Chevrolet Avalanche 2500

Chevrolet Avalanche
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Manufacturer General Motors
Also called Cadillac Escalade EXT
Production 2001–2013
Assembly Silao, Mexico
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
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. 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.


First generation / GMT800
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Production 2002–2006
Body and chassis
Platform GMT805
Related Cadillac Escalade
Chevrolet Tahoe/GMC Yukon
Chevrolet Suburban/GMC Yukon XL
Chevrolet Silverado/GMC Sierra
Hummer H2
Engine 5.3 L V8
8.1 L V8
Transmission 4-speed automatic
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 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.

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.

Cladding trouble

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 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.


Second generation (GMT900)
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Production 2006–2013
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
Engine 5.3 L V8
6.0 L V8
Transmission 4-speed automatic (2007–08)
6-speed automatic (2009–2013)
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 March 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 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 will also end after 2013.

Yearly American sales

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


External links

  • Chevrolet Avalanche official site
  • DMOZ
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