Go

2012 Chevrolet Express 3500 Passenger

Overview
Share this page
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 3500 Passenger Review

By

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 3500 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 3500 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

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 243 Ratings for the 1996 - 2015 models.

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

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.."

1 person out of 2 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."

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."

34 people out of 69 found this review helpful

Reliable vehicle with lots of power, not plush.

By on Wednesday, June 03, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 82,000

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
8/10
Value
7/10
Reliability
9/10
Quality
7/10
Performance
6/10
Styling
7/10
Comfort
6/10

Pros: "Lots of room, unlimited power, no non-sense design"

Cons: "Always having to park in the North 40"

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

"We've used this van as our family vehicle for 7 years. It's been great for hauling a lot of people and towing our motorcycles, etc. It's not super plush with a lot of extras, but when it screams up a hill full of people while hauling our gear you truly appreciate the power the 6.0 liter V-8 engine has to offer. I'm selling my Express van now, but I will be sorry to see it go."

19 people out of 41 found this review helpful

Conversion Van

By on Saturday, May 16, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 80,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

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

"This vehicle is a conversion van, not passenger great condition except running boards has minor damage. New tires Interior great shape and has remote start."

21 people out of 40 found this review helpful

this van has double entree doors on both sides,

By on Wednesday, May 13, 2015

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

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "fair priced and computable riding captain seats"

Cons: "paint will need some work"

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

"the van has a nice conversion kit installed,new battery and throttle body valve. high top, paint will need some work done"

5 people out of 21 found this review helpful

Share this page
Advertisement
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?

Advertisement