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2012 Chevrolet Express 2500 Passenger

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2012 Chevrolet Express 2500 Passenger 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 Passenger
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 Passenger 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

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2012 Chevrolet Express Consumer Reviews

Overall Rating
8.1
Out of 10

Based on 246 Ratings for the 1996 - 2016 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

great work van .kbb value is extremly low

By on Saturday, July 16, 2016

I don't own this car

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
7/10
Comfort
2/10

Pros: "dependable"

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

"great work truck never lets me down.i have oprox 1;500 lbs of tools and equipment in it and run it all day ..gets up and goes like there is nothing in it"

Regular work horse with regular repairs

By on Monday, June 13, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 165,000

10 7.0
overall rating 7 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
7/10
Value
8/10
Reliability
8/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "you can accessorize and not feel it is a waste."

Cons: "GPM, light wiring, tire balancing"

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

"A mechanic gave me a list of things in sequential order that will go wrong with the van. When the tranny goes it is time to get rid of it. Do not let the oil change people put in the wrong antifreeze it will cost you $700 for new seals, The driver seat goes so start looking for a seat. This is a cargo van and either seat will work on either side. Just eliminate the arm rest. Rust occurrs at the bottom of each door. The steering wheel got chewed up so fix every small tear early. GPM is about 16-18. I wanted a larger or a second gas tank for long trips. Rides very well full or empty, fast or slow. I put 4 studded snows and went EVERYWHERE during the previous year with too much snow. Trailer package with trailer having the brakes worked out very well and hauled on occassion shingle trailers with that small 8 cylinder engine. When the van is totally empty, the pedal to the metal occurrs frequently as it really goes. The tranny had an eight year clunk glitch and it finally went. No park, no reverse so it'll cost $1300 and now at 14 years old $1300 is all it is worth via Blue Book. Had a stray current the last few years so it lets you know when you get out of the van. Ignition electronic part on top of engine went a month ago and was a cheap fix. Remember to change the tranny fluid. The water pump was changed out.The rest was normal maintenance. It is a 3/4 ton van and it hauled so many tools it squatted the 80# tires for 6 out of 8 years. Pulled a 1.5 ton trailer without brakes."

4 people out of 4 found this review helpful

Completely reliable and well used work horse

By on Wednesday, January 27, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 128,769

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
8/10
Value
Not Rated
Reliability
Not Rated
Quality
Not Rated
Performance
Not Rated
Styling
Not Rated
Comfort
Not Rated

Pros: "Great price, reliable working truck, careful owner"

Cons: "Doesn't look so pretty any more, no amenities."

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

"Single owner since 2001. This truck was worked hard carting carpet, pad, supplies and tools all over the tri-state area. Because this was a work truck, it was very well-maintained. Have all maintenance and repair records. It is tagged up-to-date. I would rate this as between good and very good for the mileage. There is some minor rust and dents on the outside and well worn on the inside. There have been some minor modifications on the inside to carry tools, etc. and a long round tube on top to carry lengths of carpet tacks and tacking strips (no leaks)."

18 people out of 30 found this review helpful

Great for hauling anything

By on Friday, August 28, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 185,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
8/10
Reliability
9/10
Quality
8/10
Performance
6/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "Great for hauling people or things"

Cons: "Big to drive, mileage 16 hwy not bad for how big"

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

"I bought this van with 25000 in 2005, it now has over 182000 on it, very few issues, nothing out of the ordinary, water pump, tensioner pulley, and replaced the belt, I have gone through only two sets of tires, good ones are worth it. I have hauled two 15ft kayaks along with 3 SUP boards no problem. With the seats in it will handle 15 people no problem, great for trips with the family. We use it instead of a tent to go camping too, blowup mattress in the back works great. I really have enjoyed this van. Important parking tip, ALWAYS BACK IN!!! ha.."

55 people out of 107 found this review helpful

Loved my 2006 for 9 yrs. Now Love my 2015

By on Monday, August 24, 2015

I owned and sold this car
Reason: Got New

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
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "A Pleasure to Drive."

Cons: "No Windvent."

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

"The 3500 Passenger Van is the best in the World. Just got my 2015 & selling my 2006. Hate to see my old friend go."

21 people out of 41 found this review helpful

good clean always relieable

By on Wednesday, June 10, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 81,000

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "all is good"

Cons: "paint starting to peel but just on hood"

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

"i have bought this van new in 07. have always changed oil on time.it has had 30 &60 thousand mile check ups. overall good work van.its clean but paint is peeling some on hood but that is a chevy thing i think."

42 people out of 86 found this review helpful

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