THE 2012 CHEVROLET EXPRESS CARGO VAN 2500 REVIEW
Full Review by Andy: The General’s Monstro-Mobile
As of this writing, a Google search of the exact phrase “2012 Chevrolet Express 2500” returns approximately 48,000 results. Most are a linked to dealership websites and inventory lists. The phrase “2012 Chevrolet Camaro” returns over 10 million results, introducing a torrent of gushing gearheads fantasizing over the latest muscle car magic from The General. The moral of this story is that the Chevy Express van is not a poster on any 14-year old boy’s wall or the subject of a Jeremy Clarkson rant. It is a vehicle of impeccable practicality and functionality, designed for labor and transport. Introducing the total absence of automotive excitement: the 2012 Chevy Express 2500 Cargo.
What Does It Look Like?
Normally, an automotive review would include clever commentary on the exterior of a vehicle, either caustically condemning its bad taste or lionizing its racy design while referencing one Kardashian female. However, as the appearance of the bulky, boxy Chevy Express 2500 is as inconsequential as whatever Paris Hilton happens to be tweeting, this review must do without the droll discourse.
Packin’ a Powertrain
The Express 2500 comes with a choice of three engines. Horsepower varies comparatively little between the three, but torque jumps from a base of 295 lb-ft with 4.8-liter V8 to a whopping 525 lb-ft of torque with the optional 6.6 turbocharged diesel V8. A flex-fuel V8 plays monkey in the middle and offers 373 lb-ft of torque. The base V8 is mated to a six-speed automatic transmission; the rest are paired with a four-speed automatic. Fuel economy hovers around 10/15 mpg. (Click here for the natural gas version.) The Express is one of the few full-size vans available with AWD.
The Express 2500 Cargo drives like a white man dances. Professional drivers attempted to record its 0-60 mph time but lost direction along the way. Learning how to park requires a CDL. The Express’s turning circle is so large that it has to take out a permit to do the hokey-pokey. However, the Chevy’s dire driving dynamics are on par with the GMC Savana and Ford E-Series. The Mercedes-Benz Sprinter and Ford Transit are superior drivers but cannot tow as much. The Express can pull between 6,700 pounds and 10,000 pounds. Properly equipped, the Express has a payload of 3,309 pounds, equivalent to 41,235 Twinkies. Exact figures depend on drivetrain, engine, wheelbase, and weight of individual Twinkies.
The 2012 Chevrolet Express 2500 Cargo van has class-competitive safety features. In a segment noteworthy for mediocrity, that is more demerit than congratulations. One notable addition is standard OnStar, which offers services such as road-side assistance, automatic crash response, turn-by-turn navigation, and more. In its sole crash test, the Express won three out of five stars for rollover protection.
Comfort & Cargo
Essentially, the Express is a mobile suitcase. It has no pomp or circumstance. It is a lunch box on steroids and outfitted as such, with little more than handles and doors. Judging by the quality of materials and comfort, the front seats were made in Indonesian sweatshops by laborers toiling for $1.25 a day. One would think that in a vehicle the automotive equivalent of Moby Dick that the two front passengers would have legroom. However, the obtrusive engine cover effectively negates forward lounge room.
Thankfully, the Express’s gargantuan cargo hold is heaven on earth for construction crews, furniture movers, and other workingmen of America. In base form, the Express boasts 239.7 cubic feet of cargo space. Chevy quotes a maximum cargo capacity of 270.4 cubic feet, identical to the GMC Savana, competitive with the Ford E-Series, and more than the Ford Transit Connect. Maximum storage space balloons to 313.9 cubic feet with extended-wheelbase models. The high-roof Nissan NV and Mercedes Sprinter offer much more cargo space, albeit at a higher price tag.
As said by the Ghost of Christmas Past, a la Dickens: “If [auto manufacturers] were measured by kindness, you’d be no bigger than a speck of dust!” Like Scrooge, Chevrolet opted to allow its Bob Cratchit customers to suffer in silence. In base form, the Express 2500 Cargo has A/C, two-doors, four wheels, and an exhaust pipe. Given enough greenbacks, the van can be equipped with any number of cost-effective options for work, comfort, or convenience. The Express is one of the most affordable full-size vans available but lacks high-end options.
Looking for an affordable transport Monstro-mobile? Look no further.
4.8-liter V8: 280 hp@5,200 rpm/295 lb-ft of torque @4,600 rpm
6.0-liter V8: 323 hp/373 lb-ft of torque
6.6-liter turbocharged diesel V8: 260 hp@3,100 rpm/525 lb-ft of torque@1,600 rpm
Transmission: four-speed automatic, six-speed automatic
Fuel Economy: Embarrassing
Base MSRP: $26,595
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