Absent from the mid-size commercial van business since the 2005 demise of the Astro, Chevy is set to return with this answer to Ford’s Transit Connect. Revealed at the Chicago Auto Show, and due in showrooms this fall, the City Express is a unit-body design, putting power to the pavement via the front wheels. And in a departure for a General Motors commercial vehicle, that power routes from engine to front halfshafts through a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT). The only other vehicle in the Chevrolet inventory with a CVT, added as a 2014 option, is the Spark minicar.
Naturally, Chevrolet bills the City Express as all-new—which it is . . . to Chevrolet. But if you’re experiencing a little déjà vu, there’s a good reason. The new van is supplied by Nissan, and aside from a few cosmetic and interior details, is Chevy’s version of the Nissan NV200, introduced just last year at this same show.
Unlike Ford’s Transit Connect, which is available as a family wagon, the City Express is strictly utility, with two seats up front, and a tall cargo hold that’s wide enough to accommodate a 4x8 sheet of building material flat on the vinyl-clad floor. It’s 82 inches from the vertical rear doors—which open 40/60—to the front seatbacks, and the passenger seatback can be folded flat to accommodate longer items (up to 116 inches) inside the van, like ladders and such.
The maximum cargo capacity is listed as 122.7 cubic feet. There are 20 cargo mounting points in the hold, six D-rings set into the floor for tie-downs, and six mounting points up top for a roof rack. In addition to the rear doors (windows optional), the new van has sliding doors on both sides, a center console with a file folder bin, and the front passenger seatback doubles as a work table when it’s folded flat.
Thanks to: Car and Driver