I know, I know. This seems dull as dishwater but, believe it or not, fleet sales of full-size vans are A. Big. Deal. Yes, like any other gearhead out there, I would be much more interested if this was about a Chevrolet Express 2500 Van with a Corvette C7.R drivetrain, but, alas, no. This is about new packages and features for the Chevrolet Express 2500 Van that will be sold by the tens-of-thousands over the coming months.
Yes, Corvettes are fun and interesting, but they’re not what you would call a “profit center” for Chevrolet. Nope, stuff like the Chevrolet Express 2500 Vans are bread and butter on wheels. Old Louis’ outfit cranks these things out like doughnuts on a Monday morning and sells them just as fast. And, the more stuff like Express 2500 Vans Chevy can sell, the more Vettes they can make.
The mindset here is really easy to understand: Make a full-size van that is stripped of everything, because our buyers are going to modify them to suit. Okay, okay, not really stripped of everything (although there is a variation on that), but stripped down to only the most useful features. Fleet vans are bought, usually a few or a dozen or more at a time by outfits like city municipalities, large companies, shoot, fleet vans are even bought by TV stations and made into rolling production facilities.
So what a full-size van manufacturer, Chevy in this case, wants to do is not include stuff that’s just going to get taken out and thrown away. However, they will definitely include stuff like towing packages or spray on cargo liners in place of carpet. Chevy, being the clever young sparks they are, decided the right approach was to sit down and talk with and listen to customers and dealers and see what they wanted. They came up with five main priorities: Enhance productivity and driver satisfaction, positively impact driver safety, reduce downtime, simplify ordering, and reduce operating costs.
Chevrolet came up with four new packages for 2018 as well. There’s the Communications Package which includes Sirius XM Satellite radio, Bluetooth connectivity, an enhanced audio system, and a leather-wrapped tilt steering wheel with vehicle controls. The Safety Package gets you Rear Park Assist and Side Blind Zone Alert, heated mirrors, a tilt steering wheel, and cruise control.
If you opt for the Enhanced Convenience Package, your Chevy van will come with remote keyless entry, remote vehicle start, tilt-wheel, cruise control, heated mirrors, and beefed-up trailering equipment, including a trailering hitch platform and dual 4-pin/7-pin sealed connectors. Finally, the Cargo Package comes with an easy to clean spray-on cargo liner. Drivers can haul materials without a second thought to scratches and scrapes, and can do an easy clean up when the day is done.
Power & Performance
Regardless of the package, your van is motivated by Chevy’s 341 horsepower, Vortec 6.0L V8 engine. The Vortec plant, which is flex-fuel capable if your fleet is running on E85, allows for a Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) of 9,600 lbs. and a maximum trailering capacity of a whopping 10,000 lbs. Also included is the Commercial Link telematics system with a one year subscription. Commercial Link uses the built-in OnStar connectivity stuff to provide useful vehicle data back to the home office; nifty little helpers like maintenance notifications and vehicle location, so owners can manage their business vehicles more effectively.
Keep On Truckin’
You’ll be seeing a lot of these around, even if you aren’t in the potential customer pool. Delivery vans, plumbers, home contractors, and the like. City motor pools will be snapping these up by the batch so you’ll see them wending their nondescript flavors this way and that. Usually painted white or some shade of gray, fleet vans are a big part of what keeps society moving.
Tony Borroz has spent his entire life racing antique and sports cars. He means well, even if he has a bias toward lighter, agile cars rather than big engine muscle cars or family sedans.