2007 Chevrolet Express 3500 Review

Mike Solowiow
by Mike Solowiow
2007 chevrolet express 3500 review

I greeted my temporary assignment to Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada with joyful anticipation. After numerous hours in an E-3 looking for simulated bogeys over the Mojave Desert, the proximity to Sin City was a welcome reprieve. Stepping down from my jet, Technical Sgt. Peters handed me a set of keys and pointed to the terminal's parking lot. Examining the plate number on the tag, and seeing a Chevy emblem on the key, I expected a minivan. Instead, a ginormous Express 3500 15-Passenger van assaulted my vision. For this I defend my country?

A van can't look beautiful- any more than a Victoria's Secret model can negotiate an Israeli – Palestinian ceasefire. At best, a van can look conservatively handsome. At worst, it looks like this. The Express' cheap grey plastic grill, cheap black headlight surrounds, and flanking black plastic taillights could be described as a rolling trailer park refrigerator. Did you notice the side strakes? Why would you?

All Express vans have dents in the passenger rear side doors. We finally solved the riddle when we realized that GM forgot to put a detent stop on the door, letting it swing open fully into the front passenger door, leaving a series of scars on both.

When I opened said doors, I reeled back in terror. The van's interior is an unattractive, poorly-built ergonomic disaster zone. My cohort, Captain Alfred, displayed his usual flair for automotive insight. "What a piece of crap." That's an affirmative sir!

The Express "boasts" acres of cheap beige plastic, spread throughout the cabin like polymer kudzu. I'm not saying the van's panel gaps are large, but I wouldn't let Paris Hilton ride in it lest her chihuahua fall into one of the gaps and disappear forever (perish the thought). The Express' plastic flash seams ripped my flight suit as I hoisted myself into the driver's seat- an extremely difficult not to say pointless maneuver, as there are NO grab handles ANYWHERE in the van. In fact, I nearly fell right back out (thigh bolstering need not apply. And doesn't.)

The Express' driver's seat slides forward and aft. And that's it for any pretense of driver comfort from GM. No tilt or telescopic wheel adjustments, no electric side mirror or seat recliners. At least our 1LT optioned van had armrests– swathed in cloth so rough my elbow left enough skin for a burn victim. The air conditioner coughed cool air at us and the AM/FM radio crackled out the signal from an eight bazillion watt stations.

The Express' crank window levers are so flimsy that a gap appears between the knob and the arm, pinching the webbing between your thumb and finger every time you roll down the window. Now that's cheap.

At least the Express seats 15 people. Luggage? Not so much. The idea of driving an Express with MORE weight on top or towing a trailer does not fill me with confidence (as in scares me to death). In our tester, the Express' spare stood upright IN THE MIDDLE of the cargo area. Did I want to know what chain of events led to this situation? Uh…

Equipped with Ye Olde 6.0-liter Vortec V8 engine groaning out 300bhp, "my" Chevrolet Express should have driven con brio. If we're talking about Brio wooden toy trains, then yes. Otherwise, no. While the transmission shifts decently for a truck, the engine roared like a jet belching turbine blades out the back end. Three-hundred bhp my ass. The Express drives like there's 150bhp on tap, at most.

Turning corners turns the word "Express" into a cruel joke. There's no steering feel. The ride's bouncy enough to make Tigger nauseous. And the brakes are mushier than English peas. The Express' tendency to leap into the air, jiggle the front wheels and then crash back on the pavement is a direct challenge to a jet pilot's hand – eye coordination, especially at 70mph.

Truth be told, the ABS-equipped Express van very nearly killed me. When a Dodge Neon pulled out in front of me (oh the ignominy), the Express' ABS failed to even-out the braking force. The Express yawed to one side, and then the other, as the computer "compensated" noisily. The "moment" destroyed any feeling of safety for myself and my passengers, confirmed by screams from people who routinely face death by terrorist attack.

The number of quality issues on a 2007, 30k mile Express van- from side mirror that jiggled so much they were rendered useless, to rotting window seals– is astounding. If your church/team/organization owns a Chevrolet Express, SELL IT NOW. After spending three weeks with an Express, I am morally obliged to tell you that you are FAR better off walking than driving this rolling death trap.

Note to GM: fire the engineers responsible for the Chevrolet Express 3500 15-Pax van and remove it from sale. Anything less is an insult to the intelligence– and ongoing health– of the people who pay your salary.

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  • 1tonvans 1tonvans on Dec 06, 2009

    I own the 2006 version of this POS. I have been driving 1 ton stretch vans since 1982, over a million miles, including lots of mountain miles. I almost crashed this POS when the ABS went haywire in the mountains and the van was shaking so hard I could barely control it. The local Chevy dealer told me that the rotors on these big 1 tons warp when they get hot but then unwarp when they are cool. Riiight. A few months later, my partner experienced the same thing. He too thought he would die in the POS. Turns out, this is an ongoing problem with Chevy and their ABS but they will not admit it. After removing the fuse for the ABS, POS is a little safer to drive. A few days ago, at 69k, the tranny went out in POS, 1000 miles from home. No metal shavings in the pan, but a major component broke, a stress fracture according to the Chevy dealer repairing it. 36k drive train warranty! Thanks Chevy! I just bought a new transmission! The headlights and the mirrors shake on this van, cheap, cheap, cheap! It makes econoline look like a limo! This 1 ton van is supposed to be a work vehicle, but it is just a supersized aveo. GM....you should be ashamed.

  • on Oct 16, 2014

    Roadster, I posted a rebuttal to your comments that unfortunately must have got caught in the spam filter. 1) Canada is much larger geographically than the U.S., not 'tiny'. 2) Do you mean by population? Well Toronto is considered as one of the most diverse communities in the world (and is the 4th largest by population in North America). Also historically 10% of the Canadian population is Francophone. And Canada has very large Asian (Chinese, Indian and Sri Lankan) and Caribbean populations. Also a very large aboriginal community. 3) Canada follows a federal form of government. Provincial powers are enumerated in the Constitution and laws very from province to province. One province (Quebec) has even held its own referendums on whether or not to leave the federation. I believe that when this occurred in the U.S. the federal government imposed it rights. 4) Where you got "Each state was conceived as a small laboratory of democracy" is beyond me? The original U.S. constitution (the Articles of Confederation) was re-written to ensure federal powers. Thanks however for the reference to 'Beck Rights'. Agency fees appear to be the American comparable to our Rand Formula. As unionization is based on collectivity, any weakening of collective action will result in weaker unions and therefore less compelling reasons to join a union.

  • FreedMike “…former president Dmitry Medvedev recently took a trip to China and praised the country’s cars as being on par with Mercedes-Benz.”is that before or after the Tik Tok integration?
  • Pig_Iron I'm willing to bet most of these were improperly torqued. 🔧
  • Pig_Iron You can buy a focus sedan right in the USA. It's called a maverick. 😒
  • Pig_Iron Brown bag a ploughman's lunch. 💼
  • Pig_Iron I thought IBOC was supposed to bring about a renaissance in terrestrial radio? Too bad the FCC went with a proprietary standard. I listen to AM every day because it offers superior geopolitical current affairs news and analysis, and because it offers non-English language programming also. EVs and less choice make driving drudgery. 😔