2013 Light-Duty Van Roundup

Following is a review of 2013 light-duty vans.

Chevrolet Express/GMC Savana

The Chevrolet Express and GMC Savana vans add a handful of technological options for 2013, but otherwise enter the model year unchanged.

New for 2013 are a navigation radio, rear vision camera and ultrasonic rear park assist.

In vehicles equipped with the navigation radio, the view from the rear camera is displayed on the radio screen. In vans without the radio, the view is shown in the rearview mirror.

Those are two of the five available engines. The base engine for the 1500 is a 4.3-liter V-6 (195 horsepower/260 pound-feet of torque). Standard power in heavier vans are 4.8-liter V-8 (280/295) and 5.3-liter V-8 (310/334). A FlexFuel E85 version of the 5.3-liter engine is also available that delivers the same horsepower and torque as gasoline variants. The 6.0-liter V-8 (324/373) offers a fast-idle option so the engine can be used to power accessories at a work site. A version of this engine that is offered with hardened valve seats is available for natural gas operation. The 2500- and 3500-series vans can tow up to 10,000 pounds.

Models equipped with 4.3-liter, 4.8-liter and 5.3-liter engines are matched to a 4-speed automatic transmission. The 6.0-liter and Duramax diesel get a 6-speed automatic. An all-wheel-drive system is available for 1500 models equipped with the 5.3-liter engine.

The Duramax turbo V-8 diesel (260/525) features a selective catalytic reduction system for compliance with federal emissions standards. The system features a 5.8-gallon tank for the diesel exhaust fluid required of SCR systems, and must be refilled about every 5,000 miles, GM said. Electrically heated lines feed the DEF to the emission system to help with cold weather operation.

The Duramax also includes GM’s second-generation diesel particulate filter system, which can go up to 700 miles between regeneration cleanings because of a downstream injection of diesel fuel directly into the exhaust stream. That distance is 300 miles farther than the previous system could go between regenerations, GM said. The downstream injection also helps address concerns about diesel fuel contaminating engine oil when fuel used for regeneration is injected into the cylinder, GM said. A fuel-operated heater that can speed heat to the interior also is available on diesel models, GM said.

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© 2012, Transport Topics Publishing Group. All rights reserved.

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