With the Avalanche’s standard 3 piece hard tonneau in place, an 8.1 ft long covered shelf is created. Flexibility is the key; Chevrolet calls the Avalanche a UUV, Ultimate Utility Vehicle. As with the Suburban it’s based on, the Avalanche is available in two series, 1500 ½ ton and 2500 ¾ ton, as well as 2 wheel drive and 4 wheel drive. A 285 bhp 5.3bhp ohv small block Vortec 5300 V8 powers 1500 Series Avalanche, while 2500 Series models are motivated by a 340 bhp 8.1 liter ohv big block Vortec 8100 V8. Both engine are teamed with a 4 speed automatic featuring tow/ haul mode. Four wheel drive models are equipped with the Autotrac system that can automatically switch from 2wd to 4wd when needed to maintain traction. When equipped with trailer brakes, the 2500 Series Avalanche can tow up to 12,000 lb. the exterior design of the Avalanche is on the adventurous side, with liberal use of plastic cladding that may not be everyone’s cup of tea. But the flying buttresses aft of the rear roof pillars actually add structural support, and the plastic covers alongside the bed are lockable lids for huge storage wells.
The Avalanche’s angry face is actually the new front end for all Chevy Silverados, Tahoes and Suburbans. Sure, the Avalanche is big and bodacious, but that midgate sure works well. A moveable rear bulkhead is probably the biggest thing to happen to trucks and sport utilities in a decade. And GM pulled it off, where others struggled with structural, crash and packaging considerations. One might argue that something off the TrailBlazer’s new midsize platform might have wider appeal.