Chevy Express Gains New Engine

Kurt Cobain had only been dead a year when General Motors launched the Chevrolet Express family of commercial and passenger vans. Two and a half decades later, the Express is still in its first generation, with the model’s sole facelift now 17 years distant, but now it’s getting a 6.6-liter V8.

Announced late Tuesday, the Express line gains an uplevel 6.6-liter gasoline V8 for the coming model year, replacing the old Vortec 6.0-liter V8 and its gaseous fuel sibling. The engine comes by way of the Silverado HD, which gained both a new generation and gas engine for MY2020.

GM’s 6.0L offered 341 horsepower and 373 lb-ft of torque for buyers who weren’t interested in settling for the base 4.3-liter V6. The new engine sees available power rise to 401 hp and 464 lb-ft in the Express line, a significant boost, with 350 hp/425 lb-ft on offer in the Low Cab Forward commercial truck.

While GM doesn’t specify, it looks like the pre-existing six-speed automatic carries over, just as it did in the new Silverado HD. Express models equipped with either the 4.3L V6 or Duramax 2.8-liter diesel carry an eight-speed. GM makes no mention of the Savana.

“Approximately 70 percent of current Express owners opted for the 6.0L V8 option, and Chevrolet expects this new engine to garner the same or increased take rate,” the automaker stated.

Despite facing ever stiffer competition from the likes of Ford, the Express and its GMC twin, the Savana, remain an important product for GM, with the Express selling over 77,000 units in 2019. It’s far less refined than the Ford Transit, but it’s tough. GM ditched the half-ton chassis after 2015, focusing on three-quarter and 1-ton variants ever since.

The newly muscular 2021 Express should reach customers in late summer.

a version of this article first appeared on TTAC