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PERFORMANCE | 7 out of 10
acceleration with the 5.3-liter V8 is good around town
the Avalanche is not frugal
Kelley Blue Book
Despite its considerable size and heft, the 2009 Chevy Avalanche is relatively quick
The fuel efficiency of the 2009 Chevrolet Avalanche could be better, but it does combine a significant amount of power with agile handling.
In terms of handling, Kelley Blue Book quips, "piloting an Avalanche through crowded urban streets is no picnic because of the vehicle's bulk, though maneuverability is better than some might expect." Edmunds observes that while "the Avalanche is certainly no sports car around corners, it deals with them in a competent, predictable manner while delivering a quiet and comfortably controlled ride on the highway." The 2009 Chevrolet Avalanche handles well because of a "revised suspension [that] provides a comfortable ride and more precise handling," according to ForbesAutos, allowing that the truck "may be too large for some motorists (or garages) to handle." Car and Driver acknowledges that the Avalanche is "big and hard to maneuver, [but] for a monster truck, the Avalanche drives pretty well, with good steering and brake-pedal feel."
ConsumerGuide says that "acceleration with the 5.3-liter V8 is good around town," but remarks that the 2009 Chevy Avalanche has only "adequate highway passing power." Cars.com says, “The 5.3-liter V-8 produces adequate acceleration around town, and it's whisper-quiet.” Car and Driver calls the Avalanche “not quick.” Edmunds begs to differ, however: "despite its considerable size and heft, the 2009 Chevy Avalanche is relatively quick, even when equipped with the standard 5.3-liter V-8." Edmunds acknowledges, "acceleration and fuel economy begin to suffer when the truck is loaded down with passengers or cargo." Towing power is impressive, rated at well over four tons. The available 6.0-liter, 366-horsepower V-8 also shuts off cylinders under low engine loads to reduce fuel consumption.
As mentioned, the 2009 Chevy Avalanche isn’t the most fuel-efficient SUV. Cars.com points out "all three engines feature cylinder deactivation, which automatically shuts down four cylinders during low-load driving situations like highway cruising." Nonetheless, "the Avalanche is not frugal, even with the Active Fuel Management System," according to Kelley Blue Book. The EPA reports 14 mpg city and 20 highway for the 5.3-liter V-8 and 12/17 mpg for the 6.0-liter engine.
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.
The 2009 Chevrolet Avalanche performs well, with great towing capability, but it still drives like the large truck that it is.