2007 Chevrolet Avalanche Expert Review

You'll Like The 2007 Chevrolet Avalanche If...

If you regularly pull a boat or trailer and also need the cargo capabilities of a pickup truck, along with abundant passenger space and comfort, remember that a properly-equipped Avalanche can tow up to 8,000 pounds. With its versatile Midgate configuration, the Avalanche can be set up to carry long loads (including four-by-eight-foot plywood sheets) or, with rear seatbacks raised, to hold a full complement of passengers.

You May Not Like The 2007 Chevrolet Avalanche If...

If gas mileage is a major concern, you might be better off with a different sort of vehicle, because the Avalanche is not frugal, even with the new Active Fuel Management System. Piloting an Avalanche through crowded urban streets is no picnic because of the vehicle's bulk, though maneuverability is better than some might expect.

What's New

In addition to Flex-Fuel capability, new Active Fuel Management technology lets the V8 engine switch automatically from eight- to four-cylinder operation, during lighter-load conditions, to reduce fuel consumption. New body features include a central-locking, spring-loaded tailgate that opens and closes more easily and cargo-cover retaining straps, but head-curtain airbags are an option rather than standard.

Interior Features

With its Midgate closed, the Avalanche seats up to six passengers. Folding down the rear seat yields the greatest cargo-hauling capacity. Roomier than before, the Avalanche gains passenger space via a lower instrument panel and deeper windshield. Front-row seats have gained an inch of rearward travel. A monster console in upper trim levels separates front-seat occupants, who have a remarkably generous amount of space. The rear seat folds flat, rear-seat occupants enjoy more shoulder space and three fit easily, though the center position is a bit hard. Seatbacks are somewhat firm, but deliver above-average comfort. Gauges are easy to read at a glance.

Exterior Features

As with that of its predecessor, the second-generation Avalanche's Midgate opens to extend cargo-bed length from 5.3 feet to 8.2 feet. With improved aerodynamics and a strengthened chassis, the redesigned monochromatic exterior features wraparound fascias that eliminate bumper-to-body gaps. Storage compartments alongside the cargo box include drains and provide lockable space and a three-piece rigid cargo cover with interlocking panels is available. A sleeker windshield angle leads into a smoother roofline, the front air dam is lower and wider and prominent fenders with integrated wheel flares complement the bulging power-dome hood. Wider front and rear tracks enhance stability.

Driving Impressions

Compared to the first-generation Avalanche, the 2007 model has an impressive level of refinement. On good roads the suspension absorbs most imperfections, delivering an almost cushiony ride but not at the expense of control or security, and the Avalanche takes curves with a high level of stability. Acceleration is more rapid than it appears, because power flow is so smooth. The automatic transmission shifts in an easy and positive manner, with a brief delay for acceleration to pass or merge. Steering is on the light side, but not effortless, and the vehicle has an impressively tight turning circle.

Pricing Notes

In LS trim with rear-wheel drive the Avalanche starts at $33,235. A midlevel Avalanche LT stickers for $33,940, while the top-of-the-line LTZ has a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of $40,670. Four-wheel drive boosts each figure by $3,000. The Fair Purchase Price, which represents what consumers are actually paying, is likely to be significantly lower. Be sure to click on Fair Purchase Prices to check what the Avalanche is currently selling for in your area. In terms of resale value, we predict that the Avalanche will not perform particularly well over time. The two-wheel-drive Avalanche is expected to retain 33 percent of its original value over a 60-month period, while the four-wheel-drive Avalanche should retain 35 percent. Those figures are on par with the Dodge Ram and a bit higher than the Ford SuperTrac, but below Ford's SuperCrew pickups.

Notable Equipment

In base LS trim, the Avalanche includes remote keyless entry, heated power mirrors, a cloth-upholstered split-bench front seat with power on the driver's side, side steps, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, rear privacy glass, the StabiliTrak stability-enhancement system and 17-inch tires on five-spoke aluminum wheels. The midlevel LT version adds foglamps and front bucket seats with a center console. GM's Autoride suspension, with real-time damping for reduced body motion, is standard on the LTZ, as is a limited-slip differential and 20-inch wheels and tires. The LTZ and various levels of the LT group also include head-curtain airbags, remote engine starting, rear obstacle detection, leather upholstery and power-adjustable pedals. All versions of the Avalanche include GM's OnStar emergency and communications system.

Notable Options

The Z71 Off Road Package includes 18-inch wheels, the Z71 suspension, tubular assist steps, locking rear differential and a skid-plate package. Articulated running boards are available, which automatically move downward and outward as the doors are opened. Individual options, depending upon trim level, include Ultrasonic Rear Parking Assist, a rearview camera system, navigation system, DVD backseat entertainment system with an eight-inch screen and 20-inch wheels.

Favorite Features

Active Fuel Management System
Chevrolet is by no means alone in offering cylinder deactivation, but it's a welcome addition to these heavyweight vehicles, which are known for lapping up substantial quantities of gasoline.

Midgate Configuration
True pickup-truck fans might shun the Avalanche's relatively short cargo bed and SUV foundation, but the Midgate gives it a degree of versatility that's absent from traditional pickups.

Under the Hood

The standard engine is a Vortec 5.3-liter V8, matched to a four-speed Hydra-Matic transmission. Four-wheel-drive models use a version which can operate on E85 or gasoline. A 366-horsepower, 6.0-liter V8 with variable valve timing is optional. Under certain conditions, Active Fuel Management Technology lets each engine run on four cylinders to save fuel.

5.3-liter V8
320 horsepower @ 5200 rpm
340 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4400 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 15/21 (2WD Gas)

5.3-liter V8 Flex-Fuel
310 horsepower @ 5200 rpm
335 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4400 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 15/21 (2WD Gas), 12/16 (2WD E85), 15/20 (4WD Gas), 11/15 (4WD E85)

5.3-liter V8 Flex-Fuel
320 horsepower @ 5200 rpm
340 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4200 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 15/21 (2WD Gas), 12/16 (2WD E85), 15/20 (4WD Gas), 11/15 (4WD E85)

6.0-liter V8
366 horsepower @ 5500 rpm
386 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4300 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 14/18

Editors' Notes

First introduced for 2002, the Avalanche combined a full-size SUV body with a pickup truck's cargo bed. Redesigned for 2007, the second-generation Avalanche is built on GM's new full-size SUV platform, which is also used for the Chevrolet Suburban and GMC Yukon XL, and it offers improved fuel economy and Flex-Fuel (ethanol/gasoline) operation. Refined small-block 5.3-liter V8 engines are standard, and a 6.0-liter V8 that uses variable valve timing is optionally available. Three trim levels are offered: LS, LT, and LTZ (with the LT level further divided into LT1, LT2 and LT3), and with rear-wheel or four-wheel drive.

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