanged, though payload increases to 4238 pounds. Both wheelbase lengths can be spec'd with the 3500, which also shares the standard features of the 1500.
Each of the Express Cargo models can be outfitted with convenience and entertainment features like a CD/AM/FM stereo, power windows, cloth seats, Bluetooth connectivity, remote start, an auxiliary input jack, power-adjustable seats and a leather-wrapped steering wheel.
Utility options include a heavy-duty locking rear differential, seven-pin sealed connector trailer wiring, and a heavy-duty trailering package.
The novel Express Access feature boasts remote release side panels that open for easy access to the cargo area.
Recently added to the options list is navigation radio, a rear vision camera and ultrasonic rear park assist.
The Express Cargo comes standard with traction and stability control systems as well as a tire-pressure-monitor. In the event of a crash, there are dual front and side curtain airbags.
Looking for a big van to carry a bunch of cargo or people? Besides the Express, options include the popular Ford E-Series, the up-and-coming Nissan NV and, for a bit more coin, the capable Mercedes-Benz Sprinter Cargo.