Editor’s note: If you’re looking for information on a newer Chevrolet Express 2500, we’ve published an updated review: 2019 Chevrolet Express 2500 Review.
With the base-level Chevrolet Express 1500 gone, the 2015 Chevrolet Express 2500 — formerly the van’s middle trim — is now the base model. Chevy provides a 4.8-liter flex-fuel V8 as standard equipment, leaving the 1500’s formerly standard V6 gone for good. A 6.0-liter flex-fuel V8 is optional for 2500 passenger and cargo vans, and a 6.6-liter Duramax diesel is available for the 2500 cargo van. All three engine choices use a 6-speed automatic transmission.
If you’re comparing Express vans to Chevrolet Silverado pickups, consider that the vans provide a level of security for your cargo that a pickup never will. The vans will also keep your cargo dry, which can be especially important if your residence or business is located where snow often falls. Finally, most pickups are limited to six passengers, while the Express passenger van can accommodate up to 15 people. However, Chevy’s lineup of pickups and SUVs is typically more engaging and has enjoyed more updates over many years of production. See the 2015 Chevrolet Express 2500 models for sale near you
What’s New for 2015?
The Express is largely unchanged for 2015, except for two new standard features — GM’s OnStar system and an auxiliary music port — and a newly optional USB port that can be used for music.
What We Like
Just-right capability; spaciousness; affordability; covered cargo area
What We Don’t
Outdated design; inefficient engines; extremely low-rent base model
The engine choices available on the Express 2500 should fit most needs. A Vortec 4.8 liter V8 engine is standard and delivers 279 horsepower and 294 lb-ft of torque. With this setup, the Express 2500 can tow up to 7,400 pounds as a cargo van and 6,700 pounds as a passenger van (allowing for the higher weight of a fully equipped interior). Next is a 6.0-liter flex-fuel V8 good for 324 hp and 373 lb-ft of torque, which lets the Express 2500 tow up to 10,000 pounds in cargo form and up to 9,800 pounds as a passenger van. Opt for the 6.6-liter Duramax diesel, and you’ll enjoy diesel efficiency and longevity with up to 10,000 pounds of towing capability.
Given that all 2500s enjoy a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of more than 8,500 pounds, the Environmental Protection Agency doesn’t provide fuel economy figures. You can, however, estimate 11 to 12 miles per gallon in stop-and-go driving and between 15 and 17 mpg in highway driving regardless of engine choice.
Standard Features & Options
The 2015 Chevrolet Express 2500 is offered in three trim levels: a base-level Work model that comes only as a cargo van, and LS and LT trims offered as a passenger model.
The base-level Express 2500 Work ($30,500) comes with only the basics: vinyl seating, air conditioning, a newly standard auxiliary port for music and not much else. There aren’t even power locks, power windows or other niceties.
Step up to the LS ($32,900) trim and you’ll get a little more equipment, such as cruise control and power locks. More importantly, you’ll get seats; the LS is the van’s base-level passenger model.
Many more comfort and convenience features are standard on the Express 2500 LT ($35,000). Added items include keyless entry, cloth upholstery, power mirrors, power windows, power locks, a tilt-telescopic steering wheel and interior carpeting.
Shoppers can also choose from various options — even on the stripped-down Work model. Drivers who want a CD player, for instance, can add one, and the same goes for the van’s available power accessories. For shoppers interested in more luxury, Chevrolet also offers the Express with a navigation system, a rearview camera and an iPod/USB interface.
Four-wheel disc braking with anti-lock braking dynamic rear proportioning reduces the drama inherent in stopping a loaded truck. Also standard on all Express vans is StabiliTrak, GM’s electronic take on stability control. Available head curtain side airbags and standard lap and shoulder belts for center-seat passengers wrap up the safety menu. In the passenger van version of the Express, the ability to avoid an accident is enhanced by sweeping visibility, and drivers can now choose options such as a backup camera and rear parking sensors to aid in low-speed maneuvering.
Neither the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety nor the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has crash-tested the Express 2500.
Behind the Wheel
Ponderous proportions typically make for ponderous handling, and in this regard, the Express 2500 delivers as expected. To their credit, GM engineers have done an admirable job of providing the aging platform with a range of powerful V8 engine choices.
As a result, the Express 2500 goes about its business with a surprising degree of eagerness, regardless of engine choice. But despite the Express’s ability to navigate highways and byways, the arrival of recent competitors such as the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter has moved the needle regarding customer expectations. The industry has moved forward, and ultimately, GM will need to modernize the Express to keep up the pace.
The Express 2500 sacrifices some comfort for utility. The suspension is less compliant, and the tire choices are typically more rugged than on the 1500. On the other hand, the 2500’s handling and powertrain are less affected by load. Whereas the 1500 Express was limited to less than 7,000 pounds of towing capability with its 5.3-liter V8, the 2500 can pull up to 10,000 pounds with the 6.0-liter V8 or the 6.6-liter Duramax diesel.
If space can be construed as a luxury, the Express delivers it in spades. Considering that it’s a passenger van from Chevrolet, you’ll find the level of comfort serviceable. A visit to a van converter can provide all the additional luxury or decadence you have in mind.
Other Cars to Consider
Chevrolet Suburban — Yes, one of the most obvious competitors to the Chevrolet Express 2500 is in the same showroom. A Suburban will seat up to eight passengers, and while it doesn’t deliver the sheer cubic volume of the Express, it tops the van in terms of comfort and over-the-road demeanor.
Ford Transit — Ford’s all-new full-size van is also offered in cargo and passenger configurations. Unlike the Express, however, it boasts several fuel-efficient engine choices, modern driving dynamics and high-tech optional extras.
Mercedes-Benz Sprinter — The Sprinter offers impressive capability and efficiency in a considerably more modern package than the Express 3500, but it’s also more expensive.
We’d equip an 8-passenger 2015 Chevrolet Express 2500 LT with the optional 6.0-liter V8 engine and just enough comfort and convenience accessories to make it livable for a 3-week grand tour. It has room for everything a family of four could need, along with bike storage inside rather than on top of the vehicle. The Express would make an excellent base camp or a great tow vehicle for, say, a 25-foot Airstream. Even with navigation, Bluetooth and a backup camera, the price tag of the Express will stay under $37,000. Find a Chevrolet Express 2500 for sale