2008 Chevrolet Express Performance

$6,360 - $7,640

2008 Chevrolet Express Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2008 Chevrolet Express was new.


Performance: 7.2

The Chevrolet Express isn't fun or easy to drive, but it does offer adequate driving dynamics among passenger vans. The Minneapolis Star Tribune writes, "I could become really comfortable driving the Express as a daily commuter vehicle."

Others are more critical of the less-than-engaging driving experience. Car and Driver says the van is "probably more fun than driving a school bus or a tractor. But then again, maybe not." Kelley Blue Book writes, "If you are used to a minivan, the Express Van may be more vehicle than you would like to drive."

Acceleration and Power

The Chevy Express has six engine options available between the work and passenger vans. Work vans in the 1500 series come with a 4.3-liter V6 Vortec engine, which makes 195 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque. Most 2500 work vans offer a 4.8-liter V8 standard with 279 horsepower and 294 pound-feet of torque; while most 3500 work vans have a 5.3-liter V8 that makes 301 horsepower and 325 pound-feet of torque and the 2500, 3500 and 3500 EXT passenger vans have a 6.0-liter Vortec engine with 323 horsepower and 373 pound-feet of torque. The Express' optional engines are a 5.3-liter E85 V8 with 301 horsepower and 325 pound-feet of torque and a 6.6-liter V8 Duramax Diesel. Automobile Magazine says all engines are mated to "smooth shifting four-speed automatic transmissions that feature a towing mode for carrying heavy loads."

Despite its size, most note the Express accelerates with confidence and the all the engines offer adequate power. Automobile Magazine says, "These engines may not be topped with the latest valvetrain technology, but they are proven powerplants with ample horsepower and abundant, low rpm torque." Only some of the Express trims are tested by the Environmental Protection Agency. The front-wheel drive 2500 vans should achieve 12 miles per gallon in the city and 16 on highways. According to the manufacturer's web site, the Express' fuel tank can hold approximately 31 gallons.

Some find the amount of gas the Chevy Express burns a waste -- Edmunds notes, "our Express swilled gasoline to the tune of 11 miles per gallon in mixed city and highway driving" -- but others offer perspective. "Fuel economy looks pretty bad if you're thinking of the Express as a family sedan," the Minneapolis Star Tribune reports. "But for use as a shuttle or work truck, it's not bad at all."

Handling and Braking

A body-on-frame construction combined with a ladder-type frame attempts to smooth the ride and keep body roll to a minimum. Consumer Guide says Express models "display little rough-road harshness and only minor float over crests and dips." The ride is also helped by an independent front suspension. However, Edmunds finds it "did an admirable job of controlling the big van's movements, but there's minimal, if any, feel for the road." Consumer Guide says the Express' power steering doesn't stop the van from feeling clumsy, "with a wide turning radius, copious cornering lean, and modest grip," but still, all "GM big vans respond with reasonable confidence in quick maneuvers."

To stop, all Expresses rely on four-wheel anti-lock disc brakes. StabiliTrak Electronic Stability Control System is standard for the passenger vans.


Part of the Chevy Express's appeal is its towing ability. The Express' payload ranges from 1,905 pounds to 4,147 pounds, dependent on trim, and maximum trailer weight ranges from 4,400 pounds to 10,000 when properly equipped. During test drives, several noticed the Express' standard towing mode keeps the ride steady. Topspeed.com says it "reduces the frequency and improves the predictability of transmission shifts when pulling a trailer or carrying a heavy load."

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