The 2021 Chevrolet Express is a simple-but-accommodating workhorse that’s available in both cargo- and passenger-van configurations . Three different powertrains are on offer, including a diesel, with a range of payload and towing capacities. The Express comes in both standard and long-wheelbase body styles, the latter of which enables the passenger van to provide seating for up to 15 people. Rivals such as the Ford Transit and the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter offer fresher designs and more contemporary technology features, but the well-proven Chevy—and its GMC clone, the Savana—is a staple of commercial fleets across America.
What’s New for 2021?
For 2021, Chevrolet has replaced the Express’s optional 6.0-liter V-8 with a new 6.6-liter mill borrowed from the Silverado HD pickup truck. The standard V-6 and optional diesel four-cylinder remain a part of the lineup. Long-wheelbase 3500 models with the optional 6.6-liter V-8 carry a 9900-lb gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR)—the maximum total weight of the vehicle, passengers, and cargo, and fluids. Models with the base V-6 sees an increase in their gross combined weight rating (GCWR)—the GVWR plus the weight of a trailer and its cargo—to 15,000 pounds. Cutaway models with the new V-8 and the optional Enhanced Towing Performance package offer a 12,300-lb GVWR and a 20,000 GCWR.
Pricing and Which One to Buy
There are nicer, more modern vans and SUVs on the market for carrying passengers, so we recommend the Express to buyers looking for a strong-like-bull work truck for hauling tools, equipment, or cargo. The base-model 2500 Cargo Van is a good place to start. The standard wheelbase is 135 inches; the extended wheelbase stretches to 155 inches. The Express 2500 rides on 16-inch steel wheels, and it comes standard with halogen headlights. Within the cabin, there’s an AM/FM stereo with MP3 compatibility and two front-door speakers as well as a backup camera.
Engine, Transmission, and Performance
Chevy’s Express gives buyers a choice of powertrains. There’s a 4.3-liter V-6 good for 276 horsepower and 298 lb-ft of torque, and it’s mated with an eight-speed automatic transmission. For those seeking a bit more muscle under the hood there’s a 6.6-liter V-8. It produces 401 horsepower and 464 lb-ft of torque, and it’s teamed with a six-speed automatic gearbox. The most fuel-efficient pick is the 2.8-liter four-cylinder diesel engine. Governed by an eight-speed automatic, it generates 181 horsepower and 369 lb-ft of torque. This van is capable of towing up to 7000 pounds, and it can accommodate a payload of up to 4280 pounds. The Express handles like the big vehicle that it is. Still, its engine lineup is competent, generating the power needed to tackle the task of towing a trailer or hauling a full load of passengers.
Fuel Economy and Real-World MPG
Full-size vans such as the Express are exempt from federal fuel-economy standards. As a result, this van hasn’t been tested by the EPA, and Chevy hasn’t made its fuel-economy figures available.
Interior, Comfort, and Cargo
The Express passenger van seats up to 15 passengers. As is typical for full-size vans, the Express tends to go for very long intervals between redesigns. This Chevy is still in its first generation, and it hit the market way back in 1996. Its age is evident in its cabin design, which looks dated by modern standards. The Mercedes-Benz Sprinter, which was redesigned in 2019, offers a cabin that looks much more premium and contemporary. Unfortunately, a high-roof cargo option isn’t available with the Express, so be prepared to slump and stoop if you’re placing goods in the rear of the van.
Infotainment and Connectivity
The base-model Express comes with an AM/FM stereo, and all models are Wi-Fi capable. On the options list, there’s a Communications package that adds Bluetooth connectivity. This bundle also includes SiriusXM satellite radio and a CD player. The list of available features also includes a 6.5-inch color touchscreen and a navigation system. Relative to the interface offered by other Chevy vehicles, the available touchscreen looks and feels long in the tooth.
Safety and Driver-Assistance Features
The 2021 Chevy Express hasn’t been crash-tested by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) or the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). However, it comes with a reasonably up-to-date range of optional driver-assistance features designed to help keep you safe on the road. Key safety features include:
- Available blind-spot monitoring
- Available lane-departure warning
- Available forward-collision warning
Warranty and Maintenance Coverage
The Express’s warranty coverage is solid, but rivals such as the Nissan NV provide longer protection.
- Limited warranty covers 3 years or 36,000 miles
- Powertrain warranty covers 5 years or 60,000 miles
- Complimentary maintenance is covered for 1 year or 1 visit
More Features and Specs