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2007 Chevy Avalanche Z71 Review - Long Term Report

Posted in Vehicle Reviews on March 1, 2009
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Photographers: Jason GondermanSteve VonSeggern

A full year has passed and our Avalanche had almost 25,000 miles put on it by our road warriors before the representatives from Chevrolet showed up at the office to retrieve the keys. During its stay, our Avalanche regularly rolled on more than 5,000 miles a quarter, proving that our picky staffers preferred the Avalanche for their longest trips.

It is easy to see why when you take into account a smooth-riding coil-sprung rear suspension, a roomy interior with supple leather seats, and a rear-seat entertainment system for the kids. Kudos about the Avalanche on the highway flowed freely throughout the year.

One of the best things about our Avalanche for long trips was the nearly 500-mile range, thanks to a potent and fuel-efficient 5.3L OHV V-8 and a four-speed automatic transmission. While we didn't quite see the 20 mpg promised on the window sticker, we did average just short of 15.5 mpg over the course of the year, with a best tank of 18.36 mpg.

Maintenance was also easy, only requiring a service every 8,000 miles or so, depending on the maintenance indicator.

No matter the weather, our Avalanche easily and safely got us to our destination.

Off the highway, the Avalanche was a competent trail rig with the Z/71 package that included suspension upgrades, a locking rear diff, 18-inch wheels and tires, skidplates, and a high-capacity air cleaner. It regularly took us off the beaten path, and while it isn't the rig of choice for the Rubicon, it would gladly tow our Willys there.

We also loved the bed, using it much more than we thought we would. Although the midgate never did see much exercise, we appreciated the weather-resistant tonneau cover that produced lockable storage, which served as a giant trunk on our test rig.

Only a few negative comments popped up over the course of the test, such as a sluggish rear-vision camera that was slow to boot, often coming on too late for the driver to make use of it. We also had a mysteriously intermittent dash rattle that came and went on its own accord, and a midgate that started speaking to us toward the end of the test. We also experienced an erratic tire-pressure monitoring system that gave us low-pressure warnings on cold days and high-pressure warnings on hot days, and we longed for the General's new six-speed automatic throughout the test.

Those complaints aside, our Avalanched proved that it was a reliable, efficient and a deserving winner of the 2007 Four Wheeler Pickup Truck of the Year competition and coddled our staff in comfort and style for a year. While we wouldn't go as far as to call the Avalanche a real pickup, for those who need a more compact crew cab and have hauling needs beyond the typical SUV may just have found the right mix in Chevy's out-of-the-box SUT.

Report: 4 of 4

Previous reports: May '08, Aug. '08, Dec. '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

Long-Term Numbers
Miles to date: 24,578
Miles since last report: 5,060
Average mpg (this report): 15.19
Test best tank (mpg): 18.36
Test worst tank (mpg): 12.81

Problem areas: Radio popping, midgate creak

What's Hot, What's Not
Hot: Great range, good fuel economy, comfortable ride, small-block sound
Not: No six-speed, erratic TPMS, slow rear camera

Logbook Quotes
* "Radio developed an annoying pop from the speakers when the ignition is turned."
* "Traction control is really aggressive on loose dirt."
* "My dad said he really enjoyed this truck."
* "99-degree heat caused high front tire-pressure warning."
* "Just started getting a rattle from the midgate."

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