2011 Chevrolet Avalanche LTZ 4WD review by John Heilig
THE AUTO PAGE
By John Heilig
The Auto Channel
SPECIFICATIONS: 2011 Chevrolet Avalanche LTZ 4WD
Model: 2011 Chevrolet Avalanche LTZ 4WD
Engine: 5.3-liter Vortec V8
Horsepower/Torque: 320 hp @ 5,400 rpm/325 lb.-ft. @ 4,000 rpm
Transmission: 6-speed automatic
Wheelbase: 130.0 in.
Length/Width/Height: 221.3 x 791 x 76.6 in.
Cargo volume: 54.3 cu. ft. behind 1st row.
Cargo box: 63.3/98.2 (Midgate closed/open)long x 50.0 wide x 47.4 in. high (underneath with Midgate open). 1,350 lbs. payload. 7,900 lbs. trailer towing capacity.
Fuel economy: 15 mpg city/21 mpg highway/16.6 mpg test
Fuel capacity: 31.5 gal. Curb weight: 5,646 lbs.
Sticker: $52, 840 (includes $950 destination charge, $1,940 in options)
Top 5 Reasons to Buy the: 2011 Chevrolet Avalanche LTZ 4WD
1. Practical, if unusual
2. Good cargo hauler
3. Good people hauler
4. Spacious everywhere
The Bottom Line: The Chevrolet Avalanche is certainly unique. It's a pickup, it's a four-door people hauler with a comfortable rear seat, and it has the practicality of removing the Midgate to carry extra-long cargo or cargo that you may want to keep out of the weather.
There are times when it's hard to believe the Chevrolet Avalanche is basically a pickup truck. It has four doors and seating for five, yet there's a cargo bed behind. Our tester had a lockable cover for the cargo bed (comes with the package) that was ideal for golf bags (as many as you want), while the entire foursome and a caddy could sit up front.
Avalanche is noted for its flexibility, but it isn't until you spend some serious time behind the wheel that you begin to appreciate this. As I said, we used it for a golf outing. You can lower the back window (Midgate) to extend the cargo bay even more than it is (dimensions are included in the specifications). And it has the covered cargo bay that adds immensely to its practicality.
The overall ride is hard (pickup truck hard). It's more pickup-like than the Ford F-15 we recently tested. It's firm, but not harsh.
Under the hood is a 5.3-liter Vortec V8 that's rated at 320 horsepower. there's excellent power there if you need it. It's a comfortable engine in that you know what you have under the hood and what's available.
Since I'm Old School, I appreciate full instrumentation. The instrument panel has everything you'd want to know, including fuel level, water temperature, oil pressure and battery voltage.
We had an opportunity to use the navigation system and liked it. The only problem was making sure you're navigating in the right state. I live in Pennsylvania, and when I wanted to find an address in New York, I had to essentially go back to square one and first find the state. when I finally programmed the address into the system, it led me there with no problems.
One of the reasons for the trip to New York was to visit my sister. She's 88, and I questioned whether she'd be able to get into the high-riding Avalanche. But through use of the door pull, the running board ("assist steps") and the assist handle on the A-pillar, she was able to get in and out of the car with relative ease. My sister loved it.
In addition, she loved the excellent audio system. We had Sirius/XM, AM/FM/CD and iPod with a USB receiver in the huge center console. My sister had no complaints about the music, so I guess I picked the right mix. there's a rear entertainment package as well, with HVAC controls and audio controls.
That center console had a small tray on the top that was just right for a smart phone.
The front seats are flat with minimal side support, but since one of the uses of the Avalanche is NOT a sports car, side support isn't a requirement. the rear seats are also flat with great leg room.
Additionally, there are lots of assorted cubbies and cup holders and water bottle holders to keep everyone happy.
Because of its size, the Avalanche can be tough to park. But, also because of its size, there are plenty of amenities to make the driving experience a good one.
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