Vehicle Overview
When it debuted for 2002, the Avalanche upset the trend of making more SUV-like pickups. Chevy simply made its popular Suburban into a pickup; it gave the Avalanche more versatility, but it didn't lose any of the SUV's inherent creature comforts. Perhaps the ultimate vehicular multitool, the Avalanche features a midgate that expands the cargo area into the passenger cab. By removing the midgate and folding down the second-row seat, the cargo floor extends from 5 feet, 3 inches long to more than 8 feet long. The cargo bed also features lockable, side-mounted storage. A locking tailgate and cargo cover increase the secured-storage options even more. The Avalanche is available in LS, LT and LTZ trim levels and in two- and four-wheel drive.

New for 2009
GM addressed fuel economy concerns as the markets shifted away from large vehicles. A six-speed automatic is now standard on all models, giving drivers two overdrive gears for better highway mileage. For most two-wheel-drive models, a 3.08:1 final-drive ratio lowers engine speed during cruising to improve fuel economy. Chevy also reached out to its luxury customers by enhancing the LTZ trim with more standard equipment, including heated and cooled 12-way power seats up front, Centerpoint Surround Bose speaker system, and new rear styling and hitch cover. Finally, the electronics were upgraded, including the latest generation of OnStar, hands-free Bluetooth connectivity and XM Satellite Radio with NavTraffic.

The Avalanche doesn't mind flaunting its split personality; it's not an SUV or a pickup, but rather both. It has the bold but familiar front-end styling found on Chevy's GMT900 products. Setting the Avalanche apart are its 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 sensors and backup camera are invaluable to many owners.
  • 17-inch wheels standard
  • Wraparound front bumper cover blends nicely with body
  • Available 22-inch chrome wheels developed with DUB magazine
  • Power-articulating running boards on LTZ models

In addition to the LTZ upgrades for 2009, Chevy is enhancing the Luxury Package available on 2LT models by including Bose premium speakers, heated 10-way power seats and an auto-dimming rearview mirror. The Avalanche front seats are comfy and supportive. Overall, the interior is spacious, with generous storage in the center console. The interior's centerpiece is the fold-down rear seat and the removable midgate. The rear glass can be removed separately from the main midgate for an open-air effect.
  • Available rear-seat entertainment system plays DVDs and from iPods
  • Available touch-screen navigation system
  • New seat fabrics on LS and 1LT models
  • Titanium and Cashmere interiors now available on Z71 models

Under the Hood
  • Base engine in 4x2 model is a 320-horsepower, 5.3-liter V-8 with an iron block; rated at 340 pounds-feet of torque
  • 310-hp, 5.3-liter V-8 with an aluminum block standard in early 4x4 models; rated at 335 pounds-feet of torque, E85 capable
  • 320-hp, 5.3-liter V-8 becomes standard in 4x4 models shortly after production starts; iron block, E85 capable; 340 pounds-feet of torque
  • 366-hp, 6.0-liter V-8, all-aluminum, E85 capable, available in LTZ models; 376 pounds-feet of torque
  • All engines mated to six-speed automatic transmission
  • All engines have Active Fuel Management to shut off cylinders for better fuel economy

Optional safety features include rain-sensing wiper system, Ultrasonic Rear Parking Assist and rearview camera. GM has loaded the Avalanche with plenty of advanced safety features as standard equipment. They include:
  • Roof-mounted side curtain airbags with rollover protection
  • Front seat belt pretensioners
  • Electronic stability control with rollover mitigation technology
  • Seat-mounted side airbags for front occupants
  • OnStar with GM Advanced Crash Response (one-year plan standard, subscription required after)

Of Interest to Truck Owners
  • Gross vehicle weight rating: 7,000 pounds (4x2), 7,200 pounds (4x4)
  • Maximum payload capacity: 1,350 pounds (4x4)
  • Maximum towing capacity: 8,100 pounds (4x2)
  • Axle ratio: 3.42:1 (heavy-duty trailering package)
  • Minimum ground clearance: 9.1 inches
  • Approach angle: 16.78 degrees (4x2), 16.64 degrees (4x4)
  • Departure angle: 20.05 degrees (4x2), 20.31 degrees (4x4)
  • Z71 Off Road package includes monotube shock absorbers, 18-inch offroad tires, color-keyed wheel flares, tubular side steps, automatic locking differential, tow hooks, skid plate and large-capacity air cleaner
  • Cargo bed load height: 32.2 inches (4x2), 32.5 inches (4x4)
  • Cargo bed floor length: 63.3 inches (midgate closed), 98.2 inches (midgate open)
  • Cargo bed floor width at wheel well: 50 inches
  • Cargo bed height with cover: 22.6 inches
  • Cargo bed depth: 25 inches