Chevy Express VS Ford Econoline Van Life

Chevy Express VS Ford Econoline Van Life

You’ve seen it: a van parked in the middle of an empty lot, abandoned landscapes, the feel of freedom. You’re not sure how to find it for yourself, but you know you want it in your life. Maybe you already found out through friends who enjoy Van Life as much as you do.

The Chevy Express and Ford Econoline vans are two popular models that people buy to make their Van Life dreams come true. The two vans are very similar, but they’ve been built differently over the years. This article takes a look at the Chevy Express and the Ford Econoline insides, outsides, engines, cargo space, passenger capacity, and other vital aspects to consider when comparing these two vehicles.

Benefits of Having a Good RV

But first, you should know how a good RV can have enormous benefits for the owner. 

Higher living standards:

RVs are way better than tents. A good RV will provide a much more comfortable, habitable living space than a tent can.

More money:

RVs are also way more money-efficient for your needs. Even though they’re essential to travel, someone who owns an RV, for example, would make a profit even without staying in hotels or motels (if you don’t count gas and maintenance).

More freedom:

If you’re interested in the whole DIY thing, an RV is way better at that than a tent.

It’s easier to create a safe space:

Yeah, even if you travel alone and don’t need a camper van for your trip, having an RV provides more safety and security than a tent can.

It’s safer:

RVs can be a haven in bad weather and dangerous situations.

It helps you break out of your shell:

If you’re used to traveling in a car or going from one place to another inside building, an RV will help you get out into nature more. You’ll feel the breeze in your hair, see trees up close, and hear animals roaming around (or even listen to them at night).

It’s space-efficient:

Traveling off the beaten track and spending time in remote places, you’ll find that an RV makes it easier to afford everything you need. RVs are smaller than houses, but they can pack in everything you need in a day or so.

So, finding a good Van Life RV is essential. You can make this easier on yourself by looking for one with a good reputation.

Comparing Chevy Van VS Ford Van

Chevy Express and Ford Econoline are van-based vehicles used to live in or drive around their camping stuff. These vans offer a different approach to life on the road. Which one is better?

Overall Comparison

These two vans have different appearances. The Chevy Express comes as both a cargo and passenger van. Despite its asymmetrical front fascia, each side of the vehicle has a single-port rectangular headlamp. The front and rear windows are slag glass. The front doors have a high waistline and lift-up lower window. This van is the base model on which the Chevy Express Cargo, GMC Savana Cargo, and Chevrolet Uplander are based.

The Ford Econoline is a full-size van sold as a cargo and passenger van. It was first introduced in 1961 as the first generation Econoline, and it became one of Ford’s most popular vans. The Econoline’s grille, taillamps, and headlamps are identical to the Ford F-Series. It has a single headlamp and taillamp on each side in contrast to the Chevy Express. The front and rear doors have a high waistline, but unlike the Chevy Express, they are not as long.


The Chevy Express has a large cargo area with a height of up to 9 feet 4 inches (2.87 m). The cargo area has a larger size than the passenger area. The center console divides the cargo and passenger areas into two parts. One can use the rear seats (not included in the cargo space) to haul items from inside or outside. You can remove the pop-up roof from the roof of the Chevy Express van to allow more room for storage.

The Ford Econoline has a smaller cargo space between 5 feet 7 inches (1.70 m) and 6 feet 4 inches (1.94 m). There is no passenger space in the front of the cargo area, but two rows of seats are in the back. These seats are higher than the cargo area to provide passengers a good view out of the windows. The door trim and panels are removable. That allows people to change how their Econoline van looks any time they want.

The Chevy Express has two sliding side doors on either side and a lift-up rear door that becomes the main entrance into the vehicle. The Ford Econoline has a single sliding side door, and it does not have a back door. The direct access to the van is from the front.


The Chevy Express is equipped with a 4.3-liter V6 engine or a 5.3-liter V8 engine, depending on the model. The Ford Econoline is fitted with a 6.8-liter V10 engine and the 6.0-liter V8 engine, depending on the model.

Both engines develop massive power to handle the weight of these vans and their passengers.

Passenger Space

The Chevy Express passenger area is small, cozy, and can fit three people comfortably while traveling. The Ford Econoline passenger area is also small, but it can accommodate five people comfortably while traveling.

Both vans are equipped with seating for six passengers, but they cannot allow six passengers to travel all at once.

Cargo Space

The Chevy Express cargo area is ample for camping and traveling. It provides enough space to store your entire family’s belongings when you go on a trip. The Ford Econoline has a small cargo area for camping and traveling. The passenger area is versatile and can store things you might need on the road but don’t want in your house (such as locking supplies, pillows, blankets, etc.).

Both vans have the same amount of cargo space for camping or family trips. However, the Chevy Express has a larger cargo area while traveling because it has two doors. The Ford Econoline has a smaller cargo area for traveling because it has one entry.

Fuel Efficiency

Both vehicles provide excellent fuel efficiency because they are heavy-duty vans. When calculating the gas mileage, one should consider that the Econoline is a “pickup” while the Express is a van. Using this fact, the Econoline beats the Express in gas mileage.

Ford Econoline VS Chevy Express Fuel Economy

The Ford Econoline has a combined fuel economy of 18 miles per gallon (4.8 L/100 km) in city driving and 20 miles per gallon (3.6 L/100 km) on the highway. The Chevrolet Express has a combined fuel economy of 17 miles per gallon (4.1 L/100 km) in city driving and 19 miles per gallon (3.8 L/100 km) on the highway.

In road tests, both vans have been shown to have significant fuel economy increases because they have a hybrid engine. The Ford Econoline’s hybrid has an efficiency of 47 mpg, while the Chevy Express’s hybrid has 43 mpg. It means that the Ford Econoline van has an advantage in fuel economy over the Chevy Express van.


The Ford Econoline is known for having reliabilities issues. Many people have reported that their Ford Econoline had problems with the lights, parts, and other components failing while driving. It makes the vehicle unreliable and unsafe to drive. The Chevy Express van is known for having fewer problems with lights and parts falling when it is in motion than when it is parked. The Chevy Express is more reliable than the Ford Econoline van makes it a better family vehicle.

The Ford Econoline has more reliability issues than the Chevy Express van. The Ford Econoline van falls apart more easily while driving because of its aging design.

Customer Satisfaction

The Chevy Express is more popular than the Ford Econoline van. Many people have been unsatisfied with the performance of the Ford Econoline and will not buy it again. The Chevy Express van has a better design and performance than the Ford Econoline, making it more popular among campers and shoppers.

Which is a Better Motorhome For Campers?

The Ford Econoline’s size and cargo capacity make it a better motorhome for campers. This vehicle can hold more people and their belongings than the Chevy Express. Space allows multiple people to get along in safety and comfort, such as having a living area, kitchen, bedroom, bathroom, utility room, and storage space.

The Ford Econoline is the best motorhome for camping because of its size for carrying more people in one vehicle.

It is easy to transport the Ford Econoline because it is light. The lightweight enables campers to drive longer distances before refueling; however, the Chevy Express only has a payload of up to 3500 pounds. In other words, there are certain things campers can bring camping with the Chevy Express. The Ford Econoline will not break down as fast as the Chevy Express because it was designed better, making it more reliable than the Chevy Express. There are no additional costs for repairs or maintenance. Ford’s warranty is better than Chevy’s and is more likely to last longer than the Chevy Express.

The Chevy Express has a more compact design when compared to the Ford Econoline, making it easier to maneuver in small areas; however, it only has a payload of up to 3500 pounds.

The Ford Econoline can be parked easily because of its length and a shorter height than the Chevy Express. The Ford Econoline is six inches shorter than the Chevy Express.

The Ford Econoline has a better rating for cargo space than the Chevy Express but can accommodate only two people in its back seats. The Chevy Express can accommodate more people but has a smaller cargo capacity in comparison.

The Chevy Express costs half as much as the Ford Econoline because it is considered low-cost compared to its counterpart.


The Ford Econoline and Chevy Express are vehicles that are good for camping but have differences between them. The Ford Econoline is a better motorhome for campers, but the Chevy Express is more reliable and cost-effective than its counterpart. Both motorhomes are popular among customers because they almost have the same functions and benefits. It all depends on your choices and needs as a camper. Both vehicles are great choices when it comes to van life.