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SAFETY | 8 out of 10
Not yet rated
Not yet rated
Side curtain airbags are now standard
rear-quarter blind spots hinder maneuverability
Since the major change to both crash-test ratings systems, the Avalanche has been left out in the cold.
It's performed well over the years, but the Avalanche has no official crash-test scores to its credit now. Both agencies--the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)--adjusted their testing regimens and formulas for the 2011 model year, and neither has re-tested the Avalanche, likely because it's more than halfway through its current model cycle.
It's difficult even to look at the similar GMC Sierra and Chevrolet Silverado for any relevant data, because the Avalanche is so distinct from those vehicles in terms of side-impact strength--thanks to its clever Midgate.
We're giving the 'Lanche its relatively high score because it's performed well in the past, and continues to add safety technology. The usual airbags and stability control are also programmed to behave more actively in a rollover accident, and GM throws in free OnStar hardware with emergency notification, with an option to extend other infotainment services on a monthly subscription.Safety options on the 2011 Avalanche include a rearview camera and rear parking sensors; a blind-spot warning system; and an integrated brake controller for towing systems. The camera and sensors are recommended, since the truck's high haunches can make rearward visibility a major issue in parking lots.
Crash-test scores are lacking, and we recommend any Avalanche buyer opt for the parking sensors and rearview camera.