GM to Put Baby Duramax in Full-Size Vans

2016-Chevrolet-Express-013 II

GM, maker of the oldest commercial vans on the market, will put the new, torque-biased four-cylinder Duramax diesel engine into both the E-Series Chevrolet Express and GMC Savana for the 2017 model year.

According to Automotive News, the lightly modified global diesel engine currently used in the Chevy Colorado and GMC Canyon midsize pickup trucks will be offered as an option in the long- and short-wheelbase 2500 and 3500 2017 full-size GM vans.

Some might argue this was not a difficult decision for GM because the midsize pickups and large work vans are built at the same Missouri plant near St. Louis. Ordering more diesel engines for the same location should be simple, assuming that demand for the diesel engines doesn't outpace production capabilities given that it offers as much as 31 mpg highway when optioned in the midsize pickup. The diesel is likely to be paired with GM's new eight-speed transmission used in Chevy and GMC half-ton V-8 pickups.

The Express and Savana are the oldest commercial vans sold in the U.S. They haven't been significantly redesigned in almost 20 years, yet they sell in strong numbers: more than 100,000 in 2014 and 85,000 in 2015. Despite the proliferation of new, Euro-styled vans such as the full-size Ram ProMaster and Ford Transit, and smaller Ford Transit Connect, Nissan NV200 and Mercedes-Benz Metro, GM is finding unique ways to keep its old-school vans alive and generate customer interest.

GM's high-tech 2.8-liter turbo-diesel uses a cast-iron block and aluminum cylinder heads along with a dual overhead cam 16-valve setup that produces 181 horsepower at 3,400 rpm and 369 pounds-feet of torque at 2,000 rpms in the midsize pickups. It's possible, for the sake of greater longevity, that GM could decide to "de-rate" the engine since it will be put into a vehicle with a heavier curb weight, higher gross vehicle weight rating, and more payload and towing capacity.

Given the EPA fuel-economy numbers for the midsize pickup with the small diesel — 22/31/25 mpg city/highway/combined — and that GM's most-popular engine for full-size vans is the 6.0-liter V-8 (11/16/13 mpg), it's possible that ownership cost savings based on fuel consumption alone could mean the higher price of the little Duramax could be one of those rare instances where the vehicle could pay for the engine upgrade in the first year of operation.

Model-year 2017 vans will be available for ordering through select dealerships later this fall.

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2016 Express Cargo Van II

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Comments

@Deegan
"Robert Ryan -
I've heard the claim "it's pretty ancient and lacks the dynamic qualities of [the competition]" used to describe the ancient Ford Super Duty, especially the TTB used on the 2WD trucks. I said bull**** to that too. Dynamic qualities takes a backseat to reliability and durability."

Well payload, reliability and durability, plus ergonomics are bigger factors. Current US Transit is making a big impact on those factors

We have used Chevy Express vans in our expedite biz since 1997. We buy 3500 Extended with 6.0 V8. They have been the most dependable vehicles we've ever had. All have gone over 500,000 miles with NO MAJOR REPAIRS. We have a 2011 right now with the 6.0 that has just crossed the 500,000 mile mark (uses no oil and runs great) and we will be replacing it at the first of the year. One consideration is the Ford Transit Low Roof will not accept 48" tall freight (46.5", we measured one) as the Chevy does so you would have to buy the higher roof version which will not fit in the garage or the average car wash. The Chevy is also body on frame construction. I will be sad to see them go. Just my opinion.

I have a 1999 3500 express with the 6.5 turbo diesel. Has 251,000 miles. I like the performance and fuel economy (almost 20 highway at 75mph with air on). Just had mine painted and it looks much like the new vans at 17 years of age. I also tow a lot and like the fact that it has an actual frame and is not unibody.
Leg room sucks but it rides very well and is comfortable for a 1 ton truck. The engine, 4L80e tranny and rear end have been tough as nails and are original but I can't say the same for the stanadyne fuel injection system which when it works, works very well but frequently trips codes and runs poorly.
Granted, a 17 year old van but most of my contractor friends are getting 300,000 or more before replacement.
I hope GM keeps the same platform but would like to see the 5.3 V8 variable valve trimming and cylinder deactivation with 8 speed (silverado engine package) auto added as an option. While I like the torque of a diesel, the fuel cost penalty and added maintenance cost make it hard to justify over a good gas engine combo. Being Able to get 23 mpg with a gas V8 is good enough. The 4.8 doesn't get this snd the 6.0 while powerful, really sucks fuel.

I bought a 16 cargo van 2500....these dinosaurs are rough and tough trucks.....i would have waited for the diesel....but needed a replacement.....i tested ford and dodge....express is the logical choice

I own a 2008 Chevy Express Extended one-ton van with the 6.6 Duramax engine. I have close to 280,000 miles on this and only have done routine maintenance. I tow two boats, a smaller 18ft aluminum deep V and a larger 23 fiberglass center console. This engine pulls either one with ease. When not towing, I get almost 17 mpg. My lament is: Can GMC please offer 4 by 4 or at least all wheel drive on these full size vans?! If it can be done on a Mercedes Sprinter, why not on the Express?

Have been using GM 3500 vans since with 6.0 engines since late 90's. Sure they are dated but we love them. Currently have a 2011 with 560,000 miles that uses NO oil and a new 2017. Currently shopping for a replacement for the 2011 as we usually replace them after they hit 500,000 miles. We don't need the height of the Sprinter or Transit plus not confident in the longevity of the "little" motors. In our business the Sprinter has a horrendous dependability record.

I will by trying to by Chevy express
2500 6.0 ext
Or
2.8 desel wish one its power full
I have 2015 Chevy 6.0 2500 vortex gasoline
I don’t want less power
I want something similar

What you guys think

What you guys think

What you guys think
Thank you



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