The 2017 Chevrolet City Express emerges from the new class of compact commercial vehicles produced with the small-business owner in mind. It is much smaller than the typical full-size van, the City Express gives carlike maneuverability but still has 122.7 cubic feet of space to cater for your larger hauling tastes.
Powered by a 131-horsepower, 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine, the City Express is not a replacement of the full-size, V8-powered cargo vans like the Chevrolet Express. It isn’t equally designed to be a passenger hauler because it only lands in a two-seat configuration. So though the City Express will hold a surprising amount of cargo, there are limits to its capabilities.
The category for small utility vans such as the City Express has been growing, so there are a few options to consider if this is the type of vehicle that satisfies your needs. The closest competitor to the City Express in the class is the slightly less costly Nissan NV200; the Express is actually a mechanical twin of the NV200, so the two vans are very similar. If you’re looking for a vehicle with more refinement and flexibility, you might think of the 2017 Ford Transit Connect. It is found with two engine options and two wheelbase lengths, and it can either be configured as a cargo van or a passenger van. You may want to check the 2017 Ram Promaster City, which seems the largest in the class with a slight power advantage, the most cargo capacity and highest payload.
Estimated city fuel economy is one way in which the 2017 City Express gets thumbs up, though each vehicle in this category has its strength. Each one of them could prove to be an ideal fit for your desires.
Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Other Options
The 2017 Chevrolet City Express is a small cargo van that lands in two basic trim levels: the LS and LT.
Standard features on the LS trim includes 15-inch steel wheels, 40/60-split rear cargo doors, sliding rear side doors, power front windows, power door locks, keyless entry, cloth upholstery, vinyl flooring, a height-adjustable driver seat with manual lumbar adjustment, a fold-flat passenger seat, a tilt-only steering wheel, air-conditioning, and a two-speaker sound system with a CD player and an auxiliary audio jack. Cruise control, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, and rear parking sensors are found as standalone features for the LS.
The LT includes all of the above, with added heated power mirrors, an additional rear 12-volt power outlet and rear parking sensors.
Optional on both the LS and LT are two Glass packages and an Appearance package. The Glass packages put privacy glass to the rear and passenger-side windows, as well as a rearview mirror and a rear defroster. The Appearance package includes wheel covers, a chrome grille with black accents, and body-color bumpers, mirrors and door handles.
The most Tech package is available only on the LT trim and adds a 5.8-inch touchscreen display (a Nissan system, not Chevrolet MyLink), a navigation system, satellite radio, a USB audio jack and a rearview camera.
Powertrains and Engine Performance
The 2017 Chevrolet City Express arrives standard with a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that generates 131 horsepower and 139 pound-feet of torque. It is paired with a continuously variable transmission (CVT) that drives the front wheels.
In a test drive, the City Express LT ran from zero to 60 mph in 10.2 seconds. Though that is not especially quick, it’s about average for a small van. The maximum payload for the City Express is 1,500 pounds.
Driving and Safety
Standard safety options on the Chevrolet City Express include antilock brakes (front disc/rear drum), traction and stability control, and side curtain airbags. Rear parking sensors and a rearview camera (optional).
the Chevrolet City Express came to a stop from 60 mph in 143 feet, which is actually a poor performance for any class of vehicle.
Interior Design and Special Features
As is the case with most commercial-focused cargo vans, the 2017 Chevrolet City Express is designed with utility in mind. There are lots of tie-down points, and on the LT trim level there’s an additional 12-volt power outlet in the back. Several standard integrated mounting points allow for the installation of racks and shelves.
The passenger-side seat has an under seat storage tray, and the seatback can be folded down to accommodate longer items or serve as a flat worktable, whether for using a laptop to track paperwork or catching a quick lunch. The steering wheel doesn’t telescope, which might make it a bit uncomfortable to find a comfortable driving position. However, for lovers of modern tech, there’s an available infotainment system taken from Nissan, replete with navigation, a USB outlet, satellite radio, and a user-friendly 5.8-inch color touchscreen that doubles as a display for the rearview camera.
The City Express’ wide-opening cargo doors, dual-rear sliding doors and low load floor make ingress/egress a cinch. Cargo capacity in the City Express tops out at 122.7 cubic feet, with a maximum payload of 1,500 pounds. For comparison, the Ford Transit Connect provides 128.6 cubic feet of space and a 1,620-pound payload or 103.9 cubic feet and 1,470 pounds for the long- and short-wheelbase cargo vans, respectively, while the Ram ProMaster City offers 131.7 cubic feet and a 1,883-pound capacity. The Nissan NV200 is identical to the Chevy in all measurements.
The 2017 Chevrolet City Express’ main advantage compared to a traditional full-size van is its agile nature and maneuverability. A light steering effort and quick turn-in make it easy to navigate parking lots and tight city streets. Driving a larger cargo van, by comparison, can feel like steering a cruise ship. Although the City Express’ taller profile and higher center of gravity make it more susceptible to crosswinds, it isn’t a cause for concern if you aren’t frequently traveling windy, open highways.
The City Express’ small four-cylinder engine offers the highest city-driving fuel efficiency, but it also lacks real power. So if the cargo you plan to haul is on the heavy side, you might find the City Express’ muscle insufficient for the job.
By that same token, we found driving around with a completely empty cabin had an amplifying effect on the road noise. Hauling cargo is really the purpose of owning a vehicle like this, and having boxes or a similar load inside helps with sound-deadening.
SEE ALSO:2017 Nissan Altima Sedan