For those who've been following the news of Chevrolet and GMC's GMT900 vehicle launches, the look of the 2007 Avalanche should come as no surprise. It has the Tahoe/Suburban front end, Tahoe/Suburban lines along the sides (until your eyes reach the C-pillar, of course), and the flying-buttress design takes over behind the second set of doors. Inside, the instrument panel, HVAC, and seats are new, and the cabin takes on a more luxurious appearance. Front and rear headroom, rear legroom, and front hiproom have increased, while other interior dimensions stay basically the same.

But what we like most about the Avalanche is the cargo box and Midgate. The Midgate returns with relatively few changes, and the composite bed, which can hold up to a 4x8-foot sheet of plywood, continues to have storage compartments with drain holes. The bed has been extended two inches, and the tailgate is now spring-loaded, making it easier to open and close. Also, the tailgate no longer has a regular lock--it is now secured from a switch in the cabin or from the key fob.

Chevrolet has responded to the Ridgeline by building on its success with the Avalanche and improving on its shortcomings. The new platform is a welcome upgrade, and the interior is one of the best to come from Chevrolet in a long time. The truck has the right combination of attributes--power, space, towing capacity, and off-road ability--for people who sometimes want room for six people, but also have towing and cargo-carrying needs. At first look, the new Avalanche seems more capable than ever in this expanding category but we'll know more once we get one to test. More to follow.