Car usability has been one of the important points being considered by automakers. A vehicle than has more than one function certainly nabs more attention than others that are merely utilitarian. The 1996-introduced Chevrolet Express 1500 was like a dividing dart that targeted both the cargo car and the passenger car markets. As spacious as it was, the model became a big contender in the full-size van category in the United States, and it was being used in many applications, from a tow vehicle and a school bus to an ambulance and a work vehicle. The continuous improvements done to the model have been a proof of its big capacity that serves more than a big purpose.
1996 – 2002: A balance in power, style, and features
The initial releases run on a 12-valve V6 4.3-liter engine that could produce 200-horsepower and 250-pound-feet of torque. Operation was done with a 4-speed automatic transmission on a rear-wheel drive. Because the units were intended to be capable in various driving conditions, handling was made superior with a solid live axle rear suspension and a front independent suspension with short and long arms. In terms of safety, the units were also fully equipped, having a 4-wheel ABS, ventilated front and rear discs, an engine immobilizer, and an electronic brakeforce distribution. Passenger safety was also ensured with the use of child seat anchors, child safety locks for the rear doors, dusk-sensing headlamps, daytime running lights, and a rear center lap belt. Although the model was expected to be tough, luxuries were not lacking; it had enough headroom and legroom for a maximum of eight passengers, vinyl interiors, bucket front seats, in-car entertainment, and convenience features.
2003 – present: Stepping up on power, style, and features
The second-generation models naturally included restyled features, power upgrades, and a different look. The most notable alterations included an optional all-wheel drive, a side access panel, and an optional left-side door. These three features were never offered in other full-size vans previously released in the market but the Express 1500. As a promise of more power, the under-the-hood change to V8 engines that could produce 270-horsepower, 285-horsepower, or 300-horsepower was offered. These engines could be driven with a 4-speed automatic transmission and had oil-life monitors and air filters. For safety, anti-lock brakes and daytime running lights were standard. Of course, the interior was made larger and could accommodate between eight and fifteen passengers. There was a climate control system, OnStar communication system, and Radio Data System technology. The exterior was also beautified to resemble other General Motors cars; aside from changes to the taillights and headlights, the hood, fascia, fenders, grille, and bumpers also received some restyling.