When it was redesigned for 2007, the Chevy Avalanche inherited all the attributes of GM's revamped full-size SUVs, including sleeker styling, a new range of LS V-8 engines, and a vastly improved interior.
And despite little support from GM's top management, the Avalanche has remained stubbornly popular while gas prices have taken a sizeable chunk out of the pickup and SUV markets--an accomplishment it owes, no doubt, to its dual-use capability.
The Avalanche's popularity hasn't gone unnoticed by SLP Performance Parts, which has adapted its RSX appearance package to this latest generation, giving it a distinctive, understated look.
Our first impression of the RSX-equipped Avalanche was favorable--the quality and integration of SLP's parts are so close to OE levels, it's hard to tell which is which. The RSX package includes mesh-style grille inserts, a nonfunctional hood scoop, lower bodyside cladding, and nonfunctional fender vents that give the slabsided Chevy a touch of style. Our Chevy wore a set of chrome 20-inch factory wheels, available separately.
The RSX Avalanche we drove also was fitted with SLP's 350-horsepower Stage One PerformancePac for the 5.3-liter engine. This system includes a low-restriction cold-air intake, an all-stainless cat-back exhaust system, and a DiabloSport II handheld tuner with SLP's custom tune that smoothes out all the changes with the factory ECM. In all, it's a 40-horsepower boost over the stock 310.
Word is SLP Performance Parts is trying to persuade a few dealers to upfit some of their stock Avalanches with the RSX outfit, so don't be surprised to see a few of them rolling around. SLP also offers the package via mail order or in person, if you're in the relative vicinity of their shop in Toms River, New Jersey.
The RSX hood scoop and cladding require painting, but can be installed easily by a patient, detail-minded enthusiast. Even the PerformancePac parts are easy to install.
When ordered directly from SLP Performance Parts, the RSX package lists for approximately $1028, and the 350-horsepower PerformancePac is an additional $1672. Certainly value is in the eye of the beholder, but SLP's reputation for near-O.E.-quality, first-rate parts counts for a lot.
If you want to make your new Avalanche stand out from the crowd in a classy way, the RSX package deserves your consideration.