- New exterior color: Wheatland Yellow
Chevrolet Express can haul up to 15 people and their cargo. It also serves as the foundation for conversion vans upfitted by a number of aftermarket manufacturers.
Express is available in regular (135-inch / 3,429-mm) and extended (155-inch / 3,937-mm) wheelbase lengths, and can accommodate eight, 12 or 15 people. The 1500 Series vans include light-duty models rated at 7,300 pounds (3,311 kg) GVWR. The 2500 Series includes heavy-duty models rated at 8,600 pounds (3,901 kg) GVWR. The heavy-duty 3500 Series includes full-bodied cargo/passenger vans rated at 9,600 pounds (4,354 kg) GVWR with the 6.0L gas V-8 and 9,900 pounds (4,490 kg) with the Duramax 6.6L diesel.
Passenger models are offered in LS and LT trim levels. A wide range of models and configurations – including numerous powertrain options – offers many competitive advantages, with standard and available features that include:
A unique Express 3500 passenger van model with the Duramax 6.6L turbo diesel complements the model’s people-hauling capability with exceptional towing capacity. With the diesel engine, long-wheelbase models boast a GVWR of 9,900 pounds (4,490 kg), a GCWR of 17,000 pounds (7,711 kg) and towing rating of 9,700 pounds (4,400 kg).
Express design and exterior features
Express interior standard and available features
Express powertrains – 6.6L Duramax diesel
The Duramax turbo-diesel V-8 is offered in some Express models, delivering best-in-class torque and horsepower. Known by its “LGH” engine code, it is rated at 260 horsepower (194 kW) and 525 lb.-ft. of torque (711 Nm).
Introduced for 2011, this updated Duramax is more fuel-efficient – up to 11-percent greater fuel economy than the previous model – reduces NOx emissions by up to 63 percent and helps enable exceptional towing capacity. Among its new and enhanced features are:
A 30,000-psi (2,000 bar) piezo-actuated fuel injection system – capable of operating on ASTM grade B20 biodiesel – tht ensures more precise fuel delivery, improving emission performance.
To meet the more stringent emissions requirements, the LGH Duramax was designed with a robust EGR cooling system, along with revised turbocharger tuning that helps enhance EGR performance. It also has a large-capacity selective catalytic reduction system. In fact, the engine features the latest in emission control technology, making it the cleanest Duramax engine ever produced. NOx emissions are reduced by at least 63 percent, compared to the 2010 model. NOx emissions are controlled via a Selective Catalyst Reduction aftertreatment system that uses urea-based Diesel (Emission) Exhaust Fluid (DEF). The DEF is housed in a 5.83-gallon (20 L) tank and needs to be replenished about every 5,000 miles (8,000 km). Electrically heated lines feed the DEF to the emission system to ensure adequate delivery in cold weather.
The Duramax also includes GM’s second-generation diesel particulate filter system. Unlike most competitors, the Duramax regenerates its diesel particulate filter using a downstream injection of diesel fuel directly into the exhaust stream and can travel up to 700 miles (1,125 km) between regenerations – a 300-mile (482 km) increase over the previous Duramax engine. The use of downstream injection also helps improve engine life by eliminating concerns surrounding the possibility of diesel fuel contaminating engine oil, which can happen when fuel used for regeneration is introduced directly into the cylinder.
The Duramax also provides outstanding cold-weather performance, with microprocessor-controlled glow plugs capable of gas engine-like start performance in less than three seconds in temperatures as low as -20 degrees F (-29 C), without a block heater. The engine has been developed to operate for at least 200,000 miles (322,000 km) on a rough-duty cycle without the need for a major overhaul; and it is backed with a five-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty.
A fuel-operated heater (FOH) also is available for vans equipped with the Duramax 6.6L to quickly provide heat to the vehicle interior in cold weather. The seamlessly integrated system is designed into the Express chassis, saving customers the time and labor of upfitting an aftermarket system. The electronically controlled, fuel-operated heater operates automatically, turning on and off within parameters that include outside air temperature, fuel level, coolant temperature and whether the engine is running. It features a self-contained, pressurized auxiliary coolant heater (with a surge tank) that uses diesel fuel to generate up to 17,200 Btu/h (5 kW) of heating energy.
The Duramax engine is backed by GM’s Hydra-Matic 6L90 heavy-duty six-speed automatic transmission.
Express powertrains – gas/FlexFuel engines
Chevrolet Express offers a choice of four engines. Standard on 2500 passenger and cargo vans is a 4.8L V-8 that cranks out 279 horsepower (208 kW) and 294 lb.-ft. of torque (398 Nm).
G1500 and H1500 passenger models and H1500 cargo and conversion models, meanwhile, are powered by the 5.3L V-8. It delivers 310 horsepower (231 kW) and 334 lb.-ft. of torque (453 Nm), providing segment-leading acceleration.
A FlexFuel E85 version of the 5.3L V-8 is available. It delivers the same horsepower and torque as its gasoline counterpart, while running on E85 ethanol fuel or a mixture of E85 and gasoline. E85 comprises of 85 percent ethanol, a renewable fuel produced domestically.
Those seeking more power can opt for the 6.0L V-8 – the segment’s most powerful V-8. It delivers 323 horsepower (241 kW) and 373 lb.-ft. of torque (505 Nm), and for 2011 features a fast-idle option, making it easier to run a host of accessories while idling at a worksite.
The 4.8L, 5.3L and 6.0L engines are part of GM’s Gen IV small-block V-8 engine family. Designed for quiet operation, these engines include:
Backing the engines’ quietness is the assurance of long-lasting performance. The engine family was validated under extreme conditions, with the 6.0L engine dynamometer-tested to the equivalent of 200,000 miles – 50,000 miles more than other engines in the family. The engines also feature many long-life engine components that can reduce maintenance intervals and costs. The iridium-tip spark plugs, engine coolant, accessory drive belt and sealing gaskets are some of these items.
Some of the stringent durability testing included cycling engines between the peak torque and peak horsepower rpm points – the equivalent of towing a heavy trailer up a steep grade – for 600 straight hours.
The Gen IV V-8 is also engineered to meet stringent emissions standards. In fact, compared to truck engines of a decade ago, the Gen IV engine family is approximately 90-percent cleaner. Cast iron exhaust manifolds matched with dual close-coupled catalytic converters help reduce cold-start emissions, which is the largest source of vehicle emissions.
Models equipped with 4.8L and 5.3L engines are matched with the Hydra-Matic 4L60 four-speed automatic transmission. The 6.0L V-8 is backed by the Hydra-Matic 6L90 six-speed automatic.
Express chassis and suspension
The Express is built on a strong, ladder-type full frame architecture. The frame features fully boxed sections for greater strength and rigidity, while extended and tapered front frame rails are used for improved crashworthiness. Also, additional tubular frame cross members are used to increase torsional stiffness.
All models feature an independent short-long arm (SLA) front suspension. A 33mm front stabilizer bar is featured on 1500-series models and a 35mm bar is used on 2500 and 3500 models. Two-stage semi-elliptic multi-leaf springs are used in the rear suspension and help locate a semi-floating axle.
Additional chassis and suspension features include:
Express safety and crash avoidance features
Express is equipped with a host of safety features, including head curtain side air bags. They’re standard on all passenger vans and provide a higher level of protection in the event of a side impact or a vehicle rollover. Also standard on 12- and 15-passenger models is Enhanced Technology Glass (ETG) for superior occupant retention. Additional safety features include: