2009 Chevrolet Avalanche Expert Review

You'll Like The 2009 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 2009 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 2009 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 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

Major changes include a new six-speed automatic transmission and revised rear gear ratio for maximum fuel efficiency. OnStar 8.0 now offers Stolen Vehicle Slow Down, Bluetooth and turn-by-turn downloads on vehicles equipped with DVD navigation. LTZ trims receive even more standard equipment including heated and cooled 12-way power seats and a Surround Sound Bose speaker system.

Interior Features

With its Midgate closed, the 2009 Chevrolet Avalanche can seat up to six passengers. Folding down the rear seat yields the greatest cargo-hauling capacity. Compared to the first-generation Avalanche, the 2009 model provides better passenger space via a lower instrument panel and deeper windshield. Front-row seats have gained an inch of rearward travel. On LT and LTZ trims, a monster console 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 the original, the 2009 Chevrolet 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 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 sleek windshield angle extends into a smooth roofline, the front air dam is low and wide and prominent fenders with integrated wheel flares complement the bulging power-dome hood. A wide front and rear track enhance stability.

Driving Impressions

Compared to the first-generation Avalanche, the 2009 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 may feel, 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 2009 Chevrolet Avalanche has a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) starting around $35,000. A midlevel Avalanche LT stickers for about $36,000, while a fully-loaded LTZ with four-wheel drive can approach $55,000. 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 over time the 2009 Avalanche will hold similar values to the 1500 Silverado Extended Cab, Honda Ridgeline and Ford F150 SuperCab, and outperform the Dodge Ram 1500 Quad Cab and Nissan Titan.

Notable Equipment

In base LS trim, the Avalanche includes remote keyless entry, heated power mirrors, a cloth-upholstered 40/20/40 split-bench front seat with power on both the driver's and passenger's sides, side steps, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, rear privacy glass, the StabiliTrak stability-enhancement system, head curtain side-impact airbags and 17-inch tires on five-spoke aluminum wheels. 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 remote engine starting, rear obstacle detection, leather upholstery and power-adjustable pedals. All versions of the Avalanche include GM's OnStar 8.0.

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. Available articulated running boards 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, 6.0-liter V8, navigation system, DVD backseat entertainment system with an eight-inch screen, XM Satellite Radio with real time traffic assist for navigation equipped models 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 consuming 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 the engine run on four cylinders to save fuel.

5.3-liter V8

310 horsepower @ 5200 rpm

335 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4400 rpm

EPA city/highway fuel economy: 14/20 (2WD, gas)

5.3-liter V8 Flex-Fuel (aluminum block)

310 horsepower @ 5200 rpm

335 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4400 rpm

EPA city/highway fuel economy: 14/20 (2WD, gas), 10/15 (2WD, E85), 14/19 (4WD, gas), 11/14 (4WD, E85)

6.0-liter V8

366 horsepower @ 5800 rpm

376 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4400 rpm

EPA city/highway fuel economy: 14/19

Editors' Notes

First introduced for 2002, the Avalanche combined a full-size SUV body with a pickup truck's cargo bed. The second generation launched in 2007 continues for 2009 with a host major improvements and the addition of a more fuel-efficient six-speed automatic transmission. The Chevrolet Avalanche is built on GM's full-size SUV platform, which is also used for the Chevrolet Suburban and GMC Yukon XL, and it offers gasoline as well as Flex-Fuel (E85) capability. 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.

Road Test Video Reviews

2009 Chevrolet Avalanche Owner Reviews

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I love the Chevy Avalanche! It is the perfect truck for me.

I absolutely love this vehicle. I have not encountered any problems. It is very reliable. This is very roomy and comfortable without being an overly huge vehicle. Mine has power windows and locks. Leather power seats. Heated and cooled seats. 6 Changer CD player. Equipped with OnStar and XM satellite radio. Sunroof. The back window comes out completely and stories behind the back seat. I have a car seat in the back (soon to be two) and it's not cramped at all. This car accelerates so smoothly you'll look down and realize that you're going 20 mph over the speed limit.

- Amy T

It is a good, reliable truck.

It does ok on gas, considering it is a truck. The flex fuel option helps with that. The headrests are comfortable. They don't tilt forward to much like some other trucks do. The seatbelts don't dig in. There's plenty of legroom in the front and back seats. The truck bed can be extended by removing the back window and folding the seats down. Another seat can be added to the front if you take out the console, but there will not be much legroom for that middle seat. Performance and reliability are so far good. Handles well.

- Candy H

Things I like about my truck.

Comfortable for being a truck. The tailgate is covered with ability to remove. This model has the ability to have a six seat. The console in front goes up to make that seat along with a seatbelt. Just not enough places to set things to hold in my opinion. With the covered tailgate we are able to keep things in their and not have to worry about people stealing because they can't see it.

- Betty T

I really appreciate being able to easily remove all seats with little effort.

My Chevy Venture is a quality vehicle.It's the only vehicle that I have ever bought brand new. Its gold in color seats 7 comfortably with cup holders for every seat. I've had it since 2009 and have not had any major issues with it. I had to change alternator once and starter once besides regular maintenance.

- Matthew O

The avalanche is for people who want high reliability and good handling.

I have had to fix things on my truck, but it also has 143 thousand miles. I have had to replace a part on the axle and my shifter cables snapped. Other than these things I haven't had any other mechanical problems. I have had no issues driving in rain or snow and it handles high speeds and turning well.

- Madison P

Chevrolet Avalanche, The Truck That Can Haul It All!

We LOVE our Avalanche. The main selling point for our family is the three plates that cover the back bed of the truck. Great for rainy days when carrying grocery and shopping bags. Or longer items and then we can fold down the back seat to extend the bed. And roomy to seat our family of five.

- Becky C

All leather avalanche with plenty of extras like heated seats.

Reliable, comfortable, gas pedals move up, heated leather seats, electric seats and windows, sunroof, family friendly, pretty, sturdy, durable, not bad on gas, black outside, black leather interior, back up camera, great highway mileage, comfortable, cozy, all around a great vehicle.

- Dee M

Chevy: pos car stay away!

Breaks down all the time. It has broken down 4 times in the last year. We have taken good care of it. Wheel bearings, drive shaft. I regret selling my jeep for this car. This doesn't even count the things that are constant issues with, brakes, needs an alignment every 2 months.

- Tim J

It's a Comfortable easy to drive truck and we Love it!

Thanks God I, we bought my Chevy Avalanche for 5 years now and we love it. I use daily, it's my daily primary care and I don't have any big Problem. We do the regular normal check ups, ac, tires, oil. If we need a new truck we buy a Chevy again. We love our Chevy Avalanche!

- Nancy A

Chevrolet avalanche 2009 great vehicle.

Normal wear and tear problems after new transmission in 2016. Overall reliable. Extra wear on tires due to additional transport. Very roomy and spacious. Best motor vehicle to use for traveling and vacations. XM radio is a great feature and additional storage in the tailgate.

- Tiffany B

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