General Motors introduced a novel concept for 2002 with the original Chevrolet Avalanche sport utility vehicle/pickup crossover. A trick midgate could fold into the four-door cab, extending the cargo bed to the back of the front seats. It gave owners the best of both worlds: seating for up to six occupants or a long cargo bed when one was required — a combination that would require ungainly exterior dimensions if it weren't for the conversion feature.
Sales of more than 375,000 first-generation Avalanches prompted an encore, so GM has introduced the redesigned 2007 Avalanche. Available with rear- or four-wheel drive, the 2007 model is based on the company's new full-size truck platform.
GM doesn't yet have plans to produce a heavy-duty Avalanche like the company did with the previous generation. The 2007 Avalanche hits dealerships in spring 2006 and competes with full-size crew-cab pickup trucks.
The 2007 Avalanche closely resembles the 2007 Chevrolet Tahoe up front, though with an overall length of 221 inches it's nearly as long as Chevrolet's full-size Suburban SUV. The Avalanche's bed measures 5.3 feet long and has 45.5 cubic feet of volume — roughly equal to a four-door Dodge Dakota Club Cab. Second-row seats fold inward with the midgate to extend the cargo bed 35 inches, which puts total length on par with a long-bed Ford F-150.
Three trim levels are available: base LS, LT and top-of-the-line LTZ. The Avalanche LS gets standard 17-inch alloy wheels. The LTZ upgrades to 20-inch wheels and an electronic continuously damping suspension, both of which are available on the LT. Later in the year a Z71 Off Road package will be available. It includes 18-inch wheels and an updated front fascia.
Two rows provide seats for up to six occupants. Interior styling cues echo the Tahoe and Suburban, with a new, curvaceous dashboard replacing the previous model's square panels. The rear seats can fold to extend the cargo bed, but once the midgate is down there is no partition separating the driver and front passenger from the elements.
Luxury features in higher trim levels include leather seating surfaces, dual-zone automatic climate control and power front seats. A navigation system and rear-seat DVD entertainment system are optional.
Under the Hood
An iron-block 5.3-liter V-8 that makes 320 horsepower and 340 pounds-feet of torque is standard, and an all-aluminum version that generates an estimated 310 hp and 335 pounds-feet of torque is available. Both engines are compatible with regular gasoline or E85 ethanol. Later in the year, a 6.0-liter V-8 engine that generates an estimated 355 hp and 365 pounds-feet of torque will be available.
For increased fuel economy, all three engines feature cylinder deactivation, which automatically shuts down four cylinders during low-load driving situations like highway cruising. When properly equipped, the 2007 Avalanche can tow up to 8,000 pounds.
All-disc antilock brakes and an electronic stability system with rollover mitigation are standard. The rollover mitigation feature senses impending rollovers and can apply individual brakes in an attempt to stop them. Side curtain-type airbags are optional.
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