2010 Chevrolet Avalanche Review

Consumer Reviews
0 Reviews
2018
The Car Connection
See the nominees and vote »
2018
The Car Connection

The Car Connection Expert Review

Marty Padgett Marty Padgett Editorial Director
November 11, 2009

The 2010 Chevrolet Avalanche flexes its midsection to show off a versatile Midgate, but you'll notice its luxe features and nicely trimmed cabin, too.

TheCarConnection.com's editors have driven the Chevrolet Avalanche to write this hands-on road test. The 2010 Avalanche review is based on driving impressions culled from the past three model years. Editors have compared the Avalanche to other trucks and SUVs to help you narrow your shopping choices, and have edited a companion Full Review that condenses other Web reviews for the most concise review available online.

It's GM's Transformer truck-since 2002 the Chevrolet Avalanche has taken the full-size pickup for an interesting ride by offering a flexible cabin and bed that trade places when needed. There's a Midgate in the middle, and when it's up, the Avalanche seats five and carries a short bed full of stuff; when it's down, the ‘Lanche seats up to three across the front, and opens the bed into the cabin for more than eight feet of linear bed space. With a base price of about $36,000 and rising to more than $47,000, 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.

The latest Avalanche joined the GM lineup in 2007, and it's changed very little in terms of styling. Compared to the first-generation Avalanche, the new truck is significantly less plasticky, without the big add-on trim that gave the original a gaudy look. Trim and with a bit of the off-roading look built into the sail panels behind the cabin windows, the Avalanche has a nicely brief truck bed, pronounced fenders, and a big twin-grille front end that cues up like the noses on the new Chevrolet Malibu and Traverse. The cockpit's very well designed and fitted, and the six- and five-passenger versions have distinct interiors. Ordering twin bucket seats in front leaves the ‘Lanche with a wide center console that can be trimmed in wood grain; in six-seat form, the console goes away, leaving a higher, plainer dash in its place. The door panels echo the fenders, and the gauges are big and clearly laid out, with minimal fuss.

A single powertrain couples to rear- or four-wheel drive on the 2010 Chevrolet Avalanche. With the optional 6.0-liter V-8 dropped, the only engine offered is a 5.3-liter V-8 with flex-fuel capability, 310 horsepower, 330 pound-feet of torque, and cylinder deactivation to help fuel economy. It's a workhorse of an engine, able and torquey and pleasant to hear from inside the truck, and it's coupled to a great six-speed automatic that works very well to generate acceleration as good as some passenger cars. 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 2010 Dodge Ram may ride a bit better, but the Avalanche is quite smooth on most road surfaces, with a measure of steering feel that's untrucklike in a good way-and it tows up to 8,100 pounds and hauls 1,350 pounds of payload.

Review continues below

With an interior like that in the latest Chevy Silverado and Tahoe, the Avalanche has comfortable seats front and back, with a high-quality look and feel. Comfort and controls are first-rate and simple to use. Seats are generously proportioned in front especially, and there's plenty of space in back for adults. Some drivers will opt for the optional rear camera system, though, as rearward vision can be obscured. With the exception of a couple of cheap bits, you'll find little to gripe about. The big center console on five-passenger versions is wide and deep, and all versions have good storage in the glove box and the door panels, but it doesn't have the flat floor of the Ford F-150 or the flexible storage bins of the latest 2010 Dodge Ram. The truck's hallmark-the Midgate-is either a blessing or not useful enough. The bed expands from 5' 3" to 8' 2", giving it more full-size capacity, and there's not much of a downside to the Midgate for body structure. If you truly need long-bed hauling all the time, a four-door Silverado's a better bet, and if you only use a truck occasionally, the smaller Ford Explorer might be more practical as a daily driver. In between, the Avalanche is a singularly reasonable solution.

The 2010 Chevy Avalanche earns five-star crash ratings from NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration), but hasn't been tested by the IIHS (Insurance Institute for Highway Safety). It's fitted with a comprehensive set of safety features, including front, side, and curtain airbags; anti-lock brakes; and stability and traction control. Safety options include a rearview camera; rear parking sensors; a blind-spot warning system; power-folding tow mirrors; and an integrated brake controller for towing systems.

The Avalanche offers more technology features than most buyers might expect, which is also the case with GM's other full-size trucks. Standard equipment includes power windows, locks, and mirrors; an AM/FM/XM/CD player with MP3 capability; a USB port for iPod/MP3 players; and the Midgate. Options include a navigation system; a rear-seat DVD entertainment system; Bluetooth; and a Bose Centerpoint audio system. Also offered: leather seats; ventilated front seats; and packages like the Z71 Off-Road option, which loads on fog lamps, special trim, and big recovery hooks, in case you're caught in deep slop.

7

2010 Chevrolet Avalanche

Styling

Inside the unique exterior styling of the 2010 Chevrolet Avalanche lurks an upscale interior.

It's GM's Transformer truck-since 2002 the Chevrolet Avalanche has taken the full-size pickup for an interesting ride by offering a flexible cabin and bed that trade places when needed. There's a Midgate in the middle, and when it's up, the Avalanche seats five and carries a short bed full of stuff; when it's down, the ‘Lanche seats up to three across the front and opens the bed into the cabin for more than eight feet of linear bed space. With a base price of about $36,000 and rising to more than $47,000, 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.

The latest Avalanche joined the GM lineup in 2007, and it's changed very little in terms of styling. ForbesAutos notes it's "a cross between a full-size SUV and a full-size pickup truck." Kelley Blue Book points out that the Chevrolet Avalanche 2010's "monochromatic exterior features wraparound fascias that eliminate bumper-to-body gaps," adding that a "sleek windshield angle extends into a smoother roofline, the front air dam is low and wide and prominent fenders with integrated wheel flares complement the bulging power-dome hood." Compared to the first-generation Avalanche, the new truck is significantly less plasticky, without the big add-on trim that gave the original a gaudy look. "The previous Avalanche's body cladding is gone, replaced with integrated rocker panels and bumpers," Cars.com says. Trim and with a bit of the off-roading look built into the sail panels behind the cabin windows, the Avalanche has a nicely brief truck bed, pronounced fenders, and a big twin-grille front end that shares genes with the noses on the new Chevrolet Malibu and Traverse. Cars.com contends the Chevrolet Avalanche 2010 "closely resembles the 2010 Chevrolet Tahoe up front, though with an overall length of 221 inches it's nearly as long as Chevrolet's full-size Suburban SUV."

The cockpit's very well designed and fitted, with six- and five-passenger versions having distinct interiors. Cars.com says its "interior styling cues echo the Tahoe and Suburban, with a curvaceous dashboard," and calls it a "carlike environment that's far beyond GM's previous interiors." Ordering twin bucket seats in front leaves the ‘Lanche with a wide center console that can be trimmed in wood grain; in six-seat form, the console goes away, leaving a higher, plainer dash in its place. The door panels echo the fenders, and the gauges are big and clearly laid out, with minimal fuss. ForbesAutos simply reports that the 2010 Chevy Avalanche's "nice two-tone interior is crafted from high-quality materials," while Car and Driver pays a halfhearted compliment to the "decent interior."

7

2010 Chevrolet Avalanche

Performance

The 2010 Chevrolet Avalanche can't hide its bulk, but it does offer decent power and handling for such a large vehicle.

A single powertrain couples to rear- or four-wheel drive on the 2010 Chevrolet Avalanche. With the optional 6.0-liter V-8 dropped, the only engine offered is a 5.3-liter V-8 with flex-fuel capability, 310 horsepower, 330 pound-feet of torque, and cylinder deactivation to help fuel economy. It's a workhorse of an engine, able, torquey, and pleasant to hear from inside the truck, and it's coupled to a great six-speed automatic that works very well to generate acceleration matching that of some passenger cars. ConsumerGuide says "acceleration with the 5.3-liter V8 is good around town," but reports only "adequate highway passing power." Cars.com agrees, remarking the engine "produces adequate acceleration around town, and it's whisper-quiet." Car and Driver bluntly states it's "not quick," but Edmunds asserts, "despite its considerable size and heft, the 2010 Chevy Avalanche is relatively quick," though they do confess, "acceleration and fuel economy begin to suffer when the truck is loaded down with passengers or cargo."

Fuel efficiency isn't the strong suit of the 2010 Avalanche. The EPA rates the truck at 14/20 mpg, which is respectable for a truck of this size and capacity, but not overwhelming. Cars.com points out its cylinder deactivation "automatically shuts down four cylinders during low-load driving situations like highway cruising." Even so, the Avalanche "is not frugal," according to Kelley Blue Book.

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 is "certainly no sports car around corners," Edmunds says, but "it deals with them in a competent, predictable manner while delivering a quiet and comfortably controlled ride on the highway." The 2010 Dodge Ram may ride a bit better, but the Avalanche is quite smooth on most road surfaces and has a measure of steering feel that's untrucklike in a good way-and it tows up to 8,100 pounds and hauls 1,350 pounds of payload. Kelley Blue Book says the bulk makes city driving a challenge: "piloting an Avalanche through crowded urban streets is no picnic because of the vehicle's bulk, though maneuverability is better than some might expect." The Avalanche may be "big and hard to maneuver," Car and Driver observes, but it "drives pretty well, with good steering and brake-pedal feel."

Handling and ride can change, depending on trim levels. Two- and four-wheel-drive drivetrains are available with the Avalanche. A heavy-duty Z71 Off-Road package is optional and features larger recovery hook openings; larger, more prominent fog lamps; and specific grille texture and platinum chrome grille trim. Eighteen-inch wheels and tires are also part of the package.

8

2010 Chevrolet Avalanche

Comfort & Quality

The 2010 Chevrolet Avalanche sports real six-passenger seating, the flexible Midgate, and good interior quality.

With an interior like that in the latest Chevy Silverado and Tahoe, the Avalanche has comfortable seats front and back, with a high-quality look and feel.

Seats are generously proportioned in front especially, and there's plenty of space in back for adults. Cars.com states that "two rows provide seats for up to six occupants," however. Edmunds reports that the "more common front bucket-seat arrangement seats five, but the [2010 Chevy] Avalanche can accommodate up to six occupants when equipped with the split-bench front seat." Car and Driver feels there's "not much people space" inside, a minority opinion among reviews studied by TheCarConnection.com's editors.

Small-item storage is good. The big center console on five-passenger versions is wide and deep, and all versions have good storage in the glove box and the door panels, but it doesn't possess the flat floor of the Ford F-150 or the flexible storage bins of the latest 2010 Dodge Ram.

If you truly need long-bed hauling all the time, a four-door Chevrolet Silverado's a better bet, and if you only use a truck occasionally, the smaller Honda Ridgeline might be more practical as a daily driver. In between, the 2010 Chevy Avalanche is a singularly reasonable solution. The bed expands from 5' 3" to 8' 2", giving it more full-size capacity, and there's not much of a downside to the Midgate for body structure. Kelley Blue Book notes, "true pickup-truck fans might shun the Avalanche's relatively short cargo bed and SUV foundation, but the Midgate gives it a degree of versatility that's absent from traditional pickups." Car and Driver raves about "cargo flexibility" in the 2010 Chevrolet Avalanche, and the "pass-through capability" vastly increases its usefulness. Cars.com points out that the rear seats "can fold to extend the cargo bed, but once the Midgate is down there is no partition separating the driver and front passenger from the elements." They also advise shoppers that when the rear seats are in use, the truck bed "measures 5.3 feet long and has 45.5 cubic feet of volume-roughly equal to a four-door Dodge Dakota Club Cab."

Comfort and controls are first-rate and simple to use. ConsumerGuide says the 2010 Chevy Avalanche is "trimmed mostly with hard plastic, but many surfaces are textured, lending an upscale appearance," and notes that "gauges are large and easy to read...the climate controls are mounted slightly low but are no trouble to reach." According to Edmunds, the interior is "constructed of high-quality materials, the cabin features straightforward ergonomics and top-notch fit and finish."

ConsumerGuide also reports that while there is "noticeable highway-speed wind rush and tire rumble...bump noise is well-suppressed, [and] engine whine intrudes only in rapid acceleration." They assert "the Avalanche rides surprisingly well for a large pickup truck. It betrays its design with only mild bounding over large bumps."

9

2010 Chevrolet Avalanche

Safety

The 2010 Chevrolet Avalanche is a strong crash-test study, but visibility warrants attention.

The 2010 Chevy Avalanche earns five-star crash ratings from NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) and a three-star rollover rating, but it hasn't been tested by the IIHS (Insurance Institute for Highway Safety).
It's fitted with a comprehensive set of safety features, including front, side, and curtain airbags; anti-lock brakes; and stability and traction control. According to Edmunds, the Chevrolet Avalanche 2010's "rollover mitigation feature senses impending rollovers and can apply individual brakes in an attempt to stop them." In addition, the 2010 Chevy Avalanche is equipped with "GM's OnStar emergency communications system."
Safety options include a rearview camera, rear parking sensors, a blind-spot warning system, power-folding tow mirrors, and an integrated brake controller for towing systems.
Visibility is one area where the 2010 Chevy Avalanche doesn't shine. ConsumerGuide notes "the tall tail restricts vision directly aft." And while the "rear obstacle detection and rearview camera are helpful," they remark, "the camera distorts distances, compromising its usefulness." Edmunds warns the Avalanche's "large size and rear-quarter blind spots hinder maneuverability in tight spots."

9

2010 Chevrolet Avalanche

Features

In addition to its cargo-versatility features, the 2010 Chevrolet Avalanche comes well equipped with the features luxury SUV buyers like.

The Avalanche offers more technology features than most buyers might expect, which is also the case with GM's other full-size trucks.

According to Edmunds, "there are two main trim levels; LS and LT, plus a premium line-topping LTZ package." Edmunds also suggests that the Chevrolet Avalanche 2010 "LT is generally more desirable because it's upgradeable with additional extras for those who want more than an entry-level vehicle" than a base 2010 Chevrolet Avalanche.

Cars.com notes "all Avalanches come well-equipped with power windows, power door locks and keyless entry, as well as a power driver's seat and steering-wheel audio controls." Other standard equipment includes an AM/FM/XM/CD player with MP3 capability, a USB port for iPod/MP3 players, and the Midgate. In addition to the innovative Midgate, the bed itself has some features worth mentioning. "The bed offers a non-slip mat that even held bags of ice in place. Each rear fender incorporates a lockable compartment, accessible from the top," Cars.com reports. "A three-piece cargo cover is standard, though it's difficult to remove and even harder to stow."

Options include a navigation system, a rear-seat DVD entertainment system, Bluetooth, and a Bose Centerpoint audio system. Also offered: leather seats; ventilated front seats; power-adjustable pedals; a remote start system; and packages like the Z71 Off-Road option, which loads on fog lamps, special trim, and big recovery hooks, in case you're caught in deep slop.

Continue Reading

The Car Connection Consumer Review

Rate and Review your car for The Car Connection! Tell us your own ratings for a vehicle you own. Rate your car on Performance, Safety, Features and more.
Write a Review
USED PRICE RANGE
$11,998 - $25,995
Browse Used Listings
in your area
8.0
Overall
Expert Rating
Rating breakdown on a scale of 1 to 10?
Styling 7.0
Performance 7.0
Comfort & Quality 8.0
Safety 9.0
Features 9.0
Fuel Economy N/A
Compare the 2010 Chevrolet Avalanche against the competition
Compare All Cars
Looking for a different year of the Chevrolet Avalanche?
Read reviews & get prices
Related Used Listings
Browse used listings in your area
See More Used