The Chevrolet Express is Chevrolet’s full-size van, which replaced the Chevrolet Van, with production starting in 1996 and continuing today. It should be noted for those comparing vans that the General Motor Company Savana is the same vehicle as the Chevrolet Express, but was renamed for the GM brand. These two models currently hold 44.8 percent of the total full-size van market within the United States, which is actually only the second largest share, still trailing Ford’s E-Series.
The Chevrolet Express serves almost exclusively as a work vehicle, and there are a lot of versions of the Express. The first generation spanned from 1996 to 2002 as either a three-door or a four-door model on a front engine rear or four-wheel-drive platform. Engines ranged in power from the smaller 4.3-liter V-6 up to the 6.5-liter turbo-diesel V-8.
The second generation models were introduced in 2003 and the Express is currently still in the second generation. The new models kept the three- or four-door layout with front-end engine and either rear or four-wheel drive. The starting engine remained a slightly revamped 4.3-liter V-6, flex-fuel options were introduced as well as a flex-fuel V-8, and the top-line increased power significantly up to a 6.6-liter Duramax turbo-diesel V-8. Transmissions include a four-speed automatic, six-speed automatic after 2010 only and six-speed auto available on the 2500 and the 3500 series.
Body Styles: cargo van, extended cargo van, passenger van, extended passenger van
Engines: 279-hp 4.8-liter V-8, 195-hp 4.3-liter V-6, 301-hp 5.3-liter V-8, 323-hp six-liter V-8, 301-hp 5.3-liter V-8 flex fuel engine, 250-hp 6.6-liter V-8 diesel engine
Transmissions: four-speed automatic with overdrive
Models: G1500 Work Van cargo, G2500 Work Van cargo G3500 Work Van cargo, G1500 LT passenger, G2500 LT passenger, G3500 LT passenger, G1500 LS passenger, G2500 LS passenger, G3500 LS passenger, Upfitter G1500 LS cargo, Upfitter G2500 LS cargo
Some of the new features for 2008 include increased passenger capacity, up to 15 passengers in total, gasoline V-8 engines, and StabiliTrak on 12- and 15-passenger vans.
All of the Express vans are built on a separate box frame, and the 2008 models continue to feature the redesigned taillights and headlights from the 2003 redesign. The front and the rear suspension were slightly modified from the lineup of GM pickup trucks. The rear suspension uses a solid axle with semielliptic variable-rate multileaf spring and absorbent gas shocks. Standard wheels are 16-inches with additional options. Size varies from one model to the other; base wheelbase is 135-inches up to 155-inches. Width does not vary at 79.4-inches. Towing weight for the many different 2008 Express models ranges from 6200 pounds to 9600 pounds.
The general style of all models can only be described as plain. Custom-ordered color choices are limited, the body is boxy, and one of the variances from one model to another is the presence of rear windows.
Similar to the exterior, the interior varies quite a bit from one model to another. Most models include removable seats so that cargo room may be increased. Specific models made for contractors and for other work use will not have rear seats, and will instead have cargo space. For seating, it can range from a lone driver seat to up to 15 passengers.
One of the changes for the 2008 model year include an improved control cluster; overall, the interior is fairly bare. Some of the technologies included with most models include climate control, a radio, and warning displays for things like regular maintenance.
Performance & Handling
Handling for the 2008 models is fair on most models. Larger models may be difficult to maneuver in city traffic for those not used to larger vehicles, and many models will have limited visibility, especially the models that do not have windows.
Some safety features available with the 2008 Express vans include all-disc anti-lock brakes (ABS), daytime running lights, tire pressure monitoring, optional side-curtain airbags, and electronic stability on the larger passenger van models. Side-impact airbags are not available.
EPA Fuel Economy
2008 Chevrolet Express: 12/16 mpg city/highway
- Interior space
- Powerful engine
- Towing capacity
- Side curtain airbags
You Won't Like
- Fuel economy
- Maneuverability of larger models
- Resale value
A reliable work van or multi-passenger commercial van.
If You Like This Vehicle
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