Last call for the Chevy Avalanche
By AL VINIKOUR For Sun-Times Media February 27, 2013 3:37PM
2013 CHEVY AVALANCHE
ENGINE: 5.3-liter V8
TRANSMISSION: six-speed automatic
DRIVETRAIN: rear-wheel drive and all-wheel drive
FUEL ECONOMY: 14 city/20 highway
BASE PRICE: $35,980
Updated: February 28, 2013 1:03PM
Ask anyone who has stepped into a Chevrolet Avalanche and they probably would describe it as a truck. Fair enough, it is big like a truck; however GM’s premier division describes it as an “SUV with the cargo capability of a truck.”
This slight distinction is primarily thanks to its exclusive midgate that opens to extend the cargo area from five-feet three inches to eight-feet two inches. Sort of like David Banner being transformed into the Incredible Hulk.
Avalanche was first introduced in 2001 as a 2002 model. Motor Trend named it the 2002 Truck of the Year and during 2003, its third full year of production, sales reached 93,482 units; sales for the 2011 model year barely squeezed out 20,000.
In April of 2012, however, General Motors announced it would cease production of Avalanche and its upscale sibling Cadillac Escalade at the end of the 2013 model year. With the clarity of hindsight, it would not surprise me if later in the decade one sees this behemoth as a collector’s item.
The 2013 Avalanche is commemorated with the Black Diamond Avalanche and is available in three models: LS, LT and LTZ. All three can be equipped with front-wheel drive or four-wheel drive. It features body-color bed surrounds, a unique badge on the sail panel of every vehicle produced, additional features on LS and LT models and lower prices across the lineup.
The Avalanche is based on GM’s full-size SUV platform and offers a maximum towing capacity of 8,100 pounds. It makes an excellent work and lifestyle vehicle. With its rear seat up and the midgate closed, the Avalanche has room for up to six passengers.
To maximize storage capability the rear seat must be folded. Rear-seat legroom is a plentiful 39.1 inches. Standard equipment includes assist steps (running board for all of us old-timers) and grip handles which expands the demographics beyond Special Forces personnel. Ground clearance is a minimum 9.1 inches. Once “atop the mountain” the Avalanche offers a very inviting cabin.
There is almost no exposed metal hardware or latches. Avalanche also has the segment’s largest center console storage bin, a large glove box and numerous storage compartments. On the interior, it’s like sitting in a very large passenger vehicle, and it can be equipped like one as well.
Standard or available interior features include perforated leather seating with heated and cooled driver and front passenger seats, heated and leather-wrapped steering wheel, rear-seat entertainment system, SiriusXM Satellite Radio, a choice of Bose Centerpoint Surround Systems, Navigation radio with touchscreen operation, remote vehicle starter, power adjustable pedals and a host of others.
At the heart of the 2013 Avalanche is its 5.3-liter V8 that’s also E85-capable. It produces 320 horsepower and 335 pound-feet of torque. It’s coupled to a six-speed Hydra-Matic automatic transmission. Standard rear end ratio is 3.08 but with a trailer-towing package it comes with a 3.42 axle ratio. Fuel economy estimate is 14 miles per gallon city/20 mpg highway.
Safety is prevalent with systems and features like StabiliTrak electronic stability control, ultrasonic rear parking assist standard rearview camera, a strong body that provides a safety cage around occupants, a wealth of airbags, etc.
There’s also a ton of special packages and stand-alone options, as well as a lot of dealer-installed features. MSRP of the 2013 Chevy Avalanche starts at $35,980 and goes up to $44,580. That’s a fairly small investment
to make for a future collectible.
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