By on February 6, 2014

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We’re on the floor at the Chicago show, checking out the new Transit Connect and NV200 competitor.

It appears a little larger than the Ford, with 122.7 square feet of cargo room. It’s 4 feet from the floor to the ceiling, and 7 feet from the seats to the tailgate. It should be fuel efficient as since it is powered by a 2.0 liter 131hp 4 cylinder with CVT. I asked if this would ever become a passenger vehicle but was told that is not in the plans at all, mostly because of all the additional safety concerns that go into making it a passenger vehicle. In fact, they rushed to get this together out of necessity from requests from current customers. It will be released this fall. They told me to think of it as 1/2 the size of the Chevy Express, but twice the gas mileage. The interior is basically a work van with lots of hard plastics. Although it wasn’t mentioned during the press conference, this is actually built by Nissan in Mexico and appears to be almost identical to the NV200. Think of it as the Chevy LUV for the twenty-first century tradesman.

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42 Comments on “Chicago 2014: Chevrolet City Express Van Live Shots...”


  • avatar
    vtecJustKickedInYo

    What market advantage does the chevy have over a standard NV200 besides maybe selling to strictly chevy clients? They look the same to me.

    • 0 avatar
      thegamper

      That is probably the sole reason for this vehicle, just to stop chevy buyers from jumping ship to a competitor….at least until GM has a suitable vehicle to use instead of a rebadged Nissan.

    • 0 avatar

      Oddly enough, I see a Mitsubishi Raider once in a while, too. I can understand buying the original Izuzu, but these things are just odd. Cannot imagine why people bought them. And not sure if I ever saw an Equator in the wild.

    • 0 avatar
      philadlj

      The point of any near-identical JV rebadge is not to outsell the car/truck/van it’s based on, but to simply have a presence in the particular segment in which the JV allows them to compete, in this case the VERY hot compact van segment.

      On the Main Line I see about as many Transit Connects as Expresses and Savanas. By at least OFFERING a similarly-sized alternative, you bring someone into a showroom where they’ll have the opportunity to peruse Chevy’s other commercial wares like the Silvy.

      Also this is being done at a MUCH lower cost than federalizing a GM (Opel/Vauxhall) commercial van for US duty with no promise of decent ROI. It’s a smart move for both parties.

  • avatar
    jaybird124

    I bet all the young hipsters are rushing to the Express Van stand.

  • avatar
    86er

    The LUV was a van? I thought it was a small truck.

    This looks more like an overdue replacement for the Astro and Safari vans.

  • avatar
    redmondjp

    A-ha! So one can fold down the passenger seat and get those 8′ and 10′ (& 12′?) long materials in there with the back doors closed.

    If they were smart, they would offer a factory-installed roof rack as well.

  • avatar
    johnhowington

    yeah the interior very much shows this entire vehicle concept is an afterthought to GM. very bad move guys, very bad.

  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    This would be great if a 300ftlb diesel was on offer in it. It would make it a great city work van that runs on the smell ‘of an oily rag’.

  • avatar
    Joe McKinney

    This is not unprecedented for Nissan. From 1993-2003 Nissan built a rebadged Quest minivan which Ford sold as the Mercury Villager.

    • 0 avatar
      Conslaw

      Technically Ford built the Villager/Quest, as the vehicles were assembled in a Ford factory in Ohio. The van had a Nissan platform though, and it used Nissan engines. It was related to the 1980′s Nissan Maxima.

      • 0 avatar
        Joe McKinney

        You are correct. The Villager/Quest was a Nissan design, but it was built by Ford in a Ford plant. Nissan had the fwd minivan platform and Ford had the extra North American plant capacity.

        • 0 avatar
          CoreyDL

          That Quest/Villager is still a good looking design. Esp after the Villager went away and the Quest got a redesign.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            The current Quest looks terrible. I’ll take the Nautica Villager over the unholy creation that has become the Quest. I’ll even buy a pink Aerostar from early 90s Jack Baruth instead of a Quest.

    • 0 avatar
      Scoutdude

      The Quest/Villager was not a Nissan design it was a Ford/Nissan joint venture. Yes Nissan supplied the power train but Ford did some parts of the design and they split the development costs.

      This is a case of GM getting caught by surprise by Ford and Nissan getting caught by surprise by the overturning of the NYC’s taxi commission’s mandate to only allow the NV200.

      So GM gets something to sell in this segment and Nissan gets a lot more dealerships to sell it in, to attempt to pay for certifying it.

  • avatar
    KixStart

    From the article: “Although it wasn’t mentioned during the press conference, this is actually built by Nissan in Mexico and appears to be almost identical to the NV200.”

    Oh, c’mon… it’s totally – TOTALLY – a different vehicle! It has a goldtone bowtie on the front! You can see it right there in the picture!

  • avatar
    Secret Hi5

    Do I get it serviced at Chevy or at Nissan?

    • 0 avatar
      redmondjp

      At whichever one has less-expensive parts!

      I was buying some cooling system O-rings at a local Chevy dealer recently – they didn’t have one of them in stock but the co-owned Cadillac dealer next door did, and the parts counterperson warned me that the same parts were indeed priced higher next door . . .

  • avatar
    Rental Man

    Simple. GM fleet dept. + All rural areas where GM dealers are and Nissan is not.

  • avatar
    racer-esq.

    Where are the (non-taxi) passenger versions of this and the NV200? If it is not safe for passengers someone better let the NY taxi commission know.

    • 0 avatar
      Scoutdude

      The taxi commission didn’t care how safe the vehicle was, only how big the bribes were.

      Of course the reality likely is that the GM rep said that since the contract calls for them to get only cargo versions.

  • avatar
    korvetkeith

    Hhhhmm. Living in that and not paying rent/mortgage/property taxes/nat gas bill probably wouldn’t be so bad. I dub thee…obamahomes!

  • avatar
    wibigdog

    I’ll stick with my 2006 Express with 678,000 original miles. I bought it used with 188,000 miles and with the exception of oil changes, tires, brakes, and a blower motor, has never let me down longer than two business days. Plus it’s roomier, more refined, and more comfortable than the ’96 Ford Econoline that it replaced.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    Why does this exist again?

    I see all of the plumbers, movers, and contractors I know running out to buy this FWD van, yes sir. Even if they wanted this, Ford is bringing over a new larger Transit and still will sell the smaller Transit Connect AFAIK. Much wiser to have kept your old ass van RenCen gov’t bs be damned, as you’d have a monopoly on large vans. Any tradesmen worth his salt who doesn’t want a Transit could just buy a Caravan too ya know.

    • 0 avatar
      sunridge place

      Who said they were getting rid of their ‘old ass’ Express Vans?

      • 0 avatar
        Brian P

        They’re not – for the moment. But I predict that once the Ram ProMaster and the new full-size Transit get rolling, GM is going to have to do something about them, because the Savana/Express will be seriously outdated next to ALL of its competitors.

    • 0 avatar
      Scoutdude

      It exists because Ford is selling a reasonable number of Transit Connects and GM wants to avoid giving their current buyers a reason to visit a Ford store where they might pick up a Econoline (or eventually Transit) or two while they are buying some Transit Connects. So this is to preserve sales of the full size vans. The vast majority of vans are commercial sales often to fleets that buy multiple vehicles at a time.

    • 0 avatar
      Brian P

      There are lots of businesses that don’t need a fullsize van. Sure, they could buy a Caravan, but that’s at the Chrysler store, and if you are in the business of selling things with a Chevrolet badge, that’s not good, and since GM gave up on their minivans, they don’t have the option of stripping out the minivan and selling it as a cargo van.

      Friend of mine sells and services home water treatment/filtration systems; his company vehicle is a Transit Connect. I see lots of them around. Canada Post has a huge fleet of them.

  • avatar

    This actually looks better in Chevrolet livery than it does as a Nissan. I understand that these are just supposed to be basic work vans, but manufacturers need to remember that all their products are rolling billboards. People notice.

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    Yup that’s a Nissan power mirror adjustment. The same one is in my M, and my mom’s Pathfinder.

    I suspect the NV will have better resale value later.

  • avatar
    Kenmore

    It’s tall, boxy, mostly empty and has a 4-banger. What’s not to like?

    Will it be cheaper than the NV? Not much point to it otherwise.

    BTW, did they really decide to cut a dime or two by giving this CVT the same brake pedal as the MTs sold in the rest of the world? Now *that’s* cheap.


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