Chevrolet Express Cutaway Van - 2012

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New for 2012

  • New exterior color: Wheatland Yellow
  • Three-tank fuel tank configuration (Dedicated Compressed Natural Gas model)


Chevrolet Express Cargo is a versatile workhorse that is designed to make work easier and more accommodating. It is available in regular (135-inch / 3,429-mm) and extended (155-inch / 3,937-mm) wheelbase lengths.

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 models 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.

A wide range of features and configurations – including numerous powertrain options – offers many competitive advantages, with standard and available features that include:

  • Fuel-saving six-speed automatic transmissions
  • Right-hand (driver-side) cargo doors
  • All-wheel drive
  • Available 6.6L Duramax turbo diesel engine with B20 biodiesel capability
  • Available locking rear differential
  • Trailer rating of up to 10,000 pounds (4,535 kg) on 3500 models
  • StabiliTrak electronic stability control is standard on all models
  • SiriusXM Satellite Radio is offered with the available digital radio
  • A USB port is included with the available MP3-capable radio.

Express Cargo models are also available with a dedicated compressed natural gas package.

Express design and exterior features

  • Chrome appearance package is available and includes chrome front and rear bumpers and chrome grille with dual composite headlamps. Black-painted bumpers are standard.
  • Swing-out 60/40-split passenger-side doors are standard.
  • Sliding passenger-side door is available.
  • Swing-out 60/40-split driver-side doors are available.
  • Heated power-adjustable outside folding mirrors are available on all models.
  • Heated power-adjustable outside folding mirrors with turn signal indicators are available on all models.
  • Sixteen-inch steel wheels are standard.
  • Seventeen- steel wheels are available on half-ton models.
  • Ambulance prep package and hotel shuttle package are available.
  • Exterior colors include: Sandstone Metallic, Graystone Metallic, Dark Blue Metallic, Black, Dark Green Metallic, Summit White, Victory Red, Wheatland Yellow and Sheer Silver Metallic.

Express interior standard and available features

  • Air conditioning (single-zone) is standard.
  • Rear air conditioning is available.
  • A range of audio systems, including CD/MP3 capability and USB port, is available on all models. An audio system provision package is standard.
  • SiriusXM Satellite Radio is available.
  • Driver information center is standard on all models. A compass and outside temperature features are available.
  • A rear auxiliary heater is available.
  • An enhanced interior lighting package is available and includes three access panel lights and two roof-mounted lights in the cargo area.
  • Auxiliary 12-volt power outlets (two) are standard and located on the interior engine cover.
  • Remote keyless entry is available.
  • Remove vehicle starter system is available.
  • Six-way power-adjustable driver’s seat is available.
  • Leather-wrapped steering wheel and steering wheel audio controls are available.
  • Power windows are available.
  • Custom vinyl or cloth upholstery is offered in Neutral or Medium Pewter colors.

Express powertrains – 6.6L Duramax diesel

The Duramax turbo-diesel V-8 is offered in Express Cargo, 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:

  • Main bearing profiles changed to enhance oil film thickness
  • Oil pump flow increased for more pressure at low speeds
  • A revised turbocharger oil circuit for increased pressure at the turbo and faster oil delivery
  • Connecting rod pin ends modified to provide increased piston support
  • Higher-strength piston design

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 five gas/FlexFuel engines. The base engine for light-duty 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.

A 4.8L V-8 is standard on some models and cranks out 279 horsepower (208 kW) and 294 lb.-ft. of torque (398 Nm), while other models 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 6.0L is also offered in a special version with hardened valve seats for the available Dedicated Compressed Natural Gas model.

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
  • Quieter alternator

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 4.3L, 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:

  • Power-assisted rack-and-pinion steering is featured on 1500 models.
  • Hydroboost four-wheel disc brakes with ABS and dynamic rear proportioning are standard on all models.
  • StabiliTrak electronic stability control is standard on all models.
  • A locking rear differential is available on all models.
  • 31-gallon (117.3 L) fuel tank is standard on all models (except for dedicated compressed natural gas package)
  • 7,300-pound GVWR on 1500 models.
  • 8,600-pound GVWR on 2500 models.
  • 9,600-pound/9,900-pound GVWR on 3500 models.

Express safety and crash avoidance features

Express is equipped with a host of safety features, including available head curtain side air bags, which provide a higher level of protection in the event of a side impact or a vehicle rollover. Additional safety features include:

  • StabiliTrak is standard. 
  • Tire pressure monitoring system is standard.
  • Flat and convex exterior mirrors for a wider field of vision are standard.
  • Lap and shoulder belts for the center seats are standard.
  • Four-wheel anti-lock disc brake system with Hydroboost is standard.
  • Driver and front passenger air bags are standard.
  • Daytime Running Lamps are standard.