Chevrolet Express' popularity reflects its versatility. It's a proven people hauler (up to 15), a durable and reliable commercial vehicle and is the foundation for safe, comfortable and luxurious conversion vans. Express is available in quarter-ton, half-ton and one-ton weight classes, in regular and long wheelbase and with a multitude of engine choices - some of which can be fueled with E85 ethanol, a domestically grown fuel.
Fresh from a substantial freshening that included enhanced safety features, the 2009 Express delivers the additional comfort and style of 17-inch wheels and tires on G1500 and H1500 (half ton) models. G1500 and H1500 models equipped with the 5.3L V-8 engine also see an increase in their Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) to 7,300 pounds. A more powerful 125-amp alternator is now standard on half-ton models with the 5.3L engine, and an engine oil cooler is now standard on models powered by the 4.3L V-6 engine.
Also standard for 2009 is a transmission oil cooler on Gross Combined Weight Rating (GCWR) applications greater than 14,000 pounds. Lastly, a fast-idle option is now available on models powered by the 6.0L V-8 engine, making it easier to run accessories while the vehicle is idling.
Chevrolet Express offers a choice of five engines. The base engine for light-duty Express Cargo models is the 4.3L V-6 with multi-port fuel injection. It delivers 195 horsepower (145 kW) and 260 lb.-ft. of torque (353 Nm) and features a central fuel injector that delivers a separate flow of fuel to six individual hybrid injectors for better performance and improved emissions.
Standard on 2500 Series cargo vans is a 4.8L V-8 that cranks out 279 horsepower (208 kW) and 294 lb.-ft. of torque (396 Nm).
G1500 and H1500 Passenger models and H1500 Cargo and Conversion models, meanwhile, are powered by the 5.3L V-8. It delivers 301 horsepower (224 kW) and 325 lb.-ft. of torque (439 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 is comprised of 85 percent ethanol, which is 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 (504 Nm), and for 2009 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:
Special friction-reducing polymer coating on piston skirts
Full-floating piston pins
Damping patch on the oil pan (externally mounted)
Timing chain tensioner
Strong engine cradles and mounting systems complement the quiet features of the engine. These systems help reduce vibrations transmitted through the chassis that vehicle passengers would otherwise feel.
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.
For customers who require maximum performance, Express offers the Duramax 6.6L turbo-diesel V-8 engine that delivers 250 horsepower (186 kW) and a class-leading 460 lb.-ft. of torque (624 Nm). It is teamed with the Hydra-Matic 4L85 electronically controlled four-speed automatic transmission, which is specially tuned for diesel engine compatibility, giving Express exceptional towing and grade capability.
The Duramax 6.6L turbo-diesel also delivers a quieter driving experience and enhanced fuel economy. It's available on G2500 and G3500 Express Cargo Van and Cutaway models. Features such as electronic throttle control, fast-heating glow plugs and easy-service items enhance the driving and ownership experience.
With the Duramax 6.6L, Express' maximum GVWR is 12,300, with a towing capacity of 10,000 pounds (4,538 kg) - specifications that meet or exceed those of the primary competitor. A 3.73 axle ratio is standard and the locking rear limited-slip differential is optional.
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.
Impressive safety features
Chevrolet Express is equipped with a host of safety features, including head curtain side air bags. They're standard on all passenger vans, available on cargo 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:
StabiliTrak - standard on all Express passenger van models
Tire pressure monitoring system - standard on all cargo and passenger models
Flat and convex exterior mirrors for a wider field of vision - standard on all cargo and passenger models
Lap and shoulder belts for the center seats - standard on all passenger models
Four-wheel anti-lock disc brake system with Hydroboost - standard on all Express models
Dynamic rear proportioning - standard on all Express models
Driver and front-passenger air bags - standard on all Express models
Daytime Running Lamps - standard on all Express models
Stable handling, precise steering, superior ride motion control and balance - as well as a quiet, isolated driving experience - are hallmarks of this vehicle. The frame features fully boxed sections for superior 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.
New wheels and tires
Seventeen-inch steel wheels replace 16-inch wheels on 2009 G1500 and H1500 models, and are outfitted with P245/70R17 all-season blackwall tires. Seventeen-inch aluminum wheels and P245/70R17 all-season white outlines tires are available on these models. Sixteen-inch wheels and matching LT245/75R16 all-season blackwall tires continue to be standard on other models.
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. Cargo vans, available in the same wheelbase lengths, offer seating for two. The cutaways, which can be converted to various commercial, school bus and RV requirements, are available in 139-inch (3,531-mm), 159-inch (4,039-mm) and 177-inch (4,496-mm) wheelbase lengths.
The 1500 Series vans include light-duty models rated at 7,300 pounds (3,311-kg) GVW. The 2500 Series includes heavy-duty models rated at 8,600 pounds (3,901 kg) GVW. The heavy-duty 3500 Series includes full-bodied cargo/passenger vans rated at 9,600 pounds (4,354 kg) GVW, and commercial and RV cutaway chassis, with GVW ratings of 9,900-14,200 pounds (4,490-6,441kg).
Chevrolet Express is assembled at the GM assembly plant in Wentzville, Mo.