The first thing you realize after hitching up nearly three tons of travel trailer to your tow vehicle is that the world really isn’t as flat as it seems.
The second thing you realize is that enough horsepower and torque will straighten out any road.
With a 5.3-liter Vortec V-8 bolted to the fully boxed frame, Chevrolet’s multipurpose Avalanche pickup definitely brings enough power to the party. Even though a portion of the Vortec’s 295 ponies are committed simply to motivating the solidly built Bowtie (with a few select options and a full tank of gas, our test vehicle hit the scales at a hefty 5,560 pounds), the 325-cid small block still had enough reserves to climb several mountain summits without moving into the slow-as-a-slug lane. In fact, even with Thor California’s Wanderer 255 RK GL trailer in tow, the Avalanche was as comfortable running along Interstate 10 as it was cresting Keys View inside California’s Joshua Tree National Park — an elevation variance of nearly one vertical mile.
The Avalanche boasts a number of refinements that make it an excellent choice as a tow vehicle. Built on the Suburban platform, the Chevy hauler appears to epitomize the four-door cabin/reduced-bed capacity styling popularized by the bed-challenged Humvee — but unlike those emasculated pickup trucks, the Avalanche retains the ability to accept a man-size truck payload when necessary.
Wrapped inside the well-insulated aluminum siding, the Wanderer 255RK is essentially parceled into three distinct segments: the master bedroom up front, the bath/water closet amidships and the kitchen/dinette at the rear. Twin doors, both with deadbolts for added security, provide ready access at either end.
Secondary sleeping arrangements are courtesy of the living-room sofa, which extends toward streetside while housed in a manually operated slideout, increasing interior room to an appreciative level.
Light and airy inside, the Wanderer combines traditional oak wood with residential finishes for the walls and ceiling and enough lights to rival a small apartment.
Matched to the Avalanche, a flexible and versatile performer that’s both a truck and a family car, the Wanderer makes a great living space.
Pick up the January 2004 issue of Trailer Life for full test impressions and details on the Avalanche & Wanderer 25′ — then subscribe to Trailer Life, so you can stay informed on the latest tow vehicles, tests, previews, and technical and RV-lifestyle information.
Thor Industries Inc., (937) 596-6849, thorindustries.com.