The full-size van segment is facing a big shakeup at the moment. Mind you, the standards for improvement are pretty low – these vans skipped all the manners and refinement courses undergone by their pickup-truck siblings, like the Ford F-150 and Chevrolet Silverado .
New competition from the Nissan NV , Ram CV, Mercedes Sprinter and the upcoming full-size Ford Transit means the Express will have to work harder than ever to maintain its huge 44-plus-percent market share in the segment.
In addition to far more modern options from Dodge and soon Ford, the full-size segment is under assault from above via pricier pickup trucks and from below via the Ford Transit Connect and other urban commercial runabouts. Despite the challengers, the Express logged nearly 77,000 sales in the U.S. in 2012.
So, the Chevrolet Express is long past its glory years where it represented the most sophisticated and modern full-size van available in the U.S. Despite seeming like it’s been around for eternity and beyond, the Express debuted in 1996 to rave reviews by thousands of contractors, conversion van companies and Church groups happy to have (slightly) more refinement than the previous models and the competition of the time.
No one will argue that 17 years is a long time on the market, but its tenure on dealer lots means the Express is both super affordable and also mechanically customizable with four engines, passenger or cargo setups, multiple wheelbases and a myriad of other options.
How does the Chevrolet Express stack up to the latest buyer priorities, and comfort and safety demands? Can its low price and spray-clean cargo area overcome the harsh ride, unbelievably bad seats and almost complete lack of modern interior tech?
Click past the jump for the full review of the Chevrolet Express.