Thanks to its nifty convertible midgate, the 2007 Chevrolet Avalanche is the most versatile crew-cab pickup on the market when it comes to carrying a mix of passengers and cargo.
The 2007 Chevrolet Avalanche has been fully redesigned. Highlights for the new model include a stiffer body structure, more cohesive styling and an expanded collection of standard and optional features. Last year's 2500-series truck (three-quarter ton) and its larger V8 engine have been discontinued.Read more
Versatile midgate-based body configuration, comfortable ride and seating, smooth V8 engines.
The full-size crew-cab pickup is a popular choice for truck buyers because it's able to offer both a cargo bed and a rear seat that's as roomy as an SUV's. The problem, however, is that this style of pickup's cargo bed is typically truncated and doesn't offer the enclosed security of an SUV's cargo hold. For the potential buyer put off by this design constraint, Chevrolet has a better-mousetrap solution: the Avalanche.
The 2007 Chevrolet Avalanche is similar to a crew-cab pickup but possesses a key attribute -- a flexible midgate design -- that broadens its versatility by a considerable margin. The term "midgate" refers to the movable wall the separates the cabin from the bed. On the Avalanche, the rear window and the wall separating the cabin from the bed can be opened up into the cabin to increase cargo room.
This truck debuted five years ago, and it seems that enough people liked it for Chevy to bring out a fully redesigned 2007 model. The new Avalanche is built on General Motors' latest full-size SUV platform, which means that it's mechanically related to a variety of GM offerings like the Suburban and Silverado. Its closest sibling is the premium Cadillac Escalade EXT.
A new, fully boxed frame, along with a redesigned suspension, helps the Chevy Avalanche provide more refined ride and handling dynamics than before, and the adoption of rack and pinion steering (which replaces the old recirculating-ball setup) gives it better on-road feel and a tighter turning radius. There's also revised and more cohesive exterior styling, a new interior design with higher-quality materials and new luxury and safety features.
Surprisingly, the Chevrolet Avalanche is still the only full-size pickup to offer a convertible midgate (besides the Escalade EXT, which is considerably more expensive). This means that consumers keen on getting a vehicle with this design attribute need not look any further than their local Chevy dealer. Down sides? Like all full-size crew cabs, the Avalanche feels bulky around town and isn't very easy to park. It also costs more than comparable crew cabs and its powertrain is limited to just one engine choice for the first half of the 2007 model year. But overall, this is an impressive jack-of-all-trades pickup.
Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
The 2007 Chevrolet Avalanche is a full-size crew-cab pickup with a special "midgate" that can be lowered into the cabin to free up additional cargo room. There are two main trim levels: Avalanche LS and Avalanche LT. The entry-level LS features a composite cargo bed, a removable three-piece cargo cover, full power accessories, a front 40/20/40-split bench seat, a power driver seat, keyless entry, an audio system with a single CD player and auxiliary jack, and an auto-dimming rearview mirror.
The LT is similar (bonus features include front bucket seats and rear audio controls), but should be the smarter choice as it provides access to further optional equipment. The "LT-2" package, for instance, has dual-zone automatic climate control, leather upholstery and a remote vehicle start feature. Opting for the LT-3 package provides the aforementioned features, plus heated outside mirrors, rear park assist, upgraded power front seats with driver-side memory positioning, power-adjustable pedals, a Bose audio system and satellite radio. The top-shelf LTZ package has 20-inch wheels, the upgraded Autoride suspension, a heated windshield wiper fluid feature and rain-sensing wipers. Main stand-alone options for the Avalanche include a navigation system, an integrated rearview camera, a rear-seat DVD entertainment system and a sunroof.
Powertrains and Performance
The 2007 Chevrolet Avalanche is available with either rear-wheel drive or four-wheel drive (4WD). For now, all versions come standard with a 5.3-liter V8 and a four-speed automatic transmission. The 5.3-liter engine is good for 320 horsepower and 340 pound-feet of torque; 4WD Avalanches are rated slightly less at 310 hp and 335 lb-ft of torque. A 6.0-liter V8 delivering 366 hp and 380 lb-ft of torque is optional. Properly equipped, a 4WD Avalanche can tow 8,200 pounds.
Standard safety equipment includes antilock brakes, stability control, a tire-pressure monitor and GM's OnStar emergency communications system. A full-length side curtain airbag system with a rollover sensor is included with the LT-3 and LTZ packages and optional on all other trim levels.
Interior Design and Special Features
Those used to past Avalanches will be pleasantly surprised by the 2007 version's high-quality materials, fine fit and finish, and logical control layouts. The vehicle can seat six passengers but the more common front bucket-seat arrangement drops the count by one. Lowering the midgate and rear seats and removing the rear window takes just a minute or two and converts the Avalanche's 5-foot-3-inch cargo bed to one measuring a tad more than 8 feet. Bonus features include removable cargo covers and storage compartments placed along the outside of the cargo box.
For such a big and heavy truck, the Chevy Avalanche is fairly quick. However, the 5.3-liter V8's thrust and fuel economy dip noticeably when the truck is being used to carry a load of passengers or cargo. The new suspension with coil-over shocks up front and a five-link setup out back, along with rack and pinion steering, makes for more composed handling and a smoother ride than before. But with its 5,700-pound curb weight, the Avalanche doesn't exactly feel nimble around corners. Aimed for the horizon on an interstate, the truck's cabin is quiet at speed, and the ride is comfortably controlled over bumps.