Vehicle Overview

When it debuted for 2002, the Avalanche upset the trend of making pickups more SUV-like. 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.

New for 2011

Three new exterior colors: Steel Green Metallic, Mocha Steel Metallic and Inferno Orange Metallic replace Laser Blue Metallic and Black Graphite Metallic. Body-colored mirrors now come standard with the LS package. Four-wheel-drive models now come equipped with a standard two-speed transfer case. The 22-inch wheels designed by DUB magazine have been discontinued, and 20-inch chrome-clad wheels are now 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 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. Exterior features include:

  • 17-inch wheels standard
  • Wraparound front bumper cover blends nicely with body
  • Available 20-inch chrome-clad wheels
  • Body-colored mirrors now standard on LS
  • Power-articulating running boards on LTZ models


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. Interior features include:

  • Available rear-seat entertainment system plays DVDs and media from iPods
  • Available touch-screen navigation system

    Under the Hood

    The Avalanche's standard engine is a 310-horsepower (326 hp with E85 fuel), 5.3-liter V-8 with an iron block, rated at 335 pounds-feet of torque (350 pounds-feet of torque with 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)

    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 ratios:
    3.08:1 standard, 3.42:1 (heavy-duty trailering package)

    Minimum ground clearance:
    9.1 inches

    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
    Approach angle:
    16.78 degrees (4x2), 16.64 degrees (4x4)
    Departure angle: 20.05 degrees (4x2), 20.31 degrees (4x4)
    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