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2012 Chevrolet Express 2500 Cargo

Overview
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2012 Chevrolet Express 2500 Cargo Review

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Many vehicles claim to be versatile do-it-alls, but when it comes to backing claims with fact, the 2012 Chevrolet Express Van puts its money where its grille is. As a passenger van, the Express Van trumps the largest SUVs in the field, with accommodations for up to 15 people. In cargo-haul mode, the Express Van's massive 285 cubic feet of storage volume makes it ideal as a parcel or parts delivery vehicle, or just one really big conversion van (time to relive the 70s, man). Regardless of how you plan to use the 2012 Chevy Express Van, Chevrolet knows you'll likely be moving a decent amount of weight around, which is why the division has given its van a heavy-duty suspension, standard or extended-length cabs, and the option of all-wheel drive. Of course, to pull all that weight also requires a choice of powerful engines, which Chevy happily provides in both gasoline and torque-happy diesel form.

You'll Like This Car If...

Those who need a full-time, multi-purpose work van won't be happy with some V6-powered minivan conversions. The Express Van was designed to accommodate all manner of configuration, from light-duty chores to maximum hauling.

You May Not Like This Car If...

If you don't have big people-moving needs, a Chevy Suburban or some other full-size SUV might be a better option. While the Express Van is competent, it's also crude with a rough ride, noisy interior and bench seating that is far from comfortable on long trips.

What's New for 2012

Other than a new color, Wheatland Yellow, there are no major changes to the 2012 Chevrolet Express Van.

Driving the Express 2500 Cargo

Driving Impressions With only 195 horsepower on hand, the base Express Cargo Van's V6 engine might offer the best fuel economy on paper, but we're willing to bet that the amount of...

work this engine has to do to keep a fully loaded van moving will likely return figures more in line with the more powerful and preferable 310-horsepower 5.3-liter V8. Of course, really big jobs are best tackled either by the 6.0-liter V8 engine or the 6.6-liter Duramax diesel V8. With its 525 lb-ft of torque, there isn't much that Duramax can't haul and its longevity and reliability will likely appeal to fleet managers trying to get the most out of their investments. On a 3500 model with the Duramax engine, Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) is 9,900 pounds with a 9,700-pound tow rating.

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.

Capability
Consider the 2012 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 9,900 pounds.

2012 Chevrolet Express 2500 Cargo Details
Interior

If the dash and steering wheel inside the 2012 Chevrolet Express Van look familiar, that's because many of the big van's bits are shared with other Chevy trucks and cars, although decidedly from a decade past. In its purist form, the Chevy Express Van is a 2-person rig with a massive metal cave residing behind the very supportive high-back front bucket seats. An empty canvas, the Express Van's cargo bay can be configured by any aftermarket customizer, or by taking advantage of Chevy's many packages that include flip-up access panels that allow easy access from outside the van to the rack-mounted tools inside. At the opposite end of the spectrum is the Express Passenger Van that allows for such luxuries as power windows, additional seating, carpet, rear air conditioning and Bluetooth.

Exterior

Let's face it, when the ultimate interior configuration of a vehicle is basically a giant elongated cube, there's not a whole lot of leeway for shaping the exterior. Still, Chevy has modernized its big van with rounded corners, high-mounted taillights and stylish truck-like wheels. The 2012 Chevy Express Van's grille may be its most ornate feature, resembling the trademark look that adorns Chevy's big pickup trucks. Door options include sliding or split swing-out side doors, and split rear doors with or without windows. Beyond these few attributes, the Express Van is shaped very much like the Chevy Vans of the last four decades. Handy exterior accessories include a roof-mounted ladder rack, roof rack cross rail system, and mudflaps.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

Listed among the Chevrolet 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 2012 Chevy Express models are equipped with stability control, 4-wheel antilock disc brakes and dual front airbags.

Optional Equipment

Creature comforts are not what you'd call plentiful on the 2012 Chevy Express 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-duty (Express 1500) or heavy-duty (Express 2500 and 3500) models, body lengths and various packages. Some of the more noteworthy options include side-curtain airbags, Bluetooth connectivity and the most recent version of OnStar.

Under the Hood

If fuel economy is a primary concern, a Chevrolet Express 1500 Cargo Van 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 2012 Express Van's four available V8s promise to get most any job done with up to 323 horsepower and 525 lb-ft of torque. There is also a CNG (compressed natural gas) conversion for the 6.0-liter gasoline engine that includes hardened valve seats and a special 3-tank fuel tank configuration.

4.3-liter V6
195 horsepower @ 4,600 rpm
260 lb-ft of torque @ 2,800 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 15/20 mpg

4.8-liter V8
280 horsepower @ 5,200 rpm
296 lb-ft of torque @ 4,600 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 11/17 mpg

5.3-liter V8
310 horsepower @ 5,200 rpm
334 lb-ft of torque @ 4,500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 13/17 mpg

6.0-liter V8
323 horsepower @ 4,600 rpm
373 lb-ft of torque @ 4,400 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 10/15 mpg

6.0-liter V8 CNG
279 horsepower @ 4,700 rpm
320 lb-ft or torque @ 4,400 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: N/A

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

Trading in or Selling? Know where you stand with the most up-to-date Kelley Blue Book Value at your fingertips. See your car's value

Buying this car?

2012 Chevrolet Express Consumer Reviews

Overall Rating
8.1
Out of 10

Based on 221 Ratings for the 1996 - 2014 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    8.4/10
    Quality
    8.3/10
  • Reliability
    8.6/10
    Performance
    8.5/10
  • Comfort
    8.5/10
    Styling
    8.3/10

Best truck I have used so far. For the money.

By on Sunday, August 10, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 64,392

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
6/10
Reliability
9/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
5/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "It drives great plenty of room good on gas."

Cons: "sometimes hard to park."

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"I have had this truck for 2 years now and very happy with it. I do not drive it much anymore and think it's time to size down a little. That's the only reason I think of selling ."

9 people out of 16 found this review helpful

I drive every day great van with all the toys

By on Tuesday, June 03, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 251,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
8/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
8/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Ready to work"

Cons: "Has a little dent in side doors"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"I bought the van two years ago , from the first owner. the van had 183000, miles at that time. I am a fussy buyer, I needed full power and a Left hand cargo Door. I am no longer in need of carrying product on the truck. The job change has me shipping and my sales , the truck will be a great value for the right buyer. I wish a had a friend who need a great van then I would sell it to them. Happy owner"

32 people out of 72 found this review helpful

Great VAN!!

By on Thursday, April 10, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 180,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "GREAT RIDE, VERY SOLID AND SAFE, GREAT FAMILY VAN"

Cons: "BLINDS ON WINDOWS TOO DELICATE"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"IF I HAD IT TO DO OVER AGAIN, I WOULD GET THE SAME EXACT VAN! EVEN THOUGH IT WAS NOT THE BEST IN GAS, AND THE FUEL PRICES FOR THE LAST SEVERAL YEARS HAVE HURT, IT WAS STILL WORTH FILLING UP THIS VERY RELIABLE VEHICLE."

35 people out of 65 found this review helpful

We love our van!

By on Friday, March 28, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 250,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
8/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Versatile, reliable, tough."

Cons: "Parking takes some creativity sometimes."

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"Great vehicle for a large family! We love the versatility in the seating (can move the four bench up etc.) and the towing capacity! Highly recommend. Very reliable!"

8 people out of 14 found this review helpful

Of all the full size vans this is the best ever.

By on Friday, March 14, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 100,300

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "A strong, well built truck, totally love it."

Cons: "The paint on the radio buttons does wear off."

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"Overall, this is the best van ever. I have owned and driven nothing but full sized vans starting with a 1974 Dodge Tradesman B100 followed by a 1978 ChevyVan 20; a 1981 Ford Econoline; a 1987 Dodge B250; a 1999 Chevy Express 2500 and now my current 2008 Chevy Express 2500. The '74 Dodge will always be my favorite van! Of all the remaining only the 2008 Chevy Express comes close. I love this van. It almost handles as good as a sports car...gets a little sloppy and unstable at speeds above 90 MPH! When loaded, also takes a little bit longer to stop. I always drive hard and fast. This van has had no major repairs needed - only routine maintenance. I would recommend this year and model to anyone interested in a full sized van. Lightly loaded, long distance mileage around 16-17 MPG, hot-rodding in stop-n-go traffic gets 11-13 MPG."

15 people out of 24 found this review helpful

good work van

By on Sunday, January 19, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 210,000

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
8/10
Value
8/10
Reliability
8/10
Quality
8/10
Performance
8/10
Styling
5/10
Comfort
5/10

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8

"not a bad van ,i changed tie rods , throttle body and starter at 200.000 , but no other problems . no rpm gauge and that's not a good idea when we talk a work car . the interior/comfort is the worst part at this car.seats are uncomfortable , window handle is hurting your knee ,driver seat to close to the cars body , makes you feel squashed . i can go on and on . i think none of the big companies ( gmc, ford ) seems to think workers are drivers also when it comes to interior . they think big engines , more space , more hp but don't care about the driver . i spend at least 3 hours driving every day and i can use a little bit of comfort ."

7 people out of 14 found this review helpful

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Trading in or Selling? Know where you stand with the most up-to-date Kelley Blue Book Value at your fingertips. See your car's value

Buying this car?