: Why does the Avalanche exist?



Jesda
03-14-07, 03:24 PM
I know the Avalanche is an SUV with a truck bed, but in practice, is it any different from a Silverado? Does the integrated body make it smoother or improve handling? Does it limit hauling capabilities?

Honest question.

nikon
03-14-07, 03:35 PM
little more comfortable in the back seat...not as long, I dont think...rides smoother, basically a burban frame/susp......it does look kinda nice.

dkozloski
03-14-07, 03:44 PM
Back in the forties Chevrolet made business coupes that had a little short pickup box and tailgate where you would normally find a trunk lid. They were popular around here.

Rolex
03-14-07, 05:05 PM
I believe it's an exercise in styling and design that was easy to produce from existing parts. I think the newest model it a slick looking truck/suv/thingie. :)

More importantly.....why does the Honda Pilot exist? :confused:

OffThaHorseCEO
03-14-07, 05:08 PM
I believe it's an exercise in styling and design that was easy to produce from existing parts. I think the newest model it a slick looking truck/suv/thingie. :)

More importantly.....why does the Honda Pilot exist? :confused:

you mean the ridgeline?

Rolex
03-14-07, 05:12 PM
you mean the ridgeline?

Umm...yes. You know, the Avalanche's bastard child with a Honda Pilot. :p

OffThaHorseCEO
03-14-07, 05:23 PM
haha yea

caddycruiser
03-14-07, 05:23 PM
It's essentially made for everyone who wants all that makes a Tahoe/Suburban great (terrific one-piece structural integrity, full coil suspension, and just being a refined SUV) but doesn't need the 3rd row and would rather have a very adaptable bed built into that "Suburban in drag".

Compared to a Silverado, the complete one-piece structure makes it a more solid and refined base, the all coil suspension is smoother and more refined, and there's a LOT you can do with the bed/Midgate/rear window. Bedtop panels in place, you have essentially a big, sealed bed box or trunk (the latter how we always thought of ours. Take the panels off, and you have an open bed for taller things. Drop the Midgate alone with the panels on, and you can extend the sealed bed space to the inside. Panels and window out, you just have a huge opening front to back. All in place and just take out the window, you have a very nice vent to drive around with open. And on, and on...

This question about why the Avalanche exists IS something asked by people who really aren't familiar with them, and at first, it does still seem like an odd concept. But for a ton of people, especially those who like the idea of a crew cab pickup but don't need the utilitarian and separate bed or extra capacity of the rougher leaf-spring suspension, it gives the best of both SUV and truck worlds.

We had an '02, and to this day, it is STILL the vehicle we all liked the most and the only one my mother has owned that she still misses to this day and cried about when trading it in for the Suburban. Technically, the Suburban is a better fit for us, having a 3rd seat and also completely boxed and closed in cargo and people space for all like a bus, and drives identically, but doesn't have nearly the character in the end. We never even really used the Midgate, but for what it was, it was like having a 5 seater Tahoe that cost less, had the added length and ride comfort of the Suburban, and cost thousands less than either...but looked cooler, had a really well thought out bed/trunk area, had the removable rear window, etc.

They're just great trucks. Odd to outsiders, but awesome in real use. Truth be told, a lot of comparisons are made to Silverados, but it's just the one-piece structure and Suburban refinement that set the design apart and make it so attractive to people in comparison.

Blackout
03-14-07, 05:47 PM
If you're wondering why the Avalanche exists then you will also have to include the Cadillac Escalade EXT since it's the same basic vehicle. But I think they are decent enough vehicles. To me it's a SUV/truck that someone wants something that has enough room for their families, friends, etc but doesn't want to drive around an actual pickup truck. I mean in my families case they are forever doing home improvement projects so they basically use our Lincoln Aviator as work truck with all the stuff we've used it for over the years. So the Avalanche would be the perfect truck for people with similar needs. I can't tell you how many times we would have to pop the back door open and I'd have to hold down plywood because they're too long to fit in the truck and would hang out the back. In cases like that the Avalanche would be a better choice since you have the bed in the back so you can just lay the wood down in there. When it comes to the EXT though I don't really see a need for Cadillac to even offer the EXT. I dunno......there's something about it that for what ever reason that I just feel that it's a pointless SUV/truck for Cadillac to have. I mean they have the SRX, Escalade and the ESV. But at the same time I think the EXT is the best looking vehicle Cadillac has.

c5 rv
03-14-07, 06:42 PM
Caddycruiser summed things up pretty well. I owned an 02 Av and an 04 Sierra Denali. Other advantages of the Av:

- It comes with the most popular mods a pickup owner normally buys first - a bed liner (rubber mat and plastic sides), bed covers, and bed storage (saddle bag storage on the sides).

- Unlike pickups with 5 ft. and 6.5 ft. pickup beds, the Av has a full 8 ft. covered cargo bed with the midgate open and the rear covers on.

Av disadvantages:

- Lousy rear vision with the high tailgate and small rear window. It screams for a backup camera. (Maybe available now.)

- Very high load height.

- Stuff rolls to the front of the bed and it's a pain to get out except to fold the midgate, crawl under the covers (or use a kid), or get out a rake.

- Side storage compartments are hard to access due to the height of the sides.

- Rear seat entry / exit is difficult because adult males with large shoes get hung up on the door pillar. My high school sons almost made a number of face plants getting out. My Denali extended cab wasn't nearly as roomy in back, but it was easier to get shoes in and out.

- Plastic cladding on early models faded badly and always looked dirty.

- The bed storage area is pretty small with the midgate closed. Basically 4' x 5.5'.

I~LUV~Caddys8792
03-14-07, 11:10 PM
I've always heard they ride smoother than the Silverados and are more comfortable. I like 'em because they're different, but honestly, I'd go with the Silverado.

caddycruiser
03-15-07, 02:13 PM
I've always heard they ride smoother than the Silverados and are more comfortable. I like 'em because they're different, but honestly, I'd go with the Silverado.

Yes, they do--the first/last gen a LOT so--basically because it's a Suburban with an even stronger body structure, and not a leaf springed Silverado with relatively flimsier body and frame. The latest GMT-900 models are much closer in that respect, but the Av/Suburban/Tahoe still have the refinement edge just by nature. If you want more classic pickup, the Silverado is great, but if you don't, the Avalanche is a great compromise between a lot of different things and very adaptable.

Honestly, aside from the looks and how well it drove, I'm not 100% was "it" was about it that had us so enamored, but the feeling still remains to this day and my mother would buy another in a heartbeat if it weren't for actually liking and using the full interior cargo space more than the bed & Midgate.

AlBundy
03-15-07, 02:35 PM
Great looking truck now. The first ones were fugly.

Elvis
03-15-07, 09:09 PM
Is there enough room back there to put a 5th wheel hitch?

Or is that a no-no because the suspension can't handle it?

Just curious.

c5 rv
03-15-07, 09:37 PM
Is there enough room back there to put a 5th wheel hitch?

Definitely not. Sides and tailgate too tall while bed is quite narrow. Side sails will collide with trailer when backing and turning.

caddycruiser
03-15-07, 09:38 PM
Is there enough room back there to put a 5th wheel hitch?

Or is that a no-no because the suspension can't handle it?

Just curious.

Room, maybe, but a big no-no because it's essentially--again--a Suburban with the back roof lopped off. The lighter duty coil suspension and plastic bed construction is not meant for that kind of purpose, though they do tow quite strongly from the typical hitch.

Night Wolf
03-16-07, 01:04 PM
How about off-road? real 4wd system? Any aftermarket? I never see them used for off-road tho..... personally I like SUV's over pickups for off-road anyway.

caddycruiser
03-16-07, 05:44 PM
How about off-road? real 4wd system? Any aftermarket? I never see them used for off-road tho..... personally I like SUV's over pickups for off-road anyway.

Yep. Same Autotrac 4wd system as any full-size GM ute or truck, and pretty durable suspensions. Highly refined on the road, but still pretty worthy off road and especially so if you make any modifications.

Night Wolf
03-16-07, 11:03 PM
autotrac? but it has selectable low range, right?

Jon
03-17-07, 12:45 AM
Cause it looks a hell of a lot better than the Sierra and Silverado.

Night Wolf
03-17-07, 03:13 AM
I never liked the looks of them

caddycruiser
03-17-07, 11:44 AM
autotrac? but it has selectable low range, right?

Electronic switchable, 2Hi, 4Hi, 4Lo. No manual shifter operated version like some lower end Silverados, but still a strong system if you want 4wd.

We NEVER did and NEVER will, as it's just an unnecessary waste to lug around for our--and most people's--uses, so we're now on 2wd #2.

With the redesign, the Avalanche seems to have continued popularity, especially from a lot of typical pickup buyers who realized they don't need the true separate bed to beat up and prefer the same stance and size with SUV refinement.

Of course, I and many others still loved the "original" cladded version which just had bad ass lines and trully functional cladding--without being useless and god-awful like the Aztek to which some compare it. Not really a fan of the '03-06 WBH models without the cladding, as they were an afterthought and looked like it, with the uglier Silverado nose and lack of any trim on most...but in the end, the new '07 has extremely nice looks that are attractive to people who liked either, and is getting some new people in.

c5 rv
03-17-07, 02:01 PM
Aside from the early cladding fading and always looking dirty, I had no problem with the cladding. I didn't care about parking lot door dings because it couldn't get any. If something scraped against the side, the standard response was "That's OK, it'll rub out." One of my co-workers has an 02 with about 86K miles and her husband is making noises about buying a new truck. She's fighting to keep her av.

caddycruiser
03-17-07, 02:32 PM
Aside from the early cladding fading and always looking dirty, I had no problem with the cladding. I didn't care about parking lot door dings because it couldn't get any. If something scraped against the side, the standard response was "That's OK, it'll rub out." One of my co-workers has an 02 with about 86K miles and her husband is making noises about buying a new truck. She's fighting to keep her av.

Yep. The early lighter stuff could have fading issues, at least on the higher panels, but it wasn't a huge issue. Even though they lacked some of the newer gadgets, the '02s were VERY nice and lacked the decontenting of later models, and had better seats and trim inside.

Though the cladding wasn't a true deal maker for me, I still know a TON of people who refuse to get rid of their '02 and a few later models with it, just because of that factor.

What color/options did yours have, and how long did you have it time and mileage wise?

Patrick7997
03-18-07, 09:04 AM
Is there a better way to get your Harley down to Daytona???

Put me down for "No."

One of these days, I will have an Escalade EXT...

And FWIW, Jon cut thru the clutter on this one... because it looks cooler.

c5 rv
03-18-07, 11:05 AM
What color/options did yours have, and how long did you have it time and mileage wise?

Mine was a LS, RWD, white, with dark cloth. As I remember, the cloth seats seemed firmer than the leather ones. It was a pretty basic unit with a posi rearend. I had it for a bit over two years and traded it in at about 55K miles for a CTS. The only mechanical issue was a little CSK - two knocks when starting in the morning.

caddycruiser
03-19-07, 12:03 AM
Mine was a LS, RWD, white, with dark cloth. As I remember, the cloth seats seemed firmer than the leather ones. It was a pretty basic unit with a posi rearend. I had it for a bit over two years and traded it in at about 55K miles for a CTS. The only mechanical issue was a little CSK - two knocks when starting in the morning.

Ahh, cool. When looking for ours, we lucked out when a local dealer actually had (4) 2wd's (NEVER happens here, even at the beach and semi southern) and 2 were colors we liked, black over tan. So we bought an Onyx Black over Tan '02 1500 2wd, with the Z66 package, Convenience package (Onstar, auto climate), front buckets, and OWL tires.

The Z66 package was great, and the unique springs, Bilsteins, and larger tires gave it an incredible ride--that clearly, though very similar, our replacement '04 Suburban with the typical 2wd suspension is lacking in a few regards. Only things ever fixed was a lube of the steering shaft and a foglight that got moisture in it, so it was also the best vehicle we had in that regard--and REALLY beat the Suburban for warranty fixes.

http://i26.photobucket.com/albums/c101/caddycruiser/My%20Cars%20Stuff/avpic.jpg

All in all, a cool truck, and identical to a Suburban in every way save for the rear cargo area--the latter of which works a lot better for us as a typical SUV, even if it ends up feeling more like a bus and being more boring.

caddycruiser
03-19-07, 12:08 AM
Oh, and just remembered something. When we had it, and were very active in the national owner's club, I sponsored 2 local meets "at the beach". First one was small, and the second one had 19 from about 5 different states, and took this pic down at the bay where our house is:

http://i26.photobucket.com/albums/c101/caddycruiser/My%20Cars%20Stuff/avmeetpanasmall.jpg

I had more, but I can't find them. Regardless, these used to be a blast, and the other owners were awesome...easily another thing we miss about not having that truck anymore.

I~LUV~Caddys8792
03-19-07, 12:28 AM
Ahh, cool. When looking for ours, we lucked out when a local dealer actually had (4) 2wd's (NEVER happens here, even at the beach and semi southern) and 2 were colors we liked, black over tan. So we bought an Onyx Black over Tan '02 1500 2wd, with the Z66 package, Convenience package (Onstar, auto climate), front buckets, and OWL tires


Derek, did that '02 have the single zone automatic climate control or the dual zone? Some of the Avalanches I see at work have a single dial for the temperature, where it says the degrees instead of the typical red-blue dial. Otherwise, most of them have the dual zone automatic climate control.

caddycruiser
03-19-07, 05:06 PM
Derek, did that '02 have the single zone automatic climate control or the dual zone? Some of the Avalanches I see at work have a single dial for the temperature, where it says the degrees instead of the typical red-blue dial. Otherwise, most of them have the dual zone automatic climate control.

Actually, on the '99-02 models, it was a little odd. Mainly because, manual or automatic, each had a "manual looking" dial setup with no screen or anything.

The manual system had a temperature dial with blue & red zones and 5 preset fan speeds:
http://i26.photobucket.com/albums/c101/caddycruiser/Avmanualcontrols.jpg

The auto system looked almost the same, except it's temp. dial had actual temps and the fan speed had a bigger span of speeds plus and auto setting:
http://i26.photobucket.com/albums/c101/caddycruiser/Avautocontrols.jpg

BOTH were single zone systems back then. It wasn't until the '03 model year, and the complete electronics system and wiring change, that all the GMT-900's switched to new radio & HVAC controls and got dual zone climate controls.

In '03+, the manual controls:
http://i26.photobucket.com/albums/c101/caddycruiser/Avmanualcontrols03.jpg

And the '03+ auto controls:
http://i26.photobucket.com/albums/c101/caddycruiser/Avautocontrols03.jpg

We had the auto controls the first time, which worked great, and essentially just like a manual system because we never used the Auto fan setting. Second time, we now have the manual dual zone, which is perfect, and it's actually easier to control than the auto's and works PERFECT. Best system we've ever had in a vehicle, and again, the manual factor helps there, at least for us.

Night Wolf
03-19-07, 05:34 PM
Electronic switchable, 2Hi, 4Hi, 4Lo. No manual shifter operated version like some lower end Silverados, but still a strong system if you want 4wd.

We NEVER did and NEVER will, as it's just an unnecessary waste to lug around for our--and most people's--uses, so we're now on 2wd #2.

With the redesign, the Avalanche seems to have continued popularity, especially from a lot of typical pickup buyers who realized they don't need the true separate bed to beat up and prefer the same stance and size with SUV refinement.

Of course, I and many others still loved the "original" cladded version which just had bad ass lines and trully functional cladding--without being useless and god-awful like the Aztek to which some compare it. Not really a fan of the '03-06 WBH models without the cladding, as they were an afterthought and looked like it, with the uglier Silverado nose and lack of any trim on most...but in the end, the new '07 has extremely nice looks that are attractive to people who liked either, and is getting some new people in.

I would glady trade 2wd in for 4wd any day.... ownign a 2wd truck, has just made me want a 4wd truck that much more.... and thats saying alot, cause my truck is very capable with an open diff 2wd (couple more months and the auto locker comes out.... then it'll be a pretty mean 2wd truck off-road)

I know the majority of people probably woudln't use 4wd, or even know how to use it correctly...

Thats good it has a real 4x4 system, it stinks that its electronic tho... not really a fan of them.

Maybe the Avalanche would be a cool truck for me.... 4wd would be a must, and the Z66 is the off-road package? I perfer SUV's for off-road as they have a better weight/balance ratio, more useful room, and just look cooler.... but the bed is also useful... I guess the Avalanche makes a nice combo... and honestly, I've never given them a thought, except when they first came out and I thought they were neat.... just kinda stinks that they don't have a diesel option, or can't tow 5th wheels etc...

So what year did they come out? did they have the same engine issues with the 5300 as the ~2000 Silverados? What engine options were offered?

Finally, what would be the best years to get one, all things considered, the HVAC thing, the engines etc...

They probably hold their value well tho..... well... better then a similar year Silverado? cause I always liked the ~2001 Silverado Z71's. Though they are still probably out of my price range...... an Escalade EXT would look sweet on trails tho :cool: but talk about big money.

Eh, maybe I'll just save my money and get a Trooper....

Night Wolf
03-19-07, 06:29 PM
sheesh, I coudln't help but notice these things are factory low riders... even with the Z66 package.... I guess Isuzu really has spoiled me... plus I never did like the idea of a full-size truck for off-road use....

http://www.galaxycar.com/ebay151/02chevy_avalanche_z66_n13442a_green39.jpg

http://i18.ebayimg.com/02/i/000/93/35/97c8_3.JPG

caddycruiser
03-19-07, 06:35 PM
They came in simply 2wd or 4wd models, each of which as standard had the same suspension and all running gear as a comparable standard Suburban. Optional, and as on most, you could get the Z66 Premium On-Road suspension on 2wd's, and the Z71 Off-Road suspension on 4wd's.

So, with that part, a Z71 is the most commonly seen and bought in the '02-06 models. They also came in either 1/2 ton (1500) series with the all coil suspension and 5.3L V8, or you could get a 3/4 ton (2500) series with beefed up running gear, leaf spring rear suspension, 8 lug wheels, and the huge 8.1L big block V8. The 2500 series models are rather rare, and they didn't return with the redesign--at least not yet.

2002 was the first year, but actually had the best seats and some trim, and were before GM started decontenting. 2003 saw a complete electronics system change, and along with it, new radios, climate units, steering wheel with audio controls, programmable driver information center, and a few other things. This was the same through the end of 2006's, though each year from 2003 on got decontented a little more, with random lights and trim disappearing.

caddycruiser
03-19-07, 06:38 PM
sheesh, I coudln't help but notice these things are factory low riders... even with the Z66 package.... I guess Isuzu really has spoiled me... plus I never did like the idea of a full-size truck for off-road use....

http://www.galaxycar.com/ebay151/02chevy_avalanche_z66_n13442a_green39.jpg

http://i18.ebayimg.com/02/i/000/93/35/97c8_3.JPG

Not really...they aren't factory lift kit equipped, but given how 98% were used, that was perfect. They're the same as any 4wd Suburban or Silverado of the same years.

Biggest thing to remember is an Avalanche is purely a Suburban with the rearmost roof and windows lopped off, the structure back there beefed up a bit, and a sealed bed and Midgate system added. Tough, but meant to provide similar capabilities to lighter duty Silverado use with the refinement of a Suburban.

Night Wolf
03-19-07, 06:49 PM
hmmm, I guess its just not for me then.... at first it sounded like a nice blend of everything.... but then it tries to be too many things at once..... I guess I kinda like them a bit more then before.... but their status on my list of cars hasn't changed.

When it comes to trucks, I'll take a factory lift kit over a factory low rider anyday....

http://carad.ebayimg.com/i24/03/a/000/77/63/346c_4.JPG

caddycruiser
03-19-07, 09:28 PM
Still not at ALL a lowrider...but if it's not for you, it's not for you.

Night Wolf
03-20-07, 02:34 AM
Well they are still not as bad as these.... the biggest (lowest?) factory low rider award for a truck....

...and I've seen them worse then this too....

http://i3.ebayimg.com/03/i/000/91/fe/f763_1.JPG

caddycruiser
03-20-07, 11:22 AM
Well, that's going off topic quite a bit, and still they're a full-size SUV/truck no different than the typical 4wd Suburban or Silverado you see...or even that stock Trooper you posted.