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3/4 Front Glamour 2013 Chevrolet Express 3500

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Expert's Rating

3.9Good

MPG 11 City / 17 Highway
Pros
  • Lots of cargo room
  • Easy to load from rear
  • Many standard safety features
Cons
  • Poor fuel economy
  • Not easy to drive
  • Limited rear visibility
, Automotive Editor -
The Express 3500?s lack of standard features doesn't stand out too badly in a full-size van market where this has become the norm.

Introduction

For over three decades, buyers adapted the Chevrolet G-Series chassis for a variety of uses: ambulances, small RVs, box trucks, passenger vans and cargo vans. In 1996, Chevy replaced the aging do-it-all van with the more modern Express -- although it was new, it looked like a restyled G-Series van.

The big boy of the Express lineup – the 3500 model – is relatively unchanged for 2013, having only a few extra optional features: a rearview camera, rear parking assist and navigation.

With a focus on versatility, the Express 3500 can be configured as a passenger van or cargo van, and in two wheelbases: 135 inches and 155 inches. The passenger van comes standard with seating for 12 people; buyers can opt for eight- or 15-passenger seating. The cargo van maximizes utility with two seats up front and a large cargo area in the rear.

The Express 3500 features a standard 4.8-liter V8 that cranks out 280 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque. If that’s not enough for you, Chevrolet also offers a 6-liter V8 with 324 horsepower and 373 pound-feet of torque available, as well as a biodiesel-ready 6.6-liter Duramax V8 diesel engine with 260 horsepower and a tow-happy 525 pound-feet of torque.

That these vans are built to haul some serious cargo is made evident by the Express 3500’s max GVWR of 9,900 pounds; maximum conventional towing rating of 10,000 pounds; and 4,394-pound maximum payload rating.

The big van is not without its flaws, however. As customers who need family haulers have turned away from full-size vans, General Motors has whittled the 3500 lineup to a few no-frills trim levels. Sure, you can still get plenty of amenities, but they're now expensive options, rather than part of value-oriented trim level packages.

Which Style To Buy?

2013 Chevrolet Express 3500
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2013 Chevrolet Express 3500 Work Van

Recommended for: Buyers who own a business that requires a cargo van to perform daily duties

The base Work Van is only available only as a cargo van. Features include a 4.8-liter V8 producing 280 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque; a six-speed automatic transmission; black bumpers with a step pad; daytime running lights; light-tinted glass; a black grille and side-view mirrors; 16-inch steel wheels; air conditioning; two front speakers and the provision required to install your own radio; dual-dome lighting setup; a pair of auxiliary 12-volt power outlets; and vinyl seating.

2013 Chevrolet Express 3500
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2013 Chevrolet Express 3500 Diesel

Recommended for: Companies that require the extra horsepower and torque of a diesel engine

The Express 3500 Diesel features a 6.6-liter V8 turbo-diesel unit that produces 260 horsepower and 525 pound-feet of torque. It shares a standard equipment list with the Work Van.

2013 Chevrolet Express 3500
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2013 Chevrolet Express 3500 LS

Recommended for: Buyers looking for a basic van to haul up to 12 passengers

The 2013 Express 3500 LS is the base version of the 12-passenger model. Standard features include: a 4.8-liter V8; a six-speed automatic transmission; a black bumper with a rubber step; a black grille and side-view mirrors; 16-inch steel wheels; air conditioning; an AM/FM audio system with two speakers; vinyl flooring and seats; OnStar with six months of free service; a PASS-Key III theft-deterrent system; and a pair of 12-volt auxiliary power outlets.

2013 Chevrolet Express 3500
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2013 Chevrolet Express 3500 2LS

Recommended for: Buyers who need a basic van to haul 12 passengers and the added torque of a diesel engine

Building on the LS, an Express 3500 2LS adds: a 6.6-liter V8 diesel engine that produces 260 horsepower and 525 pound-feet of torque.

2013 Chevrolet Express 3500
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2013 Chevrolet Express 3500 LT

Recommended for: Buyers who want extra amenities like cloth seating and rear climate control

The LT adapts the LS with comfort features that make it better suited for families: chrome bumpers, hubcaps and front grille; dual-composite headlights; remote keyless entry; rear heating and air conditioning; power windows and door locks; cloth seating; color-coded carpeting; a digital compass; and auxiliary lighting.

2013 Chevrolet Express 3500
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2013 Chevrolet Express 3500 2LT

Recommended for: Buyers who need the extra power and hauling capacity that a diesel engine offers

The 2LT adds a 6.6-liter turbo-diesel V8 to the LT, along with dual batteries and a 3.54-to-1 axle ratio.

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