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2015 Chevrolet City Express: New Car Review

Editor’s note: If you’re looking for information on a newer Chevrolet City Express, we’ve published an updated review: 2018 Chevrolet City Express Review.

 

The cargo-van segment is heating up, and the 2015 Chevrolet City Express is just one of several new vans that appeals to shoppers interested in combining city-friendly dimensions and maneuverability with a more fuel-efficient powerplant than traditional cargo vans tend to offer.

Rivals include the Ford Transit Connect and the Nissan NV200 — both of which debuted in the last few years. The City Express, new this year, is little more than a rebadged version of the NV200, designed to slot below the full-size Express cargo van in Chevrolet’s lineup.

In this case, rebadging isn’t necessarily a bad thing, because the City Express offers excellent fuel economy and a much superior driving experience compared to the full-size Express — especially if you’re in an urban environment. Still, the City Express and the NV200 are highly similar, and we suggest that you don’t sign the papers on one until you drive the other and see what kind of deals and incentives are available. See the 2015 Chevrolet City Express models for sale near you

What’s New for 2015?

The City Express is all new for the 2015 model year.  

What We Like

City-friendly road manners; strong fuel economy for a cargo van; reasonable pricing

What We Don’t

Very few style tweaks distinguish it from the NV200; a little smaller inside than it needs to be

How Much?

$22,900-$24,500

Fuel Economy

The front-wheel-drive City Express offers just one engine: a 2.0-liter 4-cylinder that makes 131 horsepower. It’s mated to a continuously variable automatic transmission. Fuel economy stands at 24 miles per gallon in the city and 26 mpg on the highway.

Standard Features & Options

The 2015 Chevrolet City Express is offered in two trim levels: the base-level LS and the upscale LT.

The City Express LS ($22,900) includes only the basics. It has traction control, for example, and anti-lock brakes, but you won’t get power mirrors, power locks or keyless entry. Other standard features include air conditioning, power windows, vinyl floor covering, six D-ring cargo hooks in back, side airbags and a 2-speaker sound system.

Given the small price jump to the LT ($24,500), you won’t find too many additional features in the higher trim level. It does add a few more convenience items, however, such as power locks, remote keyless entry, cruise control, power mirrors, Bluetooth and rear park assist.

The City Express also includes a range of options, including deep-tinted rear glass, a navigation system, SiriusXM Satellite Radio, a USB port for music and a backup camera.

Safety

The City Express comes standard with anti-lock brakes, front-side airbags and traction control. LT models also include rear park assist. While a backup camera is optional, the City Express doesn’t include any high-tech safety equipment such as a forward-collision alert system or rear cross-traffic alert.

Neither the NV200 nor the City Express has been crash-tested by the federal government’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration or the nonprofit Insurance Institute for Highway Safety as of this writing.

Behind the Wheel

First things first: The City Express isn’t luxurious. In fact, the cabin is full of cheap-looking plastics — the kind we’d usually criticize automakers for using. Since this is a cargo van with a focus on utility over appearance, though, we’ll let it slide this time.

Climb into the driver’s seat, however, and it’s clear that Nissan — and, by extension, Chevrolet — made the van’s driving experience just right. Yes, it feels like a van, considering that its dynamics and its acceleration aren’t exactly carlike, but it feels more like a car than any full-size van that we’ve ever driven. Admittedly, it’s a little slow — especially under a full load — as 131 hp isn’t much in today’s automotive world, but that’s the price you pay for 25 mpg in combined driving, which is a world better than the full-size Express.

We’re a little dismayed by the City Express’s cargo capacity. Standing at just under 123 cu ft., it’s more than most drivers will ever need, but for commercial businesses trying to deliver goods, it may not be enough. Even short-wheelbase versions of the Ford Transit Connect offer better cargo volume, while long-wheelbase models are far superior, with only a slight compromise in drivability and overall footprint. In other words, we think that the City Express might be a little smaller than it needs to be, so you’ll have to thoroughly check it out to decide whether it will be a good fit for you and your business.

Other Cars to Consider

Ford Transit Connect — The Transit Connect is more expensive than the City Express, but it boasts better highway fuel economy, a larger interior and better materials. It’s also offered with two wheelbases.

Nissan NV200 — Before signing the papers on a City Express, check out its Nissan NV200 mechanical twin. The Nissan is a little cheaper and has many of the same attributes as the City Express.

RAM C/V Tradesman — Essentially a Dodge Grand Caravan with a cargo area instead of seats, the C/V Tradesman has the most interior room of any smaller-sized, base-level van. It’s also the most powerful. Fuel economy suffers, though, and the van doesn’t offer side-hinged rear doors.

Autotrader’s Advice

The City Express LT is our pick of the lineup. For only a little more money than the base-level LS model, it offers several important convenience features such as remote keyless entry, power locks and cruise control. It also comes standard with park assist, which is always a feature that’s highly appreciated by anyone who’s spent time behind the wheel of a cargo van. Find a Chevrolet City Express for sale

 

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1 COMMENT

  1. Driving the Chevrolet City Express feels like a Golf Cart with a Bad Transmission. (Zero to Forty in 20 Seconds) MPG numbers are a joke The one I drive gets 22.5. The Stock Hub Caps started popping off at 2 days. Much to small for an average sized person. I doubt if it will last me 1 year. DC Power ports, Manual says that they are on all of the time but mine are switched. I think of it as a rolling death trap, very glad that it has lots of Air Bags. OK Good Points Electric Power Steering, good Turning Circle, Fold Down Passenger seat allows you to use it as a arm rest. I have driven it for 2 weeks and will be glad to see it gone, just hope that it does not take me with it.

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