2018 Chevrolet Express Van Expert Review

Editor's Overview

The 2018 Chevrolet City Express offers the compact size and good fuel economy required of a small, nimble urban-delivery vehicle. The City Express isn’t really a GM product but instead a rebadged Nissan NV200, an added bonus for those who still think foreign products are more reliable than their domestic counterparts.

You'll Like The 2018 Chevrolet Express Van If...

If you’re in need of a small, fuel-efficient vehicle that can easily carry large amounts of cargo or gear, the 2018 Chevrolet City Express van has you covered. The enclosed cargo area is more secure than carrying gear in an open-bed pickup, and fleet managers will love the low maintenance costs.

You May Not Like The 2018 Chevrolet Express Van If...

The City Express’ small 4-cylinder engine limits its ability to haul or tow heavy loads. If you need something that can carry more than two people, the Ford Transit Connect makes a better choice.

What's New

For 2018, the City Express gains new standard features including a rearview camera and Bluetooth hands-free phone connectivity.

Interior Features

“Utility” is the name of the game inside the 2018 Chevy City Express van. The interior is awash in hard plastics, which are durable and easy to clean. Likewise, the 6-way-adjustable seats give a commanding view of the road, and they're upholstered in durable and easy-to-clean vinyl. And there are storage nooks everywhere. A pencil tray and laptop storage are located in the center console, and there's a sliding drawer situated under the front-passenger seat for even more storage.

Exterior Features

The biggest styling difference between Chevy’s 2018 City Express and the Nissan NV200 is the Chevy-specific nose and badging on the former. Otherwise they're very similar, sporting the stubby nose, upright windshield and high-looking roof that have come to define this class of vehicle. It's available in the usual Chevrolet 1LS and 1LT models, with the latter offering access to more options, such as the aforementioned Technology Package. An Appearance Package available on both paints the mirrors and bumpers the same color as the rest of the van, as well as the door handles.

Driving Impressions

The 2018 Chevrolet City Express van is basically a Nissan NV200 with some Chevy styling upgrades. Because there are no mechanical changes, the two vans ride and drive exactly the same. That said, you’ll find the City Express delivers a comfortable ride that remains fairly composed even over rough pavement. A narrow body and tight turning circle help this little van squeeze into spots no full-size van can go, and its sliding side doors allow easy loading and unloading when parked in tight confines. While the 131-horsepower 2.0-liter engine isn’t going to impress many with its speed, it has the ability to haul even a fully loaded van up to about 60 mph, after which it’s a long wait for the speedometer needle to move any further. We should note that while both the Ford Transit Connect and Ram ProMaster City offer more powerful engines and better highway gas mileage, neither can match the City Express’ all- important 24-mpg city figure.

Pricing Notes

The 2018 Chevrolet City Express has a starting Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of just under $24,000, including the $995 destination charge. Step up to the LT, and you're looking at a price right around the $24,700 mark. Check all the boxes and you're looking at a price somewhere in the neighborhood of $27,000. That's competitive with vehicles like the Ford Transit Connect, which has a price range that starts a tick over $24,000 and can climb over the $30,000 mark. The Ram ProMaster City also starts higher, although its loaded price stops short of the $30,000 figure. Curiously, the similar Nissan NV200 starts lower than the Chevy and tops out lower as well. Do check KBB.com’s Fair Purchase Price to see what others in your area are paying for the City Express. Over time, we predict that the City Express will hold its value well.

Notable Equipment

Chevrolet’s City Express is about as bare-bones as you can get these days. Power windows and door locks are standard, as are Bluetooth and a rearview monitor. Easy-to-clean vinyl lines the floor and rear-cargo area. The rear doors are solid, there's a locking glove box, and the driver-information screen on the dash shows fuel range, oil life, average speed and tire-pressure monitoring. The 1LT trim adds cruise control, two 12-volt outlets, rear parking sensors, keyless entry plus heated and power-adjustable mirrors.

Notable Options

Multiple configurations exist for the City Express, including things like glass panels on the side doors and side panels instead of solid metal. Other options include the Technology Package on 1LT models that adds navigation and a color monitor among other things. Cruise control, a rear-window defogger and rear-park assist are all optionally available on the 1LS. Note that rear seats are not available, as the City Express is a cargo-only model.

Favorite Features

A generous 122.7 cubic feet of space is set aside for loading, capable of carrying all manner of cargo from numerous small boxes to standard wood pallets. The bay can also be modified with shelving and toolbox carriers.

Offered on the top-line 1LT trim, the Technology Package adds more connectivity features including streaming Bluetooth audio, hands-free smartphone integration, navigation with color monitor, SiriusXM and a USB port.

Under the Hood

There's only one drivetrain configuration for the 2018 Chevrolet City Express: a 2.0-liter inline-4-cylinder engine that sends 131 horsepower and 139 lb-ft of torque to the front wheels through a continuously variable automatic transmission. This Nissan-supplied drivetrain works out to some good fuel-economy ratings, with the City Express getting a combined rating of 25 mpg from the EPA. In the real world, that 131 horsepower is put to work hauling 3,200 pounds, so it's not too surprising that it struggles at speeds higher than 70 mph. Traction control and anti-lock, front-disc/rear-drum brakes bring the City Express down to a halt in a controlled manner.

2.0-liter inline-4
131 horsepower @ 5,200 rpm
139 lb-ft of torque @ 4,900 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 24/26 mpg

Editors' Notes

Although not as sophisticated or versatile as the Ford Transit Connect and Ram ProMaster City, the 2018 Chevrolet City Express van offers the compact size and good fuel economy required of a small, nimble urban-delivery vehicle. The City Express isn’t really a GM product but instead a rebadged Nissan NV200, a fact that may serve as an enticement for those who still think foreign products are more reliable than their domestic counterparts. Unlike its Ford and Ram competitors, the Chevy City Express doesn’t offer a passenger version nor does it have as many upfitting options. However, the City Express does come with an attractive base price, a roomy cargo bay and tight turning radius, features at the top of most small-van buyer’s must-have list.

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