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Monday, December 22, 2008



Avoiding attempts to provide commercial enterprises with an in-depth recommendation (likely ending in a crew-cab dualie with a diesel from one of the Detroit Three), is focusing on families who use trucks as transportation but need a beast for other tasks as well. Carrying dirt, towing boats, doing both at the same time.... with five passengers. The kind of work at which the Chevrolet Avalanche excels.

Step back to the first-generation Avalanche and your memory is justifiably tainted. That Chevy was so freaking ugly, it became difficult to consider it as a viable alternative to other trucks or SUVs. But the Avalanche cleaned up well. Chevrolet discovered that buyers were in love with what the Avalanche could do and didn't need to be differentiated for the benefit of regular Silverado/F-150 consumers.

What exactly can the Avalanche do? The Avalanche's mid-gate opens the door to a variety of cargo-carrying options.  With the rear-bench folded (shrinking people-carrying capacity to three) the Avalanche's bed becomes an 8'2"x4' weather-protected box. Bed length increases from 63.3" to 98.2" with the mid-gate open. Remove the rear glass and open the cargo cover for taller junk. The actual mid-gate is a lightweight composite that resists scratches and dings.

One special feature isn't enough to secure a Good 12 Supersize victory, however. Thank goodness the Avalanche is based on the Silverado/Suburban foundation that is known to be one of, if not the best truck platforms around. Add stellar small-block V8 engines, excellent transmissions and a well-configured interior. Back of the net.


Engines: 310 horsepower and 335 lb-ft of torque from a 5.3L V8 or 366 horsepower and 376 lb-ft of torque from a 6.0L V8

City Mileage: 12-14 miles per gallon

Base USD Price: $34,960

Cargo Capacity: 45.5 cubic feet of exterior cargo volume

Towing Capability: 5,000-5,500 pounds

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