The Gentleman's Pickup
Why not just get a pickup? This is the eternal question when you are the pilot of the Avalanche and one we have strived to explain to the curious. The fact of the matter is that the Avalanche is not only a nice SUV, but also a really fine pickup truck, and it impresses with its tidier size (for a fullsize), excellent ride, and still-functional pickup box. It's the pickup for those who need occasional pickup capability, but don't want to sacrifice SUV traits.
And did we mention the gobs of lockable storage? This is probably the thing our testers missed most when moving from the Avalanche to other pickups in the fleet. The lockable side storage is something that should be standard on every truck and when coupled with the locking tonneau-which essentially provides a huge trunk-gives you heaps of secure storage that you won't find in a traditional pickup.
Whether piling in the co-workers for lunch or taking the family on a weekend getaway, the Avalanche's cabin has room for everyone. The rear entertainment system is great for longer trips, and the Avalanche piles on the miles effortlessly.
So far, our Avalanche has returned a respectable 15.14 mpg, and the 5.3L V-8 and its 320 hp has been universally praised as a good match for the SUT, and while the venerable four-speed automatic works as advertised, we long for the new six-speed that is currently available in the high-end trucks like the H2 SUT and Cadillac Escalade EXT that will eventually replace the four-speed in the common-man versions of the GMT900 platform.
The logbook reported a few minor issues with our Avalanche, such as a phantom dash rattle that comes and goes, brake squeal at low speeds, and door gaskets that squeak when the temperature drops. We also noted one little niggle that creeps up in every day use-the reverse camera is too slow to boot. While it works great in parallel parking situations, when we quickly back out of a parking spot, we are already pulling forward by the time the screen is ready.
Our Avalanche finally requested its first service at 9,000 miles and we brought it in to Selman Chevrolet in Orange, California. An unintended service stop for a flat required a new tire and was also handled at Selman.
The little things aside, Chevy's Avalanche is living up to expectations as our 2007 Four Wheeler Pickup Truck of the Year, and at this point, we can wholeheartedly recommend it to whoever might be considering one for their own fleet.
Report: 2 of 4
Previous reports: May '08
Base price: $36,040
Price as tested: $47,310
Four-wheel-drive system: Electronic knob activated, part-time with low range and auto settings range
Miles to date: 14,447
Miles since last report: 8,162
Average mpg (this report): 15.14
Test best tank (mpg): 18.36
Test worst tank (mpg): 13.18
9,663-miles: Oil Service ($54.95)
12,735-miles: Replace Tire ($194.46)
Problem areas: Dash rattle, squeaky weatherstripping, brake squeal
What's Hot, What's Not
Hot: Fuel economy, small-block sound, great ride, comfortable cabin
Not: Rear camera takes too long to boot, still longing for the six-speed
* "I can drive this thing all day and not feel fatigued."
* "Tires are super loud when making low-speed tight turns."
* "Tranny needs two more cogs."
* "Distance to empty goes from 59 miles to 'Low' quickly."
* "The extra lockable bed storage is a feature that is easy to get used to."