The 2021 Chevrolet Express is a full-size van available as a cargo van or a passenger van. The commercial van segment is surprisingly diverse. The Chevy Express is the old guard of this class. While competitors have gotten more modern with more tech features, the Express is an old-fashioned, truck-like van with few frills but plenty of capability.
Let’s take a look at the Express and see if it’s the right van for your business or your family.
What’s New for 2021?
A powerful new 6.6-liter V8 engine is newly available in the Chevy Express for 2021 while the 6.0-liter V8 has been discontinued. The new V8 makes 401 horsepower and can tow up to 10,000 lbs. See the 2021 Chevrolet Express 2500 models for sale near you or See the 2021 Chevrolet Express 3500 models for sale near you
What We Like
- Capable engines
- Up to 15 seats
- Easy, low-cost maintenance
What We Don’t
- Generally outdated
- Few modern tech features
- Drives like an old-school van
- No four-wheel-drive option
- Less space than more modern rivals
$32,500 to $45,390
The EPA does not have fuel economy estimates for commercial vans in this class, but we can give you the performance specs for the three engines available in the 2021 Chevy Express.
The base engine is a 4.3-liter V6 that produces 276 horsepower and 298 lb-ft of torque. The standard V6 has a maximum towing capacity of 7,400 lbs.
An available 2.8-liter Duramax turbo-diesel inline-four engine makes 181 hp and 369 lb-ft of torque. The diesel can tow up to 7,000 lbs.
Finally, there’s a new 6.6-liter V8 engine available in the Express, which delivers 401 hp and 464 lb-ft of torque. This is a nice bump in performance compared to the outgoing V8 it’s replacing. This engine can tow up to 10,000 lbs.
Every Chevy Express is rear-wheel drive with no four-wheel-drive option available.
Standard Features & Options
The Chevy Express comes in two basic variants; cargo van and passenger van. They’re both available in a standard and extended wheelbase configuration. The cargo van only has one trim while the passenger van has two trims available.
The WT trim ($33,795 for 2500, $36,895 for 3500) stands for “work truck” which means it’s a pretty basic, bare-bones work van. Standard features include vinyl seats, air conditioning, a backup camera, a radio with an aux jack, power windows, and power door locks.
The base LS trim ($37,695 for 2500, $38,895 for 3500) of the passenger van has the same basic features as the WT model but adds 12 seats, rear HVAC vents, and a revised OnStar system with in-car wi-fi.
If you’ll be using the Express as a family van, you’ll probably want to upgrade to the LT model ($39,795 for 2500, $40,595 for 3500). This adds many more creature comforts like cloth seats, a carpeted floor, cruise control, a tilt steering column, power-adjustable mirrors, lane-departure warning, and forward-collision warning. It even adds a little exterior flair with chrome bumpers and a chrome grille. You can get up to 15 seats in the Express LT.
Various available options include rear parking sensors, blind-spot monitoring, a passenger-side sliding door, remote start, heavy-duty trailering equipment, a USB port, and more.
As of this writing, the 2021 Chevy Express has not been crash-tested by the NHTSA or the IIHS.
In terms of standard safety features, the Express is quite basic. It has a standard backup camera, stability control, anti-lock brakes, and side-curtain airbags in passenger van models. Available options include blind-spot monitoring, rear parking sensors, forward collision warning, lane-departure warning, and hill-start assist.
Behind the Wheel
The 2021 Chevy Express is an old-school, body-on-frame, rear-wheel-drive commercial van and for better or worse, it drives like one. Normally this wouldn’t be a complaint since vague handling and lots of body roll used to be par for the course in commercial vans. However, industry rivals have modernized a great deal in the last decade or so and Chevy just hasn’t kept up.
That said, we’re impressed with the range of engines available in this aging van. The base V6 is economical and gets the job done. We love that there’s a torquey diesel available while the new-for-2021 6.6-liter V8 has plenty of horsepower and towing muscle on tap. It might be overdue for a full redesign, but GM deserves some credit for keeping the engines in the Express relatively modern.
Other Cars to Consider
2021 Ford Transit — The Ford Transit is a best-seller in full-size vans and it’s not hard to see why. The Transit impresses with its high degree of customizability, an impressive range of capable and efficient engines, and the driving dynamics of a much smaller vehicle.
2021 Ram ProMaster — The Ram ProMaster is a full-size van with standard front-wheel drive, which makes for a ton of cargo/passenger space and a low load floor. It’s a great value choice in commercial vans with a lower starting price than the Express.
2021 Nissan NV — The Nissan NV is in the same vein of old-school commercial vans as the Express. Based on the Nissan Titan pickup, the NV is available with a V6 or V8, has a ton of interior space, and offers a lower starting price than the Express.
Used Mercedes-Benz Sprinter — The Sprinter is a great commercial van that does just about everything well. If you don’t mind a van with a few miles on it, the used market has plenty of Sprinter models available to suit your needs.
There’s no getting around it; the Chevy Express is a dinosaur. With other commercial vans on the market that are both more modern and more affordable, the Chevy struggles to stand out. That said, we like the new-for-2021 6.6-liter V8 engine, which gives the Express true truck-like capabilities. An Express in one of the basic trims with the big V8 would be a good workhorse if you need a no-nonsense van with good towing capabilities. Find a Chevrolet Express 2500 for sale or Find a Chevrolet Express 3500 for sale