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2019 Chevrolet Express Passenger Van

$34,900 - $38,000
Price Range (MSRP)
Chevrolet Express Passenger Van

2019 Chevrolet Express Passenger Van Review: Supersized Sardine Can

by Roger Biermann

The 2019 Chevrolet Express Passenger Van remains part of the first Express generation introduced more than two decades ago in 1996. With engine options ranging from a 4.3-liter V6 making 276 horsepower and 298 lb-ft of torque, to two 6.0-liter V8's (one Vortec and one FlexFuel, with outputs of 341 hp and 372 lb-ft), as well as a 2.8-liter turbo-diesel four-cylinder unit that kicks out 181 hp and 369 lb-ft, the van can be extensively customized. The powertrain is mated to either an eight-speed automatic transmission or a heavy-duty six-speed auto, that services the rear-wheel-drivetrain. It can also be had in a regular or extended wheelbase variation, resulting in numerous configurations to suit most passenger and payload needs. There's a lot to be offered by the Express Passenger Van especially in the way of practicality and versatility, but it's an outdated vehicle, mostly unchanged since its inception and has only received minor updates to help keep it somewhat current. It's a tough option to recommend when its competitors are better in many regards, with the Ford Transit Passenger Van offering more contemporary tech, and the Nissan NV Passenger presenting as better value for money overall.

2019 Chevrolet Express Passenger Van Changes: What’s the difference vs 2018 Express Passenger Van?

For 2019, lane departure warning and forward collision alert have been made standard on Express LT trim, and as an optional extra available for the Express LS. The Express Passenger Van is otherwise unchanged for the new model year.

Pros and Cons

  • Potent V8 engine option
  • Impressive max payload capacity
  • Decent max tow capability
  • Subpar fuel economy estimates
  • Cabin design and features are outdated
  • Boat-like handling dynamics
  • No high-roof version

Express Passenger Van Exterior

The Express Passenger Van is a lengthy, box-shaped van with a body fabricated of hard straight edges and lines; it presents with a solid stance and bold front grille. As standard, the Express Passenger Van rides on 16-inch steel wheels and is fitted with Solar-Ray deep-tinted enhanced-tech glass, and swing-out rear cargo and side door windows. Dual-halogen composite headlights and daytime running lights comprise exterior lighting. The LT trim boasts minor chrome exterior accents, including its grille and front and rear bumper, while the remainder of the range is fitted with standard black features.

2019 Chevrolet Express Passenger Van Front View Driving
2019 Chevrolet Express Passenger Van Front Angle View
2019 Chevrolet Express Passenger Van Rear Angle View
See All 2019 Chevrolet Express Passenger Van Exterior Photos

Dimensions

There are two wheelbase configurations available for the Express Passenger Van: the regular wheelbase (RWB) of 132 inches has a total body length of 224.1 inches, stands 83.9 inches tall, and is 79.2 inches wide. The extended wheelbase (EWB) variant is 20 inches longer than the regular wheelbase model, with an overall length of 244.1 inches with a 155-inch wheelbase. Curb weights range from 5,991 pounds for the 2500 LS RWB to 6,408 lbs for the 3500 LT EWB.

Express Passenger Van Performance

2019 Chevrolet Express Passenger Van Front Angle View
2019 Chevrolet Express Passenger Van Gauge Cluster
2019 Chevrolet Express Passenger Van Engine

Engine and Transmission

There are four engines and two transmission options available for the Express Passenger Van. Firstly, a 4.3-liter V6 engine with outputs of 276 hp and 298 lb-ft mated to an eight-speed automatic gearbox is the standard configuration. It's powerful enough to propel the van through its full drive range consistently, and offers good, smooth gear shifts in this variation. Two 6.0-liter options are also available, each making 341 hp and 373 lb-ft through a six-speed heavy-duty auto - these V8 offerings are potent and responsive, pushing the van to speed quickly and easily, even when fully loaded. Primary differences between the two V8's pertain to the Vortec versus FlexFuel composition. Finally, a 2.8-liter turbo-diesel four-pot producing 181 hp and 369 lb-ft can be had and is a robust hauler too. Although lower in horsepower, it offers better fuel consumption and greater torque, albeit at the cost of lower towing capacities than the V8.

  • Engines
    2.8-liter Turbo Inline-4 Diesel, 4.3-liter V6 Gas, 6.0L V8 Vortec®, 6.0-liter V8 Gas
  • Transmission
    8-Speed Automatic
  • Drivetrain
    RWD

Handling and Driving Impressions

The Express Passenger Van is a massive vehicle, and its size and weight are obvious detriments to its handling dynamics and ride feel. That said, however, it's surprisingly easy to drive; its steering is vague, and it handles sloppily, but it's strapping powertrain configurations move it around smoothly and predictably. Its braking performance meets industry standards which is expected of a vehicle in this class. This is also impressive considering that it has a maximum towing capacity of a hefty 9,600 lbs. The Express's standard suspension system dampens typical undulations effectively, and most minor road imperfections are absorbed just fine. More prominently broken road surfaces will be felt throughout the cabin, though, and a heavier load of passengers or cargo will unavoidably impact the effectiveness of the suspension.

Express Passenger Van Gas Mileage

EPA estimates for the Express Passenger Van will vary substantially between the different powertrain and wheelbase configurations, and is dependent on the payload onboard as well, as how much cargo is in tow. With the 6.0-liter V8 engine comes the six-speed automatic gearbox, which return a combined average fuel consumption rate of 14 mpg; this improves marginally with the 2.8-liter turbo-diesel equipped, at 15 mpg combined. The Express is equipped with a 31-gallon gas tank which, when filled, allows the Express to travel around 465 miles before running empty.

  • Fuel Tank Capacity
    31.0 Gallons
* 2019 Chevrolet Express RWD 2500 135" LT

Express Passenger Van Interior

2019 Chevrolet Express Passenger Van Dashboard
2019 Chevrolet Express Passenger Van Steering Wheel
2019 Chevrolet Express Passenger Van Central Console
See All 2019 Chevrolet Express Passenger Van Interior Photos

Seating and Interior Space

There is seating for up to 12 passengers in the RWB Express Passenger Van, and for up to 15 in the EWB variant. There are no high-roof configurations available for the Express so taller passengers will have to hunch over when entering. Legroom from behind the second row of seats becomes considerably minimal too. The driver is positioned ergonomically behind the controls and has a commanding view of the road; the driver's seat and steering wheel feature appropriate levels of adjustability too. The vinyl or cloth seats are moderately comfortable and are spacious enough to all be occupied by adults - the restrictive legroom is a significant negative though.

  • Seating capacity
    12-seater

Express Passenger Van Trunk and Cargo Space

There's a decent 92.1 cubic feet of room behind the final row of rear seats in the regular wheelbase Express, and 127.2 cubes in the extended wheelbase variant. The latter figure is cut down immensely when configured with seating for 15 passengers. While this is competitive for the segment, hitching a trailer is necessitated when catering for the luggage of all passengers. The back-row seats are 50/50 split-folding for added storage versatility, and the rear doors open 180 degrees outward in a 50/50 split for convenience and ease of use.

On the front doors are moderately sized pockets that do not hold bottles. Between the front seats, there are three cup holders and a moderately sized slide-out console; there are also a couple of open compartments in the center dash for smaller items, and a passenger-side dash storage tray located just above the large passenger-side glove box. There is only a single cup holder available for the second and third-row seats.

2019 Chevrolet Express Passenger Van Rear Passenger Seats
2019 Chevrolet Express Passenger Van Rear Angle View
2019 Chevrolet Express Passenger Van Rear Angle View

Express Passenger Van Infotainment and Features

Features

Standard features in the base Express LS 2500 trim include power windows and door locks, a driver information display, vinyl upholstery and flooring, manual air conditioning for the front and rear cabin, a rearview camera, and GM's OnStar and Chevrolet connected communications. The Express LS 3500 trim gets a tilt-only steering column, cruise control, Wi-Fi capabilities and the Driver Convenience package as stands. Moving up to LT models sees remote locking and unlocking, cloth upholstery and carpeted flooring, cruise control, 12-volt and 120-volt outlets, and a deluxe front console with storage bin. All LT trims also get forward collision alert and lane departure warning as standard. A rearview camera with the display projected via the rearview mirror can be ordered on any van not fitted with the touchscreen.

Infotainment

Infotainment offerings are sparse, to say the least. As standard, every Express Passenger Van comes with an AM/FM stereo tethered to a two-speaker audio system with MP3 capability and auxiliary port device connectivity. GM's OnStar communications system comprises in-vehicle security, emergency services, hands-free calling, turn-by-turn navigation, and remote diagnostics systems. A 6.5-inch diagonal color touchscreen display with GPS-based navigation, Bluetooth audio streaming, and voice command is a standalone option for all trims, as is a USB port and single-CD player.

Express Passenger Van Problems and Reliability

There have been three recalls commissioned for the 2019 Chevrolet Express Passenger Van, one pertaining to a delayed seatbelt-unfastened warning, another for incorrect rear-quarter window glass, and another for reversed back-up camera display image. A host of complaints can also be found online regarding this vehicle. Still, the Chevrolet Express Passenger Van is covered by a three-year/36,000-mile bumper-to-bumper and corrosion warranty and a five-year/60,000-mile powertrain warranty and roadside assistance.

Express Passenger Van Safety

The NHTSA has only evaluated the Express Passenger Van for its rollover crashworthiness in which it earned a sub-par three out of five stars. Neither the NHTSA nor the IIHS are able to provide an overall safety rating for this van. The scanty base-level selection of safety features include two standard airbags, a StabiliTrak, electronic stability control system with traction control, a tire pressure monitoring system, hill start assist, and a rear vision camera. The LT also gets lane departure warning and forward collision alert.

Verdict: Is 2019 Chevrolet Express Passenger Van a good Minivan?

The Chevrolet Express Passenger Van is not the best passenger van on the market; although it offers all the practicality and basic necessities required from an affordable passenger carrier, it isn't as contemporary as its more modernized rivals that are available at around the same price. Most rivals also handle better than the Express and many offer high-roof configurations - both factors that would greatly improve passenger comfort overall. It's also a significantly bare-bones vehicle, released without the expected tech and infotainment functionalities that most modern vehicles come with as standard. And, safety features are meager. Where the Express does deliver is in its practicality and versatility, offering impressive levels of cargo room and a brilliant maximum towing capability; it also offers seating configurations for either eight, 12, or 15 passengers. Over the years the Express has also established a solid reputation for reliability despite a low J.D. Power rating and has become one of the easier vans to find second-hand parts for. Rivals are, however, better all-rounders and should be considered before opting for the Express Passenger Van.

What's the Price of the 2019 Chevrolet Express Passenger Van?

The Express Passenger Van is reasonably priced; the 2500 LS is priced from $34,900, while the 2500 LT starts at $37,000. The 3500 regular wheelbase trims at an MSRP of $37,200 for the LS and $38,900 for the LT, while the 3500 extended wheelbase carries a base MSRP of $38,000. Prices are excluding Chevrolet's destination and freight charge of $1,295 as well as any tax, registration, or licensing fees. The 6.0-liter V8 engine option will cost an additional $995 to the base price, the FlexFuel option adds $1,295, and the 2.8-liter turbo-diesel an extra $3,995.

2019 Chevrolet Express Passenger Van Models

Trim Engine Transmission Drivetrain Price (MSRP)
2500 LT
4.3-liter V6 Gas
8-Speed Automatic
Rear-Wheel Drive
$34,900
2500 LS
4.3-liter V6 Gas
8-Speed Automatic
Rear-Wheel Drive
$34,900
3500 LS
4.3-liter V6 Gas
8-Speed Automatic
Rear-Wheel Drive
$37,200
3500 LT
4.3-liter V6 Gas
8-Speed Automatic
Rear-Wheel Drive
$37,200
See All 2019 Chevrolet Express Passenger Van Trims and Specs

What Chevrolet Express Passenger Van Model Should I Buy?

There are three decisions to be made when considering the Express Passenger Van: which trim line, which powertrain configuration, and which body length. For greater comfort and convenience, the 3500 LT will be the best option by virtue of the cloth upholstery, carpeted flooring, and other conveniences it gets over the LS, along with some active safety features too. The 6.0-liter V8 engine is the recommended powertrain as it handles a greater payload capacity than the other two options, without using much more fuel. The standard-wheelbase trims offer seating configurations for eight or twelve passengers and the extended wheelbase variants for twelve or fifteen. That decision comes down to the buyers' personal requirements in terms of seating and cargo, as the standard-wheelbase variant also offers a greater towing capacity of 400 lbs extra. We also suggest ticking the box for the Chevrolet infotainment system which throws in the 6.5-inch touchscreen and GPS-navigation.

Check out other Chevrolet Express Styles?

2019 Chevrolet Express Passenger Van Comparisons

2019 Chevrolet Express Passenger Van
2019 Chevrolet Express Passenger Van

2019 Chevrolet Express Passenger Van vs Ford Transit Passenger Van

The entry-level Ford Transit Passenger Van costs around $1,000 more than the base Express Passenger Van but comes with a more comprehensive standard features list. This includes a tilt and telescoping steering column and a four-speaker audio system, while the upper trims come standard with a four-inch infotainment display, and a CD player. In comparison, the upper-level Express needs to have these added via the options list. Ford's SYNC 3 infotainment software, which is standard in all Transit trims, is also a great benefit of the Transit considering the passenger focus of the segment. There is a far more expansive range of seating and style configurations available for the Transit as well. Both vehicles offer a total passenger capacity of up to 15, but the Transit only offers a maximum towing capability of 4,900 lbs, which is almost half of what the Express manages. Ford's powertrain options are also powerful and match the Express in terms of fuel-efficiency. In every other respect, barring towing capacity, the Transit is the better vehicle all-round.

See Ford Transit Passenger Van Review

2019 Chevrolet Express Passenger Van vs Nissan NV Passenger

The NV Passenger is priced similarly to the Ford Transit - only marginally more expensive than the Express at entry point to the range; but, it is a far more modern and feature-filled vehicle. The base NV models come with a seven-inch infotainment touchscreen with Bluetooth and a USB-charging port, four-speaker audio system, and CD player - along with a selection of other features as standard which already proclaim the NV's value over the Express. There are even more appealing luxury-centric elements in the upper-level trims of the NV that aren't available for the Express at all. The NV doesn't offer a seating layout for up to 15 passengers as the Express does, and has a slightly less impressive tow rating of only 8,700 lbs, but is equipped with three-rows of configurable bench seats which are more versatile. The NV offers a more passenger-oriented experience and is far more suitable to a family than the Express, which would better suit a ride service company with its focus on practicality.

See Nissan NV Passenger Review

Chevrolet Express Passenger Van Popular Comparisons