Chevrolet Avalanche test Drive

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The Avalanche isn’t new. It has been part of the Tahoe/Suburban family for some years now. So it has a familiar look, even it isn’t a familiar site. At least where I live.
The Tahoe still looks pretty nice, and so does the Avalanche. Except for, well, what makes in an Avalanche.
The cheap looking black plastic trim above the pick-up bed.

Inside it is again pretty much the same story as in the Tahoe. Things do fit nicely, but everything is covered in cheap hard plastic.
Which could be OK in a $25 000 pick up truck. But my test unit was priced above $53 000.
Granted, it was loaded with pretty much everything. But still. $53 000!

For that price, it is still lacking an electric steering wheel control, bluetooth audio, and the key fob is the super cheapo looking one with a separate remote. Just like in the 90’s.
(Nothing modern like push button start here.)

It does have a Bose sound system. That actually sounded worse than many base units I’ve heard.
The back seat is roomy, but not huge. You would think….

The “trunk” is actually not as practical has a hatchback. Like the one in the Tahoe or Suburban.
I guess it does work if you carry sheets of ply wood. But again, would you spend $53 000 for that?

The dive is very smooth and comfortable.
Although the transmission wasn’t as smooth as expected.

Handling isn’t too “truck like”. For a truck.

But the worse part of the Avalanche, to me, is its horrendous gas mileage.
While it is rated at 12MPG in the city. The best I ever got, while really trying and driving slow, was about 8.

On the freeway, things didn’t get that much better with 17MPG.

I am really not sure who this thing is for. It looks OK. Much less aggressive than the horrible looking Ford trucks.
But something that isn’t that roomy and gets 8 MPG around town is really for a very few.
Yet, they sold an amazing 20 088 units last year alone! (over 80 000 Tahoes in the same period)

I guess if you need to tow a house, it’ll get the job done….

Conversation 7 comments

  1. If someone really wants one of these gas sucking pigs, they would be better off getting one used for 15K than tossing $53K. The depreciation on them is appalling.

  2. actually deprecation on trucks is suprisingly low. An Avalance like this about 3 years old is still going to cost you around $30K, and you are only going to pay about $45 to start with. You can't find one for $15K unless it's about 6-7 years old and 150K+ miles on it.

    I have a hard time beleving 8MPG

  3. With how popular these are, regardless of the drawbacks, I'm surprised they are doing away with this after two years….although I never understood the difference between this and a 4 door silverado minus a different front end slightly different tail lights and a truck bed that is attached to the rest of the vehicle.

    I'm surprised they didn't pull a swap-a-roo with the Silverado/Tahoe front ends and call it a "refresh" in 2010.

    It did happen, but it was a Suburban Diesel concept. Something that ACTUALLY MAKES SENSE!

  4. My neighbor has one of these. It looks ridiculous and sounds like a boat idling. GM has done a great job with its SUVs but this truck doesn't make sense to me.

  5. This is a unique truck there is nothing else like. Crew cab up front but the rear sealed compartment, single body and suspension of an SUV. It does not drive like a pickup, but rather a very refined SUV. Your fuel economy numbers sound abnormal, Vince. We've had 2 in the family, and my last, a 2009 with the 5.3L and 6-speed could go 2 weeks between fill ups (30 gallon tank accounts for something) averaging 19-21mpg depending on my speed & stop and go. Better than a car I had before it.

    Not for everyone, but a unique vehicle with bed space in the back covered or not, a window that can be removed, and luxury SUV ride/feel.

  6. I always liked these. Not as practical as a Ford Focus, but neither are the highly-regarded Porsche Carrera or 911 (which get lousy mileage for a 2-seater with a miniscule trunk).

    You can't take a Porsche off-road; but you CAN take an Avalanche up over 120MPH (just not legally on public highways).

    The concept will be back. GM broke new ground with this concept and given how many 1000's were sold, I'd say it was a success. (Unlike the failed copycat: Honda Ridgeline)

    I predict a lot of "Avalanche firsts" will start showing up on more fuel-efficent Dodges, Fords, Toyotas, and GM trucks over the next 5 years. And I eagerly look foward to it.

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