Introduced in 1996, the Express Van replaced an older truck-based Chevrolet van that had remained fundamentally unchanged since for 25 years. The Chevrolet Express presented a restyled and reengineered for modern transport of large loads. A full-sized for up to 15 passenger occupancy, the 1998 Chevrolet Express Van was offered in 1500, 2500 and 3500 trim levels. With the 2500 and 3500 model, the Express Van was offered in regular and extended length wheelbases.
The 1998 Chevrolet Express Van 1500 came standard with 4.3-liter V-6 engine generating 200 horsepower and 250 pound-foot of torque. There were also offered with three powerful Vortec gasoline engines and a 6.5-liter turbocharged diesel option. An interior configurable to seat between 5 and 15 passengers depending on the model, the Chevrolet Express Van came with an AM/FM radio, auxiliary power outlet and front air bags as standard equipment.
CD player, air conditioning and remote keyless entry were along several option conveniences offered with the van. The rear passenger entrance door of the Express Van could be equipped as a wide-opening 60/40 split or a sliding door. For 2001 and 2002, the Chevrolet Express Van also presented a limited edition LT model featuring a number of factory-added entertainment items. Bose sound system, VCR and a pair of flip-down television monitors provided amusement for rear passengers of the Express Van LT. The LT version of the Chevrolet Express Van was also furnished with leather seating. Starting in 2003, the Express Van was referred to as the Chevrolet Express Passenger van.