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 didn’t lose any of the SUV’s inherent creature comforts. 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 to more than 8 feet. 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.
GM has dropped the 6.0-liter V-8 engine from the Avalanche lineup, leaving the 5.3-liter flex-fuel V-8 as the only engine. It’s paired with GM’s six-speed automatic, giving drivers two overdrive gears for better highway mileage. A 3.08:1 rear axle is now standard for both two- and four-wheel-drive models, enabling reduced engine speed during cruising to improve fuel economy. Inside, Chevy has added a USB port that allows you to control your MP3 player through the truck’s stereo.
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 products. 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 sensors and backup camera are invaluable.
- 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
The 1LT model now includes dual-zone automatic climate control, power-adjustable pedals, remote vehicle start and a heavy-duty rear locking differential. Overall, the interior is spacious, with generous storage in the center console. The front seats are comfy and supportive. 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 media from iPods
- Available touch-screen navigation system
- New seat fabrics on LS and 1LT models
- Titanium and Cashmere interiors now available on Z71 models
The Avalanche’s standard engine is a 310-horsepower (326-hp E85), 5.3-liter V-8 with an iron block, rated at 335 pounds-feet of torque (350 pounds-feet of torque E85) with a six-speed automatic transmission.
Optional safety features include Ultrasonic Rear Parking Assist and a 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 system with rollover mitigation technology
- Seat-mounted side airbags for front occupants
- OnStar with GM Advanced Crash Response (one-year plan standard, subscription required thereafter)
Gross vehicle weight rating: 7,000 pounds (4×2), 7,200 pounds (4×4)
Maximum payload capacity: 1,350 pounds (4×4)
Maximum towing capacity: 8,100 pounds (4×2)
Axle ratios: 3.08:1 standard, 3.42:1 (heavy-duty trailering package)
Minimum ground clearance: 9.1 inches
Approach angle: 16.78 degrees (4×2), 16.64 degrees (4×4)
Departure angle: 20.05 degrees (4×2), 20.31 degrees (4×4)
Z71 Off Road Package includes: monotube shock absorbers, 18-inch off-road 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 (4×2), 32.5 inches (4×4)
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