Vehicle Overview from Kelley Blue Book
KBB.com 2003 Chevrolet Express Van Overview
A Vans Van
Most of us who are old enough to remember the 70s have chosen to forget them. But if you think back, amidst the bell bottom pants, feathered hair cuts and pumping disco beat you may remember the one bright spot that came from that wretched decade: the van. Long before soccer moms cleaned up its image, the van was a rolling singles palace; coveted by high school-aged boys and dreaded by parents everywhere. Everyone knew you were cool when you pulled up in your full-sized van, with its custom airbrushed artwork, full shag carpeting, 8-track stereo with CB radio, mag wheels and of course the built-in waterbed.
Though both you and the van survived the next two decades, neither looks nor acts quite the way it did back then. The conversion industry now utilizes the van as a mini limo and the SUV has taken over as the cool way to transport large numbers of people from place to place. For the most part, the full-sized van now finds itself serving a more industrial roleone that it was actually designed for in the first placeas a mass transportation device for shuttle services and government agencies. No matter what face the modern-day van wears, there is no better vehicle suited to the job then Chevrolets Express cargo van.
Besides its fresh new sheet metal and upgraded interior, the Express offers a long list of features unique to the line. A left-hand side passenger door is now available, making it easier to access the second and third row seats, as well as the cargo area. On panel vans, there is a set of side access panels that run the length of the vehicle providing easy access to the interior compartments. The Express also offers another industry first by providing you the option of all-wheel drive; available on the 1500 passenger and the 1500 and 2500 cargo models, this viscous-coupling system is permanently engaged, sending power to whatever wheels need it most when slippage occurs. For those who frequent muddy construction sites, this long-overdue option will be a welcome addition.
With all of these changes, you'll be happy to know that some things remain constant, like the versatile number of configurations Chevrolet offers for the Express. As a passenger-hauling machine, the Express can accommodate eight, 12 or 15 persons. It is available in both short and long wheelbase and with a GVWR that ranges from 7200 pounds for the 1500 to 9600 pounds for the 3500 (12,300 pounds for the 3500 cutaway version).
Power for the Express has also been given a promotion with a series of new Vortec V8 engines. A new Vortec 4800 replaces the old 5.0-liter V8 and produces 50 more horses for a rating of 270 horsepower. Acceleration demons will probably opt for the new Vortec 5300 with its 285 horsepower and 325 lb-ft of torque. For the larger 3500 series, a potent Vortec 6000 offers customers the most powerful V8 engine in its class. Also available later in the model year will be a compressed natural gas (CNG) version of the Vortec 6000; the light-duty G vans are powered by a 200 horsepower V6 engine, now available in all 50 states.
Chevrolet has also made a number of interior improvements to the Express aimed at making the interior a safer yet more inviting place to be. New dual-stage front airbags better serve front passengers in the event of an accident and four-wheel ABS disc brakes are now standard on all models. An improved electrical system now monitors many functions simultaneously and can alert you when its time to change your oil, prevent you from locking yourself out of the vehicles and retain power to the windows and radio after the key has been removed from the ignition. There are new door panels, a new overhead roof liner, plusher carpets, improved seat fabrics, a new dashboard and firmer seating. Some models will also benefit from new exterior mirrors with built-in turn signals and electrical heating. Among the audio choices, most models will now offer the option of RDS radio that can display station call letters, song titles and traffic information.