Apart from some minor color changes, the only new addition to the 2014 Express line is a Crew model, which is essentially a cargo van with seating for five passengers...more
Full-size vans have long been a staple of Chevrolet's lineup, even if they've typically been more popular with commercial clientele than consumers. The Express, which debuted in 1996, marked GM's first major van redesign in nearly twenty years, but the model hasn't been kept so modern since then. An extensive overhaul was performed in 2010, which ushered in a new nose, a redesigned instrument panel, and all-wheel drive for 1500 (light-duty) models. Express passenger vans are offered in two different lengths and can seat up to fifteen passengers -- perfect for hauling your New Christy Minstrels cover band from gig to gig.
The Express may be older than dirt, but as it has since the beginning, Chevrolet's full-size van soldiers on with few changes. That's understandable, considering that the purchase of a full-size passenger van isn't usually hinged on flashy, technological features -- instead, it usually comes down to available seating. Regular-wheelbase 1500, 2500, and 3500 models seat up to eight, while long-wheelbase (heavy-duty) 2500s and 3500s can be ordered in fifteen-passenger form. In a new twist, Express cargo vans are also now available in a crew-van guise, which provides a second-row bench for three passengers -- or, more likely, employees.
A 310-hp, 5.3-liter V-8 is standard on Express 1500 passenger vans. Express 2500 and 3500 passenger vans come with a 285-hp, 4.8-liter V-8 as standard equipment, while a 342-hp, 6.0-liter V-8 is optional. 2014 Express 3500 models are also available with a 260-hp, 6.6-liter Duramax turbo-diesel V-8.
Inside, the 2014 Express seems frozen in time. Interior materials are basic, hard-wearing plastics; vinyl seats and rubberized flooring are standard on LS-grade models, and there's even a vestigial doghouse engine cover protruding from the firewall. The few modern advancements include an optional rearview camera, available SiriusXM satellite radio, and an optional a USB audio input. Stability control is standard on all 2014 Express models.
The full-size-van status quo has worked for years, but will it still? Nissan's NV range introduced new amenities to the segment, and both Ford and Ram are launching more sophisticated, European-designed vans. Will the Express hold its own with traditionalist buyers or quickly fall to the back of the pack? We'll know more very soon.
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