By KBB.com Editors - Updated Date: 10/21/2011
Versatility is what the 2011 Chevrolet Express Van is all about. Available in Cargo and Passenger versions, Chevy's ultimate hauler can transport up to 15 passengers or, when the job requires moving parcels instead of people, whatever you can fit into a mobile storage locker offering nearly 285 cubic feet of usable space. Either way you look at it, the Express will be tasked with moving what could potentially be a substantial amount of weight, which is why Chevrolet offers buyers a variety of engines, including a torquey Duramax diesel. Factor in the options of regular- or extended-length models, a selection of basic to well-equipped trims and the availability of rear- or all-wheel-drive (AWD) capability, and you have a vehicle ready for most anything.
If you frequently need to accommodate several passengers, require a work vehicle offering space and configurability or want a van that covers the gamut from light-to heavy-duty capability, the 2011 Chevrolet Express is one not to be missed.
If your priorities include comfort or efficiency, the Chevy Express will likely leave you disappointed. Despite being offered with its share of creature comforts, this is a work vehicle, one that rides and handles more like a Silverado than a Honda Odyssey and isn't recognized for outstanding fuel economy.
For 2011, the Chevrolet Express van has been updated with standard StabiliTrak, the newest version of OnStar and desirable options such as Bluetooth connectivity and a WiFi feature. Also, the optional diesel engine now delivers more power and greater efficiency.
With EPA ratings of up to 20 mpg, the base Express Cargo van's V6 offers the lineup's greatest efficiency, but its 195 horsepower can be overwhelmed by heavy loads. In those situations, the available 310-horsepower 5.3-liter V8 is a better choice, or perhaps the optional 324-horsepower 6.0-liter V8. However, none of those engines can compete with the 6.6-liter Duramax diesel, updated for 2011 to deliver 260 horsepower and 525 lb-ft of torque. If something needs to be moved, chances are that turbocharged oil-burner will get it done.
Side Access Doors
The Chevy Express Van's side doors provide easy access to the cargo area without having to climb in from the back.
Consider the 2011 Express Van to be a Jack-Of-All-Trades, one that can carry up to 15 people, boasts 284.4 cubic feet of cargo space and tows up to 10,000 pounds.
Styling for the 2011 Chevrolet Express Van's dash and instrument panel borrows from other Chevy models, including the Silverado pickup truck but, otherwise, the look is unique. In its basic Cargo configuration the Express is essentially a 2-passenger rig comprised of a couple of seats and a big empty box devoid of any type of trim or decoration. A variety of interior storage provisions can be added. Standing in contrast is the Express Passenger Van, where you'll find such luxuries as carpet, rear windows and additional seats.
A need for interior space is what leads shoppers to the 2011 Express Van, meaning Chevy designers were challenged with the task of making the vehicle look fresh and modern while not affecting overall capacity. As a result, the silhouette of today's Chevrolet van isn't all that different from models sold over the past few decades, though the taillights are mounted higher, the edges have been softened and the front end looks more like a German Shepherd than a Pug.
Listed among the 2011 Express Cargo Van's standard features are a V6 engine, vinyl flooring and upholstery, air conditioning, a step-up rear bumper and manually-operated exterior mirrors. Frills are not part of the deal, though the Passenger Van does jazz things up some, with a V8 engine and cloth seats. All Chevrolet Express models are equipped with stability control, 4-wheel antilock (ABS) disc brakes and dual front airbags.
Creature comforts are not what you'd call plentiful on the Express Cargo Van, so shoppers will need to look to the options list if they want power windows and door locks or, if they're really feeling crazy, a radio. There are also choices of engines, light- or heavy-duty models (1500, 2500, 3500), body lengths and various packages. Some of the more noteworthy items include side-curtain airbags, Bluetooth connectivity and the most recent version of OnStar.
If fuel economy is a primary concern, a Chevrolet Express 1500 equipped with the base 4.3-liter V6 is a buyer's best choice. That 6-cylinder is expected to average 20 mpg on the highway but, with 195 horsepower, it's not exactly a powerhouse. Though less efficient, the 2011 Express van's four available V8s promise to get most any job done with up to 324 horsepower and, thanks to this year's updates, 525 lb-ft of torque. That latter amount is what you'll get from the available 6.6-liter turbodiesel V8, which has been tweaked to deliver additional output complimented by cleaner emissions.
195 horsepower @ 4,600 rpm
260 lb-ft of torque @ 2,800 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 15/20
280 horsepower @ 5,200 rpm
295 lb-ft of torque @ 4,600 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 11/17
310 horsepower @ 5,200 rpm
334 lb-ft of torque @ 4,500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 13/17
324 horsepower @ 4,700 rpm
373 lb-ft of torque @ 4,400 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 11/16
6.6-liter Turbodiesel V8
260 horsepower @ 3,100 rpm
525 lb-ft of torque @ 1,600 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: N/A
Chevrolet has set the Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) for the 2011 Express Van at about $25,000 for the base model, or nearly $50,000 for a fully loaded version. Prices are always changing, so before agreeing to a deal make sure to check the Kelley Blue Book Fair Purchase Price to determine what buyers in your area are actually paying. Over time, the Chevrolet Express Van is expected to hold its value better than its major competitor, the Ford E-Series.