A mechanical twin of the Nissan NV200 compact cargo van, Chevrolet’s brand-new City Express shares many of its flaws and assets with the Nissan. Unique front-end styling does little to differentiate the Chevy from its Japanese twin, but that’s not a bad thing. Compact cargo vans aren’t known for their stylishness, but at least the City Express has big, wide bodysides that are perfect billboards for its owner’s business.
The City Express is ideal for cities, fittingly. With segment-best city fuel economy and a nippy turning circle, the Chevy is a perfect urban runabout or work-truck replacement for many businesses. It has a larger load space than the short-wheelbase Ford Transit Connect (although both lag behind the Ram ProMaster City in cargo volume), and its maximum payload is within a few pounds of some of its competitors.
The biggest liability with the City Express is its underwhelming 131hp 2.0L I-4, saddled with a droning CVT transmission. Although the combination helps with efficiency at city speeds, once on the highway, the Chevy is only capable of mustering 26 mpg, noticeably behind its Ford and Ram rivals.
Still, this is a work van that’s ideal for urban and suburban duties. As such, it’s fair to expect loads of space and good maneuverability, and the performance sacrifice is reasonable. For those who need a compact van (or seven) to handle work-vehicle duties around town, the City Express could be perfect.