Chevrolet Express: Going strong for nearly 40 years!

In the realm of full-size passenger vans, for almost four decades the Chevrolet Express has remained one of America’s most reliable and trusted names. The Chevrolet Express has withstood the test of time with few design changes – in fact only one in the past 40 years.

“If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” is the mantra Chevrolet has stood by in regards to the Express, and it has done them well. Consumers gave the 2014 Chevy Express 4.5 out of 5 stars and according to GM: “sales of the model have remained steady over the last decade.”

The Express offers a passenger van’s timeless features of powerful engines and space. With seating for up to 15 adults, these vans are ideal for big families, sports teams and commercial use. The Express is well suited for those who need a big van with a variety of powertrain and seating options.

Over the years the Chevrolet Express has been a major player in the market for commercial vans. Its two biggest competitors have been the Ford Econoline series (now replaced with the Ford Transit) and the Dodge Ram Van (which is now retired). The Express’ superior driving dynamics as compared to these other rivals has repeatedly made it a stand out choice.

The Chevrolet Express is available in 1500, 2500 and 3500 versions. The 3500 is also available with an extended wheelbase, which allows for 15-passenger capacity. The LS and LT trims are also offered. The LS is a bit more plain, typically what fleet buyers purchase with only stereo and air-conditioning as standard key features. It is ideal if your next van is mainly for commercial use.

If you’re looking for a family vehicle or a van for personal use, the LT with its rear A/C, full power accessories, cruise control and plusher seats may be the better choice. Stability control and side curtain airbags come standard on all models.

Current Chevrolet Express Capabilities: 1500, 2500 and 3500

Model Engine Horsepower Transmission Rear Wheel/All Wheel Drive
1500 5.3L V-8  310 h/p Four-speed Standard rear wheel drive/available all wheel drive
2500 4.8L V-86.0L V-8 280 h/p323 h/p Six- speed Rear drive only
3500 6.0L V-86.6L V-8 Turbo diesel 323 h/p260 h/p Six-speed Rear drive only

Compared to the Ford Econoline, the Chevy Express boasts better driving dynamics and a sleeker design. When paired next to the Mercedes Sprinter, the Express falls behind on both counts, however the price is significantly cheaper.

Evolution of the Chevy Express

From the 1970’s to the early 1990’s, the Chevrolet Express’s visual updates were mainly grille and headlight changes. Hardware updates, such as the adoption of a four-speed automatic transmission and fuel injection in the mid-‘80’s, as well as dual airbags in the ‘90s, kept the Chevy van a major player in the full-sized van market.

The last time the Chevrolet Express received a major redesign was in 1996. In fact, the name was changed from “Sport Van” to “Express”. The new body style featured power plants, high-mounted taillights and an updated cabin with improved ergonomics. At the time, these changes gave Chevrolet a huge competitive edge over the Ford Econoline and the Dodge Ram Van.

In 2001, the more luxurious LT model was introduced. More improvements came in 2003 when an enhanced line of engines came out, (a 200 hp-V6, 295 hp-5.3 liter V8, and 300 horsepower 6.0 liter V8) and all-wheel drive was offered for the first time. The standard transmission was a Four-Speed Automatic.  Also there was a ¾-ton 2500 model offered, in both base and LT trims.

In the later 2000’s, the V6 was dropped while the V8’s were upgraded to 301 and 323 horsepower. In 2008, the interior was redone, and side curtain airbags and stability control became standard. In 2010, the 5.3L was brought up to 310 horsepower and the 6.0L V8 got a six speed automatic transmission. In 2011, the 4.8L V8 and turbo diesel V8 were introduced.

To see the latest models of Chevy passenger vans, we invite you to browse our online store. Here at Classic Vans, we sell both new and used conversion vans which can be delivered for one low flat-rate anywhere in the U.S.A.

If you have any questions, you can contact us at (866) 370-8222 or send us an email.