The Chevrolet Express Cutaway is the main rival of the Ford E Series Cutaway and holds a market share of 44.8 in Units, being just behind its competitor.
The Express is available in two versions namely the 2500 and 3600 Series. The 2500 Series includes heavy-duty models rated at 8,600 pounds (3,901 kg) GVWR. The heavy-duty 3500 Series includes full-bodied models rated at 9,600 pounds (4,354 kg) GVWR with the 6.0L gas V-8 and 9,900 pounds (4,490 kg) with the Duramax 6.6L diesel. The Chevrolet Express Cutaway has a starting price of $26,845 and is offered with a 3 years / 36,000 miles warranty.
The standard Chevrolet Express Cutaway can be easy distinguishable thanks to its chromeless grille which is a rarity in this segment. Without any shiny element to sparkle at the front, the vehicle looks a bit fade compared with the Ford E Series. However, Chevrolet offers an optional chrome appearance to bright things up a little. The package includes chrome front and rear bumpers and chrome grille with dual composite headlamps.
The grille is traversed by a horizontal black stripe which bares the company logo in its center giving to the Express a much sober face than other models in the segment. The rectangular headlights are also pretty simple, but they cope well with the rugged character of the vehicle.
Chevrolet added two creases on the hood, hoping to add a dose of dynamism to the overall design, but failed lamentably as the Express is still looking boringly simple. The dull design is also enhanced by the front bumper which adds nothing special to this utilitarian appearance.
Thank to the wide opening doors you can hope inside pretty easy. Unsurprisingly, the cabin offers a lot of space, but the dashboard looks a bit dated compared with the Ford E series. The build quality however is at par with its rival and most of those hard plastics look solid enough to pass well the test of time.
The instrument clusters features a big central gauge flanked by two other circular gauges on each side. The standard Driver Information Center displays important vehicle functions like fuel range, oil life and engine hours where the driver can read them.
The information can be read pretty easy and we also don’t have any complains about the overall ergonomy, as the controls have a logical layout and are easy to reach.
We’re happy to find the typical GM steering wheel which is the exact same unit you’ll find in nearly every other commercial vehicle built by the company. It’s true that some people may consider it a bit thin, but it does its job with dignity. Moreover, we find the steering wheel-mounted audio and cruise controls very easy to use and we are glad to find such an intuitive layout into a commercial vehicle.
The seats feel comfortable enough for short trips, but after a while you could start feeling that you need to take a break from driving, and stretch your back a little. Instead they have a wide range of adjustments available, while the steering wheel can be also adjusted for reach and rake adding some common sense comfort in an otherwise utilitarian cabin.
Other goodies available to make you ride more pleasant include air conditioning, audio systems with CD/MP3 capability and USB port, driver information center, 12-volt power outlets, remote keyless entry and power windows are available. You’ll also find plenty of cubby holes, cup holders and other useful storage places all round the cabin.
Engines and transmissions
The Chevrolet Express Cutaway is available with a wide range of engines including the Vortec 4.3L V6 with an EPA–estimated 20 MPG highway. The Vortec 4.8L E85 FlexFuel3 V8 engine comes standard on the 2500 and 3500, while these models are also available with the 6.0L V8 or the Duramax 6.6L Turbo–Diesel V8.
The Chevrolet Express Cutaway comes fitted with a standard Hydra–Matic 6–speed automatic transmission that includes Tap–Up/Tap–Down driver shift control and auto grade braking. Furthermore, the transmission is combined with the Tow/Haul mode system which raises upshift points to use more of the engine’s power for strong acceleration and raises downshift points to help slow the vehicle using engine braking.
Ride and suspensions
The Chevrolet Express is built on ladder-type full frame architecture. The frame features fully boxed sections for greater strength and rigidity, while extended and tapered front frame rails are used for improved crashworthiness. The vehicle features an independent short-long arm front suspension and a 35mm front stabilizer bar while the rear gets a two-stage semi-elliptic multi-leaf springs configuration. Thanks to this configurations, the ride is pretty forgivable, while the road stability is also maintained well especially when you have some weight at the back.
The rack and pinion steering lacks any noticeable free play right off center and motions of the wheel translate directly into sharp directional changes. On the other hand, it is a bit too light for our tastes and you don’t get too much feedback either. Though, we won’t complain too much, as here we are talking about a commercial vehicle and not a sports car.
The Chevrolet Express Cutaway is equipped with a host of safety features, including optional head curtain side air bags, standard driver and passenger airbags, StabiliTrak, tire pressure monitoring system, four-wheel anti-lock disc brake system with Hydroboost and daytime running lamps.
Despite the overall look, which seems a bit dated, the Chevrolet Express Cutaway features a lot of advanced technologies to make it one of the best commercial vehicles available on today’s market.
The truck may not have a V10 engine option like other vehicles in the segment, but its V8 units offer plenty of power to get the job done without too much fuss. Similar with the exterior design, The cabin looks a bit dated, but offers a lot of space and the materials are also durable while the ergonomy is not too bad either. As a conclusion, with a towing capacity of up to 1900 kg the Chevrolet Express Cutaway has anything it need to be a reliable partner.