Chevrolet Avalanche

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Chevrolet Avalanche
2007 Chevrolet Avalanche LS.jpg
Overview
Manufacturer General Motors
Also called Cadillac Escalade EXT
Production September 2001–April 2013
Assembly Detroit, Michigan
Designer Marc R. Asposito Grand Rapids, Michigan
Body and chassis
Class Full-size sport utility truck
Body style 4-door truck
Layout Front engine, rear-wheel drive / Four-wheel drive
Related Cadillac Escalade EXT
Dimensions
Wheelbase 130.0 in (3,302 mm)

The Chevrolet Avalanche was a four-door, five or six passenger sport utility truck sharing GM's long-wheelbase chassis used on the Chevrolet Suburban and Cadillac Escalade EXT. Unlike the typical pickup truck, the open bed of the Avalanche opens to the back seat area through a folding panel (marketed as a 'mid-gate') and a removable rear window. This vehicle averages 18-23 mpg across its various engine sizes. A series of three removable panels form a watertight cover for the cargo bed. Additional storage is provided behind each wheel well, accessed by locking flip-top panels and usable as self-draining ice chests.

Both trucks were available in the United States, Canada, Mexico, and the Middle East in LHD only.

2001–2006[edit]

First generation / GMT800
1st-Chevrolet-Avalanche.jpg
Overview
Production September 2001 - March 2006
Body and chassis
Platform GMT805
Related Cadillac Escalade
Chevrolet Tahoe/GMC Yukon
Chevrolet Suburban/GMC Yukon XL
Chevrolet Silverado/GMC Sierra
Hummer H2
Powertrain
Engine
Transmission
Dimensions
Length 2002–03: 221.7 in (5,631 mm)
2004–06: 221.6 in (5,629 mm)
Width 79.8 in (2,027 mm)
Height 2002–03: 73.3 in (1,862 mm)
2004–06: 73.6 in (1,869 mm)

The Avalanche was launched in September 2001 as a 2002 model on the GMT800 platform. First year Avalanches featured light gray plastic body cladding, intended to provide visual distinction from the Suburban/Yukon XL, but at the expense of a third row seat. Avalanche also gave the public an advance look at the next generation of front fascia designs for the entire GM line. A full-length chrome strip splits each lamp assembly and the grille, with a gold Chevrolet "bow tie" in the center. The hood and fenders featured aggressive folds, in contrast to the soft box of the other GMT800 models.

GMT800 Chevrolet Avalanche WBH

2003 models featured a darker cladding, but GM's new president, Rick Wagoner, demanded removal of this "unpopular" trim (as did certain elements of the public). From mid-year, Avalanche could be ordered without the cladding. The uncladded model, known as the Without Body Hardware (or better by its acronym "WBH"), and alternatively called "slicksides" by GM marketers, resembles the '03-'05 Silverado in the front.

Avalanche was nominated for the North American Truck of the Year award and was Motor Trend magazine's Truck of the Year for 2002.[1]

There are two engine choices:

  • A Vortec 5.3 L V8 producing 290 hp (216 kW), for the half-ton 1500 series;
  • A Vortec 8.1 L V8 with 340 hp (253 kW) and the 4L85-E four-speed transmission, for the three-quarter-ton 2500 series. The drive train is rear-wheel drive or available with selectable high/low four-wheel drive.

The Avalanche was originally marketed as being able to "change from a pickup to an SUV". This was made possible by a plastic cover and an exclusive "midgate" which could open and close. The midgate was a divider behind the second row of seats that could be folded down, with the seats, to create a longer bed area, or folded up to make a larger cab area. A similar midgate was found on the Cadillac Escalade EXT, Hummer H2 SUT and the GMC Envoy XUV.

A Z71 Off-road package was also available on the Avalanche, which included off-road skid plates, 4 wheel drive, heavy duty suspension, and 17" wheels.

The Avalanche was practically fully-equipped, and only came in one model. This model included features such as sixteen-inch alloy wheels and tires (chromed steel on the 2500 model), an A/M-F/M stereo with single-disc CD player and six speakers, cloth seating surfaces, front bench seat with power front driver's seat, power windows, power door locks, keyless entry, full instrumentation, dual front airbags, and air conditioning. Options included OnStar telematics system, cassette player, leather seating surfaces, front dual power bucket seats that could be heated, and side airbags for the front seats. A North Face Edition, in partnership with the North Face brand included limited exterior color options, a unique Ebony/Green leather interior with heated front power dual bucket seats, special exterior ornamentation and decals, white-faced gauges, OnStar telematics system, cassette player, specially-colored door panel inserts and speaker grilles, and more.

For 2003, the Avalanche was slightly changed. A new interior, shared with the Chevrolet Tahoe and Chevrolet Suburban, added a new, larger steering wheel with subsequent audio system and OnStar controls and cruise and speed controls, an optional six-speaker premium Bose sound system with external amplifier, a new gauge cluster with information center, memory for the front driver's seat (on some models), new radio head units, which included an A/M-F/M stereo with single-disc CD/MP3 player and Radio Data System or an A/M-F/M stereo with six-disc CD/MP3 changer and Radio Data System, optional XM Satellite Radio, standard OnStar telematics system, optional rear audio controls with heaphone jacks, an optional rear DVD entertainment system by Panasonic with wireless headphones, new warning chimes that played through the vehicle's audio system instead of through a separate speaker behind the dashboard, and newly-available seventeen-inch alloy wheels and tires. A new WBH option, standing for Without Body Hardware, deleted the Avalanche's standard gray body-side cladding panels and replacing them with a thin black strip of plastic, for a cleaner exterior appearance.

Cladding trouble[edit]

Soon after the release of the Chevrolet Avalanche, customers began to notice cosmetic problems with the cladding on their vehicles. Over time exposure to heat and sunlight would cause a chalky faded appearance. It was especially noticeable on the cargo bed panels, and sail-panel windows where "Zebra Striping" would appear. Customer reaction to this problem resulted in General Motors agreeing to a one time treatment of a product called ArmorDillo. This product would temporarily restore the cladding for a period of about 6 months. After that it would wear off then need to be re-applied. Realizing this was not a permanent solution, GM, together with Gatorback Coatings, developed a coating that could be applied to the cladding to restore it to a like-new shine. This product was designed to etch into the plastic and bond a new layer of tinted acrylic over the faded plastic. Customers within the 3yr/36,000 original factory warranty could go to their dealership to have it restored under their original warranty under GM TSB:04-08-111-001C. GM did not use side body cladding on the second generation model. General Motors has also identified the original source of the faded cladding.

2007–2013[edit]

Second generation (GMT900)
07-Chevrolet-Avalanche.jpg
Overview
Production April 2006–April 2013
Model years 2007–2013
Body and chassis
Platform GM GMT900 platform (Series GMT940: GMT941)
Related Cadillac Escalade
Chevrolet Tahoe/GMC Yukon
Chevrolet Suburban/GMC Yukon XL
Chevrolet Silverado/GMC Sierra
Powertrain
Engine
Transmission
  • 4-speed 4L85-E automatic (2007–08)
  • 6-speed 6L80 automatic (2009–2013)
Dimensions
Length 221.3 in (5,621 mm)
Width 79.1 in (2,009 mm)
Height 76.6 in (1,946 mm)

The GMT900 Avalanche was introduced at the Chicago Auto Show in February 2006. Production of the redesigned Avalanche began at the Silao Assembly in April 2006. The Avalanche maintains the styled front end much like its sister vehicles, the Tahoe/Yukon and Suburban/Yukon XL, yet it still has the distinct midgate and integrated bed as found on the previous incarnation. It has all the same standard and available features as the Suburban and the Tahoe.

A special Z71 package was offered for the second generation Avalanche. This off road package consisted of a suspension tuned for rough terrain, an exclusive automatic locking rear differential, aluminum under body skid plates (visible from the front of the truck), wheel flares, badges, wheels and tires.

Later models introduced another version of the Vortec 5.3-liter V8 as the engine is now capable of running on E85 ethanol. When the 5.3 is running on normal gasoline, it produces 320 horsepower (240 kW) and 335 pound-feet (454 N·m) of torque whereas its output rises to 326 horsepower (243 kW) and 348 pound-feet (472 N·m) of torque on E85, up from 310 horsepower (230 kW) and 335 pound-feet (454 N·m) in 2009. For the 2010 model year, the 6.0-liter was dropped from the Avalanche lineup which left the 5.3 V8 as the only engine available for the truck. In its final year, the 6.0-liter produced 366 horsepower (273 kW) and 376 pound-feet (510 N·m) of torque.

A 2007 Avalanche was given away to the Most Valuable Player of the 2006 Major League Baseball All-Star Game, Michael Young.

An Avalanche is regularly featured on the popular US crime drama CSI: New York and is driven by all members of the team.

In addition, a 2007 Z-71 Avalanche placed second in Speed TV's reality TV series 'Bullrun' in 2009.

Trim Levels[edit]

The second-generation Avalanche came in three well-equipped trim levels:

The LS served as the base model Avalanche. It included seventeen-inch alloy wheels and tires, cloth seating surfaces, power front driver's bucket seat, OnStar telematics system, an A/M-F/M stereo with single-disc CD/MP3 player and auxiliary audio input jack with six speakers, keyless entry, and black door handles, tailgate handle, and side mirrors, aluminum interior trim, front and side airbags, traction control, StabiliTrak, and more.

The LT served as the midlevel model Avalanche. It added power dual front bucket seats, remote start, XM Satellite Radio, Bluetooth hands-free telephone system, and exterior color-keyed door handles, tailgate handle, and side mirrors, wood interior trim, as well as other features.

The LTZ was the top-of-the-line model Avalanche. It added leather seating surfaces, security alarm, an A/M-F/M stereo with six-disc CD/MP3/DVD changer, an eight-speaker premium Bose CenterPoint amplified surround sound system, memory for the front driver's seat, twenty-inch polished alloy wheels and tires, and rear seat audio and video system controls.

Black Diamond Edition[edit]

2013 marked the Avalanche's last year of production. For 2013, all Avalanches, regardless of trim level, featured the Black Diamond Edition Package, which added Black Diamond Edition emblems to the rear pillars, replacing the previous trim level designation emblems, and also adding unique emblems inside the Avalanche commemorating its production from 2002 to 2013. The 2013 Avalanche was produced in limited numbers. Each 2013 Avalanche buyer received a limited-edition coffee table book with photographs of the owner's 2013 Avalanche, a copy of the window sticker from their vehicle, and a complete history of the Avalanche from 2002 to 2013. The book was shipped to either the dealership or owner's home after the owner took delivery of their new 2013 Avalanche. In addition, a newly-available color, named Fairway Green Metallic, commemorated the last year of production for the Avalanche (2013).

Engines:

Discontinuation[edit]

In April 2012, GM announced that production of the Avalanche would end after the 2013 model year, after 2011 saw a sales decline of 2.6% to 20,088 vehicles.[2] Production of the Cadillac Escalade EXT also ended after the 2013 model year.

2013 Avalanche Z71 Black Diamond Last Edition

Yearly American sales[edit]

Calendar Year Total American sales
2001[3] 52,955
2002[3] 89,372
2003[4] 93,482
2004[4] 80,566
2005[5] 63,186
2006[5] 57,076
2007[6] 55,550
2008[6] 35,003
2009[7] 16,432
2010[8] 20,515
2011[9] 20,088
2012 23,995
2013[10] 16,986

References[edit]

External links[edit]