Pre-Owned: 2007 to 2013 Chevrolet Avalanche
Half Truck, Half SUV
The Chevrolet Avalanche isn’t like other pickup trucks or sport utility vehicles. But it is a kind of cross between the two. And that works fine for people who spend most of their time transporting people and occasionally need the abilities of a half-ton truck to do a little hauling.
It was styled by John Cafaro, who was also chief designer of the C5 Corvette. It shares a foundation with the Silverado pickup (plus the Chevy Tahoe/Suburban and the Cadillac Escalade), otherwise known as the GMT900 platform. The Avalanche can take up to six occupants, although some critics have complained that the seats aren’t great for long trips.
The truck’s special feature, though, is its “midgate" behind the rear seats, which, when lowered, will add another 34 inches to the 63-inch bed. The rear seats fold flat for optimal practicality. The cargo area also has lockable storage compartments that have drain holes, so they can act as cool boxes when filled with ice.
This second-generation model has plenty of improvements over its predecessor, such as rack-and-pinion steering replacing the vague recirculating ball arrangement, a more sophisticated suspension and cabin, a tailgate lock that connects to the central locking system, and available remote start. Chevy also ditched the nasty black cladding in favor of the Suburban’s smoother styling.
The entry-level engine in rear-drive versions is a 5.3L iron-block V-8 making 320 hp and 340 lb-ft of torque. In models with all-wheel drive, a 5.3L V-8 with an aluminum block develops 310 hp and 335 lb-ft. The upgrade engine is a 6.0L V-8 generating 366 hp and 380 lb-ft of torque, but this was discontinued after the ’09 model year. The first transmission was a four-speed automatic, which was upgraded to a six-speeder for ’09.
A self-leveling air suspension called Autoride is standard in the highest trim, but optional in the less expensive versions. This feature is a boon for towing. Speaking of which, maximum pulling capacity is 8,000 pounds. The all-wheel-drive version can take the largest payload at 1,355 pounds. However, the rear-drive version will still handle a useful 1,322 pounds.
Trim levels are LS, LT, and LTZ. The first trim’s standard equipment includes 17-inch alloy wheels and a power-adjustable driver seat. The second brings goodies like satellite radio and wood trim cabin accents. LTZ is the plushest, with leather seating surfaces, heated seats, 20-inch alloy wheels, Bose audio, and the aforementioned air suspension.
The Avalanche was also available with the Z71 off-road package that has fender flares to accommodate 18-inch wheels with all-terrain tires, a dedicated suspension, automatic locking differential, and aluminum skidplates. Other options include automatic running boards, rear parking sensors, rearview camera, navigation, and a DVD-based rear-seat entertainment setup.
In ’08, satellite radio and side curtain airbags became standard throughout the range. In ’09, apart from the six-speed automatic transmission, the LTZ received heated and cooled front seats with 12-way power adjustability and memory function. This was also the year when the output of the 5.3L V-8 in all-wheel-drive versions matched that of the rear-drive model.
A single-speed transfer case arrived as standard equipment in ’10 all-wheel-drive versions. A two-speed (low/high) transfer case was optional for this model year, but became standard in ’11 LTZ models with all-wheel drive. Trailer sway control and hill start assist joined the inventory of standard kit in ’12. Heated seats made their way into the LT trim, while the LTZ gained a heated steering wheel.
The rearview camera, rear parking sensors, power-adjustable pedals and fog lamps were added to the ’13 LS. And this final year of production was commemorated with a Black Diamond edition that had some cosmetic additions and a few more features in the lower two trims.
For comparison, a ’10 LT with rear-wheel drive, the 5.3L V-8, 90,000 miles on the odometer and in good condition is valued at $15,985. The automotive world is not exactly swimming with direct rivals. A mid-level Honda Ridgeline (with a V-6 and all-wheel drive as standard) with similar mileage and condition might fetch $13,131. Should a buyer eventually prefer to go for a regular pickup, a rear-drive ’10 Ford F-150 SuperCrew in Lariat trim is blue-booked at $15,812.
2007-2013 Chevrolet AvalancheBody type: 4-door sport utility truck
Drivetrain: Front engine, RWD/4WD
Airbags: Driver, front passenger, side curtain
Engine: 3.5L/320hp OHV V-8; 5.3L/310hp OHV V-8 (’07-’08); 6.0L/366hp OHV V-8 (’07-’09)
Brakes, f/r: Disc, disc, ABS
Price range, whlsl/retail (KBB): $9,027/$9,725 (’07, RWD LS 5.3L V-8), $28,234/$30,513 (’13, AWD LTZ 5.3: V-8)
NHTSA frontal impact rating, driver/fr pass: Five stars/five stars