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PERFORMANCE | 7 out of 10
acceleration with the 5.3-liter V8 is good around town
Despite its considerable size and heft," it's "relatively quick
the Avalanche is not frugal
Kelley Blue Book
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.
The 2010 Chevrolet Avalanche can't hide its bulk, but it does offer decent power and handling for such a large vehicle.