The Chevrolet Avalanche is one of the industry’s most flexible utility vehicles, combining the passenger-comfort attributes of a SUV with the cargo capability of a truck, thanks to the exclusive Midgate. It opens to extend the cargo-carrying capability from the cargo bed’s 5-foot-3-inch-long (1.6 m) length to 8 feet 2 inches (2.5 m). It is available in LS, LT and LTZ models, with 2WD and 4WD.
When the Midgate is open and the rear seat is folded flat, Avalanche can carry 4-foot by 8-foot (1.2 m by 2.4 m) sheets of plywood with the tailgate closed. Storage compartments alongside the cargo box provide ample and lockable storage. The storage compartments also have drains, so they can be filled with ice and used as coolers.
The Avalanche is based on GM’s full-size SUV platform, offering a maximum towing capacity of 8,100 pounds (3,674 kg). It is powered by an efficient combination that includes the Vortec 5.3L V-8 with cylinder-deactivating Active Fuel Management technology and a fuel-saving Hydra-Matic 6L80 six-speed automatic.
Avalanche also delivers useful technology and comprehensive safety features, including Bluetooth wireless phone connectivity with specific steering wheel controls, an available rear camera system, head curtain side-impact air bags and StabiliTrak electronic stability control system. Avalanche offers an integrated brake controller that works with the ABS system to provide immediate and measured brake force signaling to electric-controlled trailer brake systems; there is no requirement for external and/or aftermarket brake control systems.
New features for 2012 include two new exterior colors, a new hard-drive navigation radio and a leather-wrapped heated steering wheel. Also, StabiliTrak now incorporates trailer sway control and hill start assist.
Avalanche design and exterior features
Avalanche’s unique and flexible design enables it to function as an SUV, truck or both. With the rear seat up and the Midgate closed, the Avalanche has room for up to six passengers. The rear seat must be folded to achieve maximum storage capability.
- Central-locking tailgate and cargo cover retaining straps.
- The tailgate is spring-loaded to reduce the effort needed to open or close it.
- Standard assist steps with power-retractable assist steps available on LTZ.
- Heated power-operated outside mirrors are standard on LTZ and available on LT. They include auto-dimming, integrated signal indicators, ground lights and curb-tilt feature.
- A range of 17-inch and 20-inch wheels is offered. Seventeen-inch wheels and tires are standard, with 20-inch factory-installed wheels available (standard on LTZ; available on LT).
- Dealer-installed accessory wheels include 20- and 22-inch designs.
- The Z71 Off Road appearance package is available on LT models and includes high-pressure, gas-charged monotube shocks, 18-inch on/off road tires, automatic-locking differential, front recovery hooks, a durable skid plate and high-capacity air cleaner. Large, color-keyed wheel flares, an aggressive front fascia and satin chrome tubular assist steps, and bright chrome front grille insert provide a one-of-a kind appearance.
- Exterior color choices include: Imperial Blue Metallic, Black, Blue Granite Metallic, Summit White, White Diamond Tricoat, Silver Ice Metallic, Graystone, Victory Red and Blue Topaz Metallic.
Avalanche interior standard and available features
- The rear seat is unique to the Avalanche and enables easy access to the Midgate system. It folds flat, allowing longer items to be carried between the cargo bed and into the rear passenger compartment.
- There is almost no exposed metal hardware or latches, as all models feature enclosing “close-outs” around the seat bottoms and door sill trim plates.
- Avalanche has the segment’s largest center console storage bin, a large glove box and numerous storage compartments.
- Leather-appointed seating is standard on LT and LTZ.
- Heated front seats are standard on LT.
- Heated and cooled front seats are standard on LTZ.
- Heated and leather-wrapped steering wheel is standard on LTZ.
- Dual-zone automatic climate control is standard on LT and LTZ; dual-zone manual-control air conditioning on LS.
- Rear-seat entertainment system is available on LT and LTZ, including DVD player with remote control, overhead display, two sets of wireless infrared headphones, auxiliary audio/video jacks, remote game plug-in and mute button in overhead console.
- SiriusXM Satellite Radio is standard on all models.
- Audio system with AM/FM/CD and USB port is standard on LS and LT.
- Bose Centerpoint Surround Sound system is standard on LTZ; Bose nine-speaker sound standard on LT and a six-speaker non-Bose sound system is standard on LS.
- Navigation radio with touch-screen operation is standard on LTZ and available on LT.
- Power-adjustable pedals are standard on LT and LTZ and available on LS.
- Remote vehicle starter system standard on LT and LTZ and available on LS.
- Convenience Package (PDD) is available on LS and includes power-adjustable pedals, remote vehicle starter system, rear parking assist, rear vision camera and inside mirror with camera display.
- Sun, Entertainment and Destinations Package (PCJ) is available on LT and LTZ and includes an additional nine months of SiriusXM radio and XM NavTraffic service, power sunroof and rear-seat DVD entertainment system. LT also includes an audio system with navigation, AM/FM/SiriusXM radio with CD, rear vision camera and auto-dimming inside rearview mirror.
All models are powered by a Vortec 5.3L V-8 that balances power and efficiency. Variable valve timing helps the 5.3L optimize performance, efficiency and emissions, while GM’s Active Fuel Management cylinder deactivating technology helps improve fuel economy in certain light-load driving conditions. It is also E85-capable and matched with GM’s Hydra-Matic 6L80 six-speed automatic transmission.
- Vortec 5.3L with an iron cylinder block is used on 2WD models (engine code LMG).
- Vortec 5.3L with an aluminum cylinder block is used on 4WD models (engine code LC9).
- The variable valve timing system allows linear delivery of torque, with near-peak levels over a broad rpm range, and high specific output (horsepower per liter of displacement). It also helps reduce exhaust emissions. Because it manages valve overlap at optimum levels, it eliminates the need for an Exhaust Gas Recirculation (EGR) system.
- GM's Active Fuel Management technology increases fuel economy approximately 6 percent under the federal government's required testing procedure and potentially more in certain real-world driving conditions. AFM temporarily deactivates four of the engine’s cylinders under light load conditions and seamlessly reactivates them when full power is required. The transition takes less than 20 milliseconds and is virtually indiscernible.
- A heavy-duty timing chain delivers quiet operation and long life. It is validated for 200,000 miles (320,000 km) of operation.
- E85 is a clean-burning, domestically produced alternative fuel comprising 85 percent ethanol alcohol and 15 percent gasoline. Ethanol is renewable and produces fewer greenhouse gases during the combustion process.
Avalanche chassis and suspension
The Avalanche is built on GM’s full-size SUV platform, incorporating a fully boxed frame, coil-over-shock front suspension, leaf-spring rear suspension and rack-and-pinion steering.
- Wide front and rear tracks – 68.2 inches (1,732 mm) front/67 inches (1,702 mm) rear – enhance handling and vehicle stability for a more confident road feel.
- A stiff frame reduces vibrations transmitted to the passenger cabin, while the strength and accuracy of the fully boxed frame also enable precise mounting and tuning of chassis and suspension components.
- The Autoride suspension system is standard on LTZ and features a segment-exclusive bi-state, real-time damping system that provides a refined ride with greatly reduced body motion. The system consists of a semi-active, two-position damping control system that responds in real time to road and driving conditions, based on body and wheel motion sensors.
- A single-speed transfer case is standard on LS and LT 4WD models.
- A two-speed transfer case is standard on LTZ 4WD and available on LS and LT 4WD models.
- A trailering package with a 3.42 axle ratio, external transmission cooler and engine oil cooler is available on LS, LT and LTZ models.
- The standard axle ratio on all models is 3.08.
- A locking rear differential is standard on LT and LTZ models and available on LS.
Avalanche safety and crash-avoidance features
- Standard head curtain side air bags with rollover protection for both seating rows. The roof-mounted head curtain air bags include design features that provide increased rollover protection and occupant containment.
- StabiliTrak electronic stability control system helps reduce the risk of rollover crashes by keeping the vehicle in the driver’s intended path by applying throttle, braking or a combination of both.
- Available Ultrasonic Rear Parking Assist that can detect certain stationary objects in the rearward path of the vehicle and send an audible warning sound and display via three LEDs near the rear window
- Available rearview camera system designed to provide the driver with
a view of people or objects in the rearward path of the vehicle.
- Standard four-wheel-disc brake system with ABS featuring smooth, quiet operation, longer pad life and more resistance to brake pulsation.
- Pretensioners minimize forward movement during a collision, and are standard on the front safety belts. Load-limiting retractors cinch the belt more tightly.
- LATCH (Lower Anchors and Tethers for CHildren) child seat attachment system, which is included in two second-row seating positions.
- Tire pressure monitoring system, standard on all models.
- Standard remote keyless entry (RKE) system provides a second function for the red panic button. Drivers can use it to locate their cars without sounding the panic alarm.
- Strong body structure to absorb crash energy and provide a protective “safety cage” around occupants.
OnStar is standard on all Avalanche models. It uses GPS and cellular phone technology to automatically call for help in the event of crash. OnStar subscribers also can use the service to be Good Samaritans by sending help to other motorists, and to call for help in other non-crash emergencies.
- OnStar is the leading provider of in-vehicle safety, security and information services in the United States and Canada.
- Six months of complimentary OnStar Directions and Connections service with Turn-by-Turn Navigation for easier route guidance on all Avalanche models. The feature is easy to use because all directions are sent to the car by an advisor, without the need to stop. Turn-by-Turn can be cost-effective, since map updates and aftermarket navigation systems are not needed.
- Stolen Vehicle Assistance helps police track the vehicle.