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2005 Chevrolet Express

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2005 Chevrolet Express Review

A suitable full-size van.

Reviewed by Automotive on


The history of the full-size van is an interesting one. Larger families and people who need additional cargo space embrace these large vans for its space. However, the rise of the compact van was introduced during the 1960s as competition for the wildly popular Volkswagen Bus, which made the majority of full-size vans obsolete. Compact vans allowed people to have space for several passengers, in addition to a good amount of cargo, while still being moderately fuel efficient and better handling. The base of compact car components for these compact vans was very useful at creating a whole new market that overwhelmed the multitude of full-size vans that were available several decades ago. Despite the fact that many full-size vans were discontinued in the face of this competition, a handful managed to hang on due to its superior reliability and wide-range use.

One of the full-size vans still dominating the van market is the Chevrolet Express. It's a formidable work vehicle and very popular with those needing to haul a variety of items such as plumbers or electricians. However, there are several models, which make suitable towing vehicles, shuttle buses, school buses, or even ambulances. The fact that the Express can seat anywhere between eight to 15 passengers is definitely a perk for such a large vehicle. The interior comforts matched to the sheer passenger capacity can even make the Express highly suitable for long-range family road-trips.

The Range

Body styles: Full-size van
Engines: 4.3-liter V-6, or 6.0-liter V-6
Transmissions: Four-speed automatic, heavy-duty four-speed automatic
Models: Chevrolet Express 1500, Chevrolet Express 2500, Chevrolet Express 3500

What's New

Since the Chevrolet Express underwent a face-lift in 2003, the alterations to the 2005 model are very limited. The optional benefit of the StabiliTrak stability control system becomes standard on the one-ton regular-wheelbase vans. This is a very helpful feature for such a large van, which can make stability a bit of an issue.


The exterior style of the 2005 Chevrolet Express is rather limited. Since the large size of the van requires a certain design in order to function properly, the funky attributes available on minivans and crossovers are unable to make it into the appearance of the Express. The overall look is large and boxy with a short hood, and an extensive middle segment to the tail end to hold a number of passengers and cargo. However, the smooth style that the 2005 Express does have sets it apart from other full-size vans, particularly the ones made several decades ago. As far as large vans go, the 2005 Express is at the top of its game with a modern appearance.


Since the Express commonly finds itself acting as a work-based vehicle with a specific utility, the interior of the van is built mostly for function. While it is not exactly pleasing to the eye with many stylish trims and various perks as seen in minivans, it certainly can get any job done—whether hauling passengers or cargo. The controls are placed in a simple layout very close to the driver. This design makes them easy to use intuitively, which is useful when driving in heavy traffic areas with such a large vehicle. Yet, the footwells are actually quite cramped. The rear portion is really where things get interesting. There is an option of a 60/40 split driver's side door for easier access to the rear seats. The standard passenger configuration seats 12, but arrangements for eight or 15 passengers are available depending on the model.

Performance & Handling

There are several engine offerings for the 2005 Chevrolet Express as well as the choice between rear drive and all-wheel drive. Both 1500 models are powered by a 4.3-liter V-6 that is capable of 195 horsepower. The 6.0-liter is standard on all 3500, producing 300 horsepower. All 1500 models utilize a standard four-speed automatic transmission while the 2500 and 3500 feature heavy-duty four-speed automatic transmissions.


All 2005 Express vans have four-wheel anti-lock disc brakes. Light-duty models feature a front-passenger sensing system which can deactivate the front airbag if it senses the presence of a small adult or child sitting in the front seat. Heavy-duty models use a manual airbag deactivation switch for the front occupant. Stability control now comes standard on one-ton regular-wheelbase vans.

EPA Fuel Economy

2005 Chevrolet Express 1500: 13/18 mpg city/highway
2005 Chevrolet Express 2500: 13/17 mpg city/highway
2005 Chevrolet Express 3500: 10/16 mpg city/highway

You'll Like

  • Strong powertrains
  • Access doors
  • Multiple passenger configurations

You Won't Like

  • Awkward handling
  • Low-quality interior materials

Sum Up

A suitable full-size van.

If You Like This Vehicle

  • GMC Savana
  • Ford E-Series

See the New 2015 Express.

Front & Driver Side View