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TheCarConnection.com’s editors read the latest reviews on the new 2008 Chevrolet Express to write this comprehensive review. Experts from TheCarConnection.com also drove some versions of the Chevy Express (there are so many configurations, we haven’t driven them all, however). These experiences enable this team to offer you a definitive opinion on this full-size van. This review also compares the 2008 Chevrolet Express with other vehicles in its class to give you the best advice even when other reviews present conflicting opinions.
Chevrolet's full-size van continues on into 2008 as a workhorse, able to serve as either a commercial hauler, a 15-passenger mini-bus, or a powerful tow vehicle. It comes in either short- or long-wheelbase lengths and offers a variety of load capacities and engines. For drivers in northern climes, all-wheel drive is available.
The current Express is still built on the GMT800 truck platform, introduced in 2003. While GM's full-size trucks have been updated to GMT900 specifications, these vans soldier on as is. But they know how to get the job done.
For Chevrolet, 2008 is the year the company updated the interior on the Express. Important improvements and changes include a new instrument cluster featuring new major controls for the audio and climate control systems, plus a revised passenger-side airbag. Importantly, tire pressure monitors have been made standard, and new flat and convex exterior mirrors make for better rearward vision. Curtain airbags are now standard, and tougher glass is fitted on 12- and 15-passenger versions. All center seats get shoulder belts this year as well.
Cargo loading and unloading are aided by rear cargo doors that open almost a full 180 degrees, providing excellent access. Twin cargo doors or a sliding door are available on the passenger side of the Chevy Express.
For 2008, a 301-horsepower 5.3-liter V-8 is standard on 1500 Passenger Van models, with a 323-horsepower, 6.0-liter V-8 available optionally. The smaller V-8 is now E85/flex-fuel capable. A four-speed automatic is standard with either engine. While most versions of the Express are rear-wheel drive, all-wheel drive remains an available option.
The Chevy Express reminds everyone why minivans are called minivans. Just park any minivan next to a 2008 Chevrolet Express to see what we mean. Also, one turn behind the wheel of an Express full-size van will help you understand why minivans are popular; they drive "smaller" than this big bread loaf. Not that the Chevrolet Express drives badly--it's just big and drives like it.
Acceleration is more than acceptable with any engine except the economy-minded V-6. The 2008 Express weighs a lot and carries its weight up high, so there is solid logic to GM making its stability enhancement system standard.
For special applications, work and cutaway van editions await your special duties and/or conversion to school busses or other commercial iteration.
The Dodge Sprinter is a more expensive full-size van alternative. The Dodge is based on the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter and was completely overhauled for the 2008 model year. The Dodge Sprinter approaches cargo and people hauling with a European attitude, so two V-6 engines are the only powertrain options.
Only the 2008 Chevrolet Express offers all-wheel drive from the factory.