Chevrolet Avalanche History
The 2013 Chevrolet Avalanche Black Diamond EditionEnlarge Photo
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The Chevrolet Avalanche is a four-door pickup truck introduced by General Motors in 2002, and significantly revamped for the 2007 model year. With an unusual midgate that converts the truck from SUV to expanded-length pickup, the Avalanche has few competitors save for GM's own Cadillac Escalade EXT; the four-door Ford F-150 and Dodge Ram 1500 Crew Cab, and the Honda Ridgeline are similar in utility, if not execution.
The Avalanche is part sport-utility vehicle, and part pickup truck--something of a Swiss Army Knife among trucks. The cabin has nearly the same room as GM's traditional SUVs like the Chevy Tahoe and GMC Suburban. However, the short pickup bed can be expanded in length and volume via the "Midgate"--a fold-down panel that divides the external bed from the interior. When folded down, the Avalanche sports a nearly full-sized pickup bed, though it's no longer enclosed like a sport-ute. In the current generation, the bed expands from 5' 3" to 8' 2". The Midgate gives it distinct advantages over vehicles like the Honda Ridgeline, which also has a short bed but a fixed wall separating the cabin and the cargo area.
In its first generation from the 2002-2006 model years, the Avalanche drew praise for its flexibility, but some critics and consumers were turned off by the plastic cladding added to give it a distinct look from the Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra pickups that also share its architecture. The current Avalanche has much less plastic trim outside, a well-designed interior, and seating for five or six passengers, depending on configuration of the seats.
Previous generations have included other V-8 powertrains and transmissions. Through the final few model years, a sole engine and transmission were offered on the Avalanche. It's GM's 5.3-liter V-8, teamed to a six-speed automatic transmission and either rear- or four-wheel drive. The engine is flex-fuel capable, meaning it can be filled with E85 ethanol-blended gasoline. Fuel economy isn't wonderful, but 14/20 mpg is respectable for a truck of this size and capacity. The latest generation of GM trucks has well-sorted steering, ride, and handling, thanks to independent suspensions up front and coil springs in the rear.
The Avalanche has earned five-star crash ratings in the past from the NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration), and options include a rearview camera and Bluetooth.
The Avalanche is closely related to the Cadillac Escalade EXT, with much in common with the Silverado/Sierra pickups and the Tahoe/Suburban/Escalade SUVs. Unlike those vehicles, the Avalanche is not offered under another name by GMC, and it does not come with a Hybrid option.
In 2012, Chevy announced that the 2013 Avalanche would close out the model's production run. A final Black Diamond edition marks the end of the line, with more standard features bundled together, denoted by special Black Diamond badging.
2002 Chevrolet AvalancheEnlarge Photo