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PERFORMANCE | 5 out of 10
avoid the base V6; it's not powerful enough for a van this heavy
if you plan on hauling heavier cargo or towing a trailer, you should choose the Vortec 5.3-liter V8
Kelley Blue Book
although far from nimble, it's a better choice for day-to-day driving
TheCarConnection.com notes only lackluster performance from this 2008 Chevrolet Express.
According to Car and Driver, "Chevrolet offers five gasoline engines in the 2008 Chevy Express and one diesel engine...a 4.3-liter V-6 with 190 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque, two versions of a 4.8-liter V-8 are also exclusive to the commercial set -- one with 258 horsepower and another with 279 horsepower. a 5.3-liter V-8 with 301 horsepower and 325 pound-feet of torque, [and a] a 6.0-liter V-8 with 323 horsepower and 373 pound-feet of torque...heavy-duty cargo vans can also be equipped with a 6.6-liter turbo-diesel V-8 with 250 horsepower and 460 pound-feet of torque."
Comparing the low- and high-end 2008 Chevy Express engines, Edmunds reports that "the maximum trailer-towing capacity on 1500 models is 6300 pounds, while the heavy-duty 3500 can pull up to 9800 pounds when properly equipped." Kelley Blue Book warns that while "the V6 can handle light loads, if you plan on hauling heavier cargo or towing a trailer, you should choose the Vortec 5.3-liter V-8," noting that the "potent Vortec 6.0-liter V8 offers the most powerful V8 engine in its class."
Car and Driver divulges that the Chevrolet Express 2008 is equipped with a "4-speed automatic with lockup torque converter." Edmunds comments that 2008 Chevy Express "3500s get a heavy-duty version of that transmission." According to Cars.com, these transmissions have a "Tow/Haul mode."
Kelley Blue Book reminds us "gasoline V8 models can be thirsty, especially when loaded with passengers." Chevrolet Express 2008 mileage estimates from the EPA are 12/16 mpg for the 2008 Chevrolet Express 2500 and 13/17 mpg for the 1500. ConsumerGuide finds that "2WD test models have averaged 12.7-14.3 mpg."
When it comes to handling, ConsumerGuide says that while "even the passenger models lack the ride comfort of most minivans, these GM rigs display little rough-road harshness and only minor float over crests and dips...they're also surprisingly refined." Edmunds reports that "a robust frame, rack-and-pinion steering (half-ton models only) and standard four-wheel antilock disc brakes give the 2008 Chevrolet Express a leg up on Ford's Econoline when it comes to ride and handling." Car and Driver notes that "the four-wheel-drive system isn't like the hard-core setups offered on Chevy pickups," with "a full-time transfer case that employs a center differential with viscous limited slip," which "did make a difference when extracting a loaded trailer from [a] slippery paddock."
The 2008 Chevrolet Express is expressly a box that can be accelerated; handling is decent and towing capacity is good.