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2017 Chevrolet Express 3500 Cargo

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2017 Chevrolet Express 3500 Cargo Expert Review

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The 2017 Chevrolet Express cargo van is a tried-and-true workhorse whose aging platform is quickly leaving it playing catch-up to newer designs from Ford, Ram, Mercedes-Benz and Nissan. But, like most in senior management, the Express Van still has a few tricks to keep young up-and-comers at bay. Unlike the Nissan NV, Chevy’s Express cargo van offers a choice of standard and long-wheelbase models, and its available 6.0-liter V8 engine outmuscles the V6 engines found in the Ford Transit and Ram ProMaster. However, the Express Van doesn’t offer an extended-roof option or all-wheel drive, and its overall interior volume pales in comparison. Still, as a known commodity to upfitters everywhere, Chevy’s Express Van still has its merits.

You'll Like This Car If...

If you don’t need the tall roof offered by Ford and Ram’s newer vans, the 2017 Express van from Chevrolet has much going for it. Properly equipped, the Express cargo van can tow up to 10,000 pounds, while the Express passenger van can seat up to 15 people.

You May Not Like This Car If...

If you’re looking for a van to serve as a mobile workshop, or one that gets great fuel economy and offers cutting-edge technology and features, the Ford Transit, Mercedes-Benz Metris and Sprinter, and Ram ProMaster are superior in almost every way.

How It Ranks
2017 Chevrolet Express 3500 Cargo Low/wide front photo What's New for 2017

For 2017, Chevrolet’s Express cargo and passenger vans drop the 6.6-liter diesel and CNG engine options, but gains a new 2.8-liter 4-cylinder turbodiesel option. Other new options include a spray-in cargo liner (cargo van) and one new exterior paint color.

Driving the Express 3500 Cargo
2017 Chevrolet Express 3500 Cargo Front angle view photo
Driving Impressions

Time spent behind the wheel of Chevy’s 2017 Express van feels oddly like driving a decade-old pickup truck. At times, the ride is bit bouncy, but mostly...

... comfortable so long as road ahead is smooth. The turning radius seems much wider than rival vans from Ford and Ram, and stability in corners is predictable, but not confidence-inspiring. Of course, anyone who drives a van for a living expects this kind of review. What matters more are the Express van’s strong V8 and diesel engine choices, versatile cargo bay and a low roofline that takes the worry out of clearing low entrances. For passenger use, the Express van’s seating is not as modern or comfortable as in the Ford Transit or Mercedes-Benz Sprinter, lacking head restraints and individual armrests for rear-seat passengers.

6.0-liter V8
While the standard 4.8-liter V8 is good for everyday chores, those who need to haul lots of weight (think 15 passengers) will appreciate the ease with which the optional 6.0-liter V8 pulls the Express van.

SPRAY-IN CARGO LINER
Usually found on pickup truck beds, this clever option provides a textured, slip-resistant surface that helps keep cargo from slipping and is easy to clean up. The lining covers the entire cargo floor and six inches up each side wall.

2017 Chevrolet Express 3500 Cargo Details
2017 Chevrolet Express 3500 Cargo Dashboard, center console, gear shifter view photo Interior

The 2017 Chevy Express is a vehicle for serious work, and the interior reflects that. Cargo versions provide reasonably comfortable seats for the driver and one passenger, and the rest is a big box waiting whatever can fit inside. The Express Crew option adds seating for a total of five passengers. Many Express owners head straight to the appropriate upfitter, where the interior can be configured to suit practically any need. The Passenger version can be equipped more sumptuously, if “sumptuous” fits in the van world, with enough seating for up to 15 people across four rows, carpeting and rear air conditioning.

Exterior
2017 Chevrolet Express 3500 Cargo photo

Chevy’s 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 several colors. Exterior differentiations 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, and a passenger-side sliding door is available on both versions of the van.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

The 2017 Chevy Express van puts function far above frills, but at its most basic does include power windows and door locks and air conditioning. Workmen can finally enjoy some tunes thanks to a standard AM/FM stereo with auxiliary input. Like other GM vehicles, OnStar with 4G LTE and Wi-Fi connectivity is fitted standard, a boon for operators who need mobile Internet connectivity. Base Express Passenger models include seating for 12 (15 in extended length). All models have stability control, 4-wheel anti-lock disc brakes and dual front airbags. Passenger vans feature side-curtain airbags covering the first three rows.

Optional Equipment

If you want anything beyond the 4-wheeled transportation-and-cargo module that's the basic 2017 Chevrolet Express Cargo Van, you'll have to hit the option list. Luckily, it's pretty long. You can get navigation, Bluetooth, and backup sensors and a rearview camera, and the most recent version of OnStar. There are also choices of a larger gasoline V8 or 4-cylinder turbodiesel, standard- or extended-body lengths, and various option packages. Passenger versions start with a higher equipment level than Cargo models, but otherwise the option packages are largely the same.

Under the Hood
2017 Chevrolet Express 3500 Cargo Engine photo

The base engine for the 2017 Chevrolet Express van is the proven 4.8-liter V8 that puts out 285 horsepower and 295 lb-ft of torque. For carrying heavier cargo, or for more strenuous work, there’s the optional 6.0-liter V8 with 329 horsepower and 373 lb-ft of torque. Later in the model year, a 2.8-liter inline 4-cylinder turbodiesel will be offered. All models are rear-wheel drive and use either a 6-speed automatic transmission (gasoline) or 8-speed unit (diesel). Neither of the gasoline engines is very fuel-efficient, one reason fresher, easier-to-drive cargo vans like the Mercedes-Benz Metris are drawing new customers. Then again, rival vans with smaller engines can't tow up to 10,000 pounds.

2.8-liter turbocharged diesel inline-4
181 horsepower @ 3,400 rpm
369 lb-ft of torque @2,000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: N/A

4.8-liter V8
285 horsepower @ 5,400 rpm
295 lb-ft of torque @ 4,600 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: N/A

6.0-liter V8
329 horsepower @ 5,400 rpm
373 lb-ft of torque @ 4,400 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 11/16 mpg

Note:
Due to changes in EPA testing to more effectively reflect real-world conditions, some 2017 models show slightly lower fuel-economy scores than their 2016 versions.

A 2017 Chevy Express Cargo van has a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) starting around $32,000, while a base Passenger model starts at just under $34,500. The new 2.8-liter diesel adds a cool $4,000 to the bottom line. At these prices, Chevy's full-size van starts slightly higher than the new Mercedes-Benz Metris and is in line with the Ram ProMaster and Ford Transit. It is several thousand higher than the full-size Nissan NV and around $10,000 beyond the Chevy City Express, a smaller cargo van based on the Nissan NV200 that is better-suited for light-duty work. Not surprisingly, the Chevy Express' pricing nearly mirrors that of its GMC sibling, the Savana. Before buying, check the KBB.com Fair Purchase Price to see what others in your area are paying for their new van. The Express' resale value is predicted to be higher than the Ford Transit and is on par with the Nissan NV.

To find out what consumers are really paying for this vehicle, first select a style to see the Fair Purchase Price| Calculate payments for this vehicle

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