By Keith Buglewicz
Whether it's hauling a lot of people, a lot of stuff or various combinations of the two, the 2015 Chevrolet Express Van has a proven track record as a known commodity. There are much newer and larger alternatives, including the Nissan NV, Mercedes-Benz Sprinter, Ford Transit and Ram ProMaster. But none of them have the hauling power offered by the Express Van's Duramax turbodiesel V8. Passenger versions can be outfitted to seat up to 15 people, or the Cargo version offers up to 285 cubic feet of space. Thanks to the aftermarket "upfitter" industry, the 2015 Chevy Express can be equipped to suit an extremely wide range of applications, such as for plumbers, electricians, florists or delivery.
If you prefer the tried-and-true, the 2015 Chevy Express is for you. Its traditional van profile means it can fit more easily into spots with lower overheads, such as parking garages, it can be upfitted to suit just about any need and it’s available with a powerful Duramax turbodiesel V8.
If your van is your workshop, and you need to stand upright, one of the tall-roof models (Mercedes-Benz Sprinter, Nissan NV, Ford Transit or Ram ProMaster) will be a better choice. If, on the other hand, you don't need maximum hauling space, something smaller, such as the Ford Transit Connect or Chevrolet City Express, might be more suitable.
The changes to the Chevrolet Express for 2015 for both the Cargo and Passenger versions are minimal. There are some sound-system upgrades with digital AM/FM radios with auxiliary ports, a 110-volt power outlet and side-cut keys are standard, there is some LED lighting and you can pretty it up with a couple of new exterior colors.
Driving the 2015 Chevy Express will be, for almost all van buyers, a familiar experience with no surprises. For a big vehicle the Express drives as expected, with predictability and...
... stability but also with, understandably, some potential awkwardness in maneuvering in tight spots. But, a buyer of a full-size van should understand all that right up front. A big point of driving satisfaction with the Express would be equipping it with the engine appropriate to its use. While the 4.8-liter V8 will be just fine for a lot of lighter loads, if the Express is going to be asked to carry more weight, or pull a trailer of any size, things will be much more satisfactory with either the 6.0-liter gas V8 (also available to run on compressed natural gas, or CNG) or the 6.6-liter Duramax turbodiesel V8.
6.6-liter DURAMAX TURBODIESEL V8
If you’re planning on using a van to not only haul stuff inside but also pull a hefty trailer, the 6.6-liter Duramax turbodiesel engine, with 525 lb.-ft. of torque, is a monster powerplant in the large van class. It might be reason enough, by itself, to swing the purchase decision.
Thanks to its range of strong engine offerings and its rugged construction, the Chevrolet Express can haul a lot of stuff inside or tow up to 10,000 pounds. It's available in a wide variety of configurations and prices, has an extensive availability of upfitter accessories and offers exceptional flexibility.
The 2015 Chevy Express is a vehicle for serious work and the interior reflects that honorable purpose. In the Cargo version there are reasonably comfortable seats for the driver and one passenger and the rest is a big box waiting whatever can fit inside. At this point many Express owners head straight to the appropriate upfitter, where the interior can be configured to suit practically any need imaginable. The Passenger version can be equipped more sumptuously, if sumptuous fits in the van world, with enough seating for up to 15 people, carpeting, rear air conditioning, navigation and all the rest of the usual and expected accessories and available options.
The Chevy Express, in either Cargo or Passenger versions, has been around for years and its shape is a familiar one. It’s a box with rounded corners and is not unattractive; in fact, it looks about as good as might be reasonably expected. Even though the vast majority of Expresses on the road are white, it is actually available in a pretty wide assortment of colors. The exterior choices are few, but include sliding or split swing-out side doors and rear doors with or without windows. Obviously, Passenger models have windows along both sides. Anything else that changes on the exterior will be up to the owner.
Remember when a radio was an optional luxury item? Chevrolet does, and it still is on the base Chevy Express Cargo Van. Along with a blank spot where the radio should be, the Cargo Van gets vinyl floors and seat upholstery, air conditioning and a step-in rear bumper. Frills are not part of the deal, though the Passenger Van jazzes things up with carpeting and cloth seats. All 2015 Chevy Express models get stability control, 4-wheel anti-lock disc brakes and dual front airbags. Passenger vans feature side-curtain airbags covering the first three rows.
If you want anything beyond the four-wheeled transportation-and-cargo module that's the basic 2015 Chevrolet Express Cargo Van, you'll have to hit the options list. Luckily, it's pretty long. You can get navigation, Bluetooth, and backup sensors and a backup camera, and the most recent version of OnStar. There are also choices of engines, either the 2500 or 3500 series, two different body lengths, and various options packages. Passenger versions start with a higher equipment level than Cargo models, but otherwise the options packages are largely the same.
The base engine for the 2015 Chevy Express is the proven 4.8-liter V8 of 285 horsepower and 295 lb-ft of torque. It’s acceptable for lighter loads. For carrying heavier cargo, or for more strenuous work, there’s the optional 6.0-liter V8 with 329 horsepower and a very healthy 373 lb-ft of torque. The 6.0-liter engine is also available to operate on compressed natural gas (CNG). At the top is the available 6.6-liter Duramax turbodiesel V8, delivering 260 horsepower and an extremely capable 525 lb-ft of torque. Properly selecting the appropriate engine for the vehicle use should lead to a high degree of ownership satisfaction.
285 horsepower @ 5,400 rpm
295 lb-ft of torque @ 4,600 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 11/17 mpg
329 horsepower @ 5,400 rpm
373 lb-ft of torque @ 4,400 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 11/16 mpg
6.0-liter V8 CNG
282 horsepower @ 4,800 rpm
320 lb-ft or torque @ 4,400 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: N/A
6.6-liter turbocharged diesel V8
260 horsepower @ 2,800 rpm
525 lb-ft of torque @ 1,600 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: N/A
Pricing for the 2015 Chevrolet Express Van varies widely depending on the trim level. A base cargo van starts at about $29,000, while the diesel-powered LT model of the extra-length Passenger Van will be over $50,000. Options can add up surprisingly quickly as well, although we're guessing most fleet buyers – plumbers, electricians, cable TV servicers, heating and air conditioning repair – don't load up on frivolous extras. Prices are always changing, so before signing the final purchase be sure and check the KBB Fair Purchase Price to determine what buyers in your area are actually paying. Over time, the 2015 Chevrolet Express Van is expected to hold its value well, but there are new challengers in the van business and that could mean some unpredictability in the residual values.