Chevy’s Versatile, Light-Duty Delivery Van Hits the Mark
In July 2014 Clean Fleet Report reviewed Nissan’s 2013 NV200 Compact Cargo van noting that this smaller sized commercial segment of high-roof, slab sided utility, very versatile and fuel efficient vans will undoubtedly become a very common sight on US roads. The Ford Transit Connect and the Ram ProMaster City are now joined on the road by the Chevrolet City Express. If the City Express looks familiar, you aren’t mistaken—it’s a rebadged Nissan NV200. We wanted to take a look at the 2015 City Express not only to review this model, but to provide an update of the 2013 NV200 version we covered earlier.
The front-wheel drive, 3,252 lb. 2015 Chevrolet City Express is powered by a 2.0-liter, 16-valve four-cylinder gasoline engine rated at 131 hp, delivering 139 lb-ft of torque. The Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) gets you around without ever feeling a shifting gear. While there are varying opinions about owning a vehicle with a CVT, I like them for their smooth operation and fuel economy boost. In the case of the City Express, I drove it empty and loaded with about 300 lbs. in the cargo area, and it pulled hills and negotiated stops and freeway entrances without issues—and never felt a shift.
The Chevrolet City Express can haul 1,500+ lbs. while getting the best-in-class city fuel economy of 24 mpg. In 518 miles of 75-percent/25-percent highway/city driving we averaged 27.9 mpg, which means we were able to exceed the EPA highway rating with our combined fuel economy. If the 14.5 gallon fuel tank was run dry, it would have taken us more than 400 miles down the road. Here in Southern California our 75-percent/25-percent highway/city driving pattern is far more real world and is why we report it to you. Note: The EPA’s gas mileage formula is 45-percent highway and 55-percent city.
The Driving Experience: On the Road
The Chevrolet City Express is nimble on city streets and the smooth operation of the CVT makes zipping around town a breeze. There are excellent sightlines out the front windshield as the driver’s
seating position is high, aided by an eight-way manually adjusted seat. A significant concern are no widows on the right side of the van (in the model we tested; an optional window in the passenger-side sliding door is available), which makes for some very interesting – challenging – backing maneuvers. The rearview camera, Rear Park Assist (you know, a progressively faster beeping as you get closer to objects) and large outside, power and heated mirrors with integrated convex spotter mirrors helped considerably when backing the City Express, but it takes extra care to make sure nothing is in your blind spot.
Being a tall vehicle at 73.7 inches with a comparatively short 60-inch wheelbase and small 15-inch wheels with all-season tires, the City Express turned without effort due to the electric power steering, but had a bit of body roll if pushed too hard around corners. Many of the Southern California freeways have grooved concrete surfaces for traction and water dispersion (yes, it does rain in SoCal), which could lead to the small tires tracking in the direction of the grooves. This was somewhat noticeable when the City Express was empty but non-existent when hauling a load. The targeted buyer of this van will be small business owners that, for the most part, will primarily be driving city streets and not 70+ mph empty on the freeway, making a grooved road surface a non-factor for driving stability, comfort and confidence.
Stopping was consistent with front vented discs and rear drums with stability control, brake assist and electronic brake force distribution that are all part of the four-wheel Anti-lock Braking System (ABS).
The Driving Experience: Interior
The 2015 Chevrolet City Express comes with a nice list of features that we have become accustomed to seeing on passenger cars and SUVs. Some of these include power windows (with driver side
one-touch auto-down), power door locks, cruise control, driver information center, steering wheel audio controls, A/C, dual overhead map lights, remote keyless entry, intermittent wipers and plenty of cubbies, storage bins and cup holders and the previously mentioned power, heated outside mirrors.
The City Express comes with cargo-area insulation on the side panels and rubber mats on the floor so road noise is low. Once the interior is built-out this would be a quiet riding van. The seats (front only) were comfortable with cloth inserts and vinyl on the bolsters where the most in-and-out wear will take place. Nice touch.
The driver-focused cockpit has all the controls and gauges within easy reach of the driver. Designed for commercial use, the City Express comes with what Chevrolet calls their “mobile office” with conveniences including power outlets, a center console that can accommodate a laptop and hanging file folder storage and storage areas on the upper instrument panel for folders. The passenger seatback folds down to serve as a worktop or lunch table and there’s a slide-out tray under the passenger seat. Another benefit of the passenger seat folding flat is that it extends the cargo space for hauling longer items, such as pipe, lumber or a surfboard.
Our City Express was equipped with Chevrolet’s optional Technology Package, which came with a 5.8-inch color touch screen, Bluetooth with hands-free voice recognition for streaming audio, Pandora radio, telephone and text messaging assistant. Also in the technology package was SiriusXM with the navigation system that includes NavTraffic, NavWeather and Google Points Of Interest.
The Driving Experience: Exterior
With large, sliding doors on each side that open and close with ease and tall dual rear 60/40 doors, the city Express has exceptional loading convenience. The 60-percent right, or curb, side provides for easy access from a sidewalk and since the 40-percent left side door is shorter, it reduces the potential intrusion into the street when open, helping lower the risk of accidents from passing vehicles. Both rear doors have a very convenient feature — two opening positions: 90 degrees and 180 degrees. Therefore, the doors can fold flat against the van sides and not hinder loading and unloading.
The City Express is considered a commercial vehicle, so, when visiting your Chevrolet dealer, make sure to ask for a sales person conversant in the truck and van needs of business owners, including how this completely empty van can be outfitted. The City Express comes standard with six floor-mounted cargo D-rings and integrated mounting points, which allow installation of racks and shelves without drilling into the sidewalls.
The City Express is spacious with 82.8 inches of cargo length, 54.8 inches of width, 48 inches between the wheelwells and a 53-inch height for the cargo area resulting in a capacity of 122.7 cubic feet. The cargo floor liftover height is a very low 21.1 inches, which makes loading and unloading a breeze. However, to have such a low floor height also means having an even lower rear bumper, leaving the back of the van susceptible to damage in a rear end collision.
Standard safety features include six air bags, vehicle stability control and a Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS).
Pricing & Warranties
The 2015 Chevrolet City Express LS base model begins at $21,955 and the LT model, which Clean Fleet Report was driving, had an MSRP of $25,355, both prices do not include the $995 Destination Charge. Our LT also had the back door glass ($190), Exterior Appearance Package ($355), 15-inch aluminum wheels ($350) and the Technology Packages ($945) for a total of $23,250, including the Destination Charge.
The 2015 City Express comes with these warranties:
Corrosion: Five-years/Unlimited miles
Emissions: Two-years/24,000-miles (3 year/50,000 miles for California)
Observations: 2015 Chevrolet City Express LT
When Clean Fleet Report reviewed the 2013 Nissan NV200, we said that if you need a light-duty delivery van to haul cargo in-town and short distances on the freeway, then it should be on your
consideration list. We now can say that you should also stop by your Chevrolet dealer and test drive the City Express.
This very versatile van is easy to drive, park and maneuver, and gets good fuel economy with the CVT making for a smooth driving experience, plus its convenient low lift-over floor height and tall, wide doors reduce the difficulty of loading and unloading cargo.
Chevrolet is to be recognized for teaming with Nissan to bring you a commercial vehicle that carries the famous Bowtie logo and is not more van – either size or price – than you need to run your business.
Whatever you buy, Happy Driving!
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