November 1, 2000
Filed under Trailer Reviews
GM’s ambivalent Avalanche is a cross-dresser for the happy-camping, trailer-towing crowd.
An actual show truck that proved so popular on the circuit that GM rushed it to production
for 2001, this interesting “crossover” does multiple duty as a truck for hauling gear, toys
and trailers as well as an SUV for carrying people. In the process, GM also introduced
buyers to another acronym: UUV (ultimate utility vehicle). Avalanche is a full-size vehicle
that has room for six passengers like an SUV, but is fitted with an adaptable pickup-style
cargo bed for hauling the necessities for an outdoor adventure. Unlike typical four-door
pickups, the Avalanche offers the ability to convert passenger space into cargo space, and
vice versa. According to GM sources, Avalanche is the first truck that can be
“reconfigured” based on the owner’s needs. The Midgate (a GM-trademarked name) — located
behind the truck’s rear seats — can be lowered, extending the 5-foot 3-inch bed into the
cab and creating an 8-foot 1-inch-long cargo area. The cargo area features a thick rubber
bed liner that is specially designed to keep items from moving or shifting during driving.
Top-Box-Storage compartments provide for a variety of storage needs and a three-piece cover
protects cargo in the bed of the truck. As Ed Schoener, Chevy Avalanche brand manager, puts
it, “This truck is a tool to help people pursue their lifestyle, with specific
functionality you can’t find on any other vehicle.” Avalanche is a full-size pickup with a
hefty 8,800-pound tow rating and a 7,000-pound gross vehicle weight rating. Available in
either two- or four-wheel drive, the Avalanche is powered by a standard Vortec 5300 V-8.
Pricing is yet to be determined, but rumor has it that the Avalanche’s sticker price will
be in the area of $25,000 to $35,000.