Chevrolet proved the midgate design, which offers the best of a pickup truck and SUV, can be extremely popular. Since its inception in 2002, the Avalanche has been one of the more versatile trucks, with the ability to extend its cargo bed from slightly more than five feet to a total of eight feet. Its standard 5.3-liter V-8 engine makes 320 horsepower, and the Avalanche can seat up to six people.
The Avalanche is available in LS, LT and LTZ trim levels. An available ZR1 Off-Road Package includes monotube shock absorbers, 18-inch wheels, color-matched fender flares, skid plates, tubular assist steps and a high-capacity air cleaner.
New for 2012
LTZ models add a heated leather-wrapped steering wheel while LT versions gain heated seats. The Avalanche's standard electronic stability system now features electronic trailer-sway control and hill start assist. A new stereo with a 30-gigabyte hard drive, navigation system, a 7-inch touch-screen, recording capability and a USB port is available.
The Avalanche doesn't mind flaunting its split personality. It's neither an SUV nor a pickup — it's both. It has the bold but familiar front-end styling found on Chevy's truck-based models. Setting the Avalanche apart are distinctive sails that connect the cab to the bed and emphasize the smooth roofline and exterior length. The only real problem with the design is rearward visibility. Parking and backing up in tight spots can be tough, so the available parking sensors and backup camera are invaluable. Exterior features include:
- Standard 17-inch wheels; 18- or 20-inch wheels available
- Wraparound front bumper cover blends nicely with body
- Available power-articulating running boards
If the Avalanche shines in any category, it's the style and amenities of the interior. The truck can hold up to six people. Cloth upholstery is standard, and leather is optional. Interior features include:
- Midgate design allows for extended cargo capacity
- Standard air conditioning
- Standard CD stereo
- Standard Bluetooth cellphone connectivity
- Available heated and cooled seats
- Available remote start
Under the Hood
The Avalanche is powered by a 320-hp, 5.3-liter V-8 that makes 335 pounds-feet of torque. Mechanical features include:
- Standard six-speed automatic transmission
- V-8 runs on regular gas or E85 ethanol
- Rear- or four-wheel drive
Standard safety features include:
- Side-impact airbags for the front seats
- Side curtain airbags
- All-disc antilock brakes
- Electronic stability system
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