The 2010 Chevrolet Avalanche is offered in LS, LT and LTZ models, each with a choice of rear-wheel drive or 4-wheel drive. Standard on all models is a 310-horsepower, 5.3-liter V-8 engine, hooked up to a responsive 6-speed automatic transmission.
The engine has Active Fuel Management, which switches to 4-cylinder operation when possible to help save fuel. Fuel economy ratings of 14 mpg city, 20 mpg highway are quite respectable for a vehicle of this size and capability.
The Avalanche's unusual styling aside, the centerpoint of this truck's unique setup is its so-called mid-gate, which allows items from the truck bed to overflow into the cabin when the space is needed. As such, the Avalanche can function both as a 6-person SUV or a truck with an 8-foot bed. With the mid-gate open and the back seat folded fully down, the Avalanche can fit 4-by-8-foot pieces of plywood. The bed also has built-in storage compartments with drains, ideal for being filled with ice and used as coolers.
The Avalanche includes some of the same rugged character and ability as GM's full-size pickup models, including very respectable tow ratings of up to 8,100 pounds. Those who do plan to take their Avalanche far off the pavement will want to get the Z71 Off-Road package, which brings color-keyed wheel flares, tubular assist steps, a chrome grille insert, leather bucket seats, and a host of tough hardware including high-pressure gas-charged shocks, on/off-road tires, recovery hooks, skid plates and an automatic-locking differential. The heavy-duty Trailering Package is now the only way to get a 2-speed transfer case.
The 2010 Avalanche drives like most of GM's other full-size trucks--which is to say it's more nimble than you might think, with surprisingly good ride comfort and great interior appointments including generously sized front seats.
In base LS trim, the Avalanche comes with a simple set of features that should be just fine for work-minded buyers. On the standard features list are air conditioning, cruise control, steering-wheel audio controls and a MP3/CD sound system with USB port and XM satellite radio compatibility. The LT is more comfort-minded and brings a soft-ride suspension plus remote start, remote keyless entry, dual-zone climate control, upgraded front bucket seats, Bose audio, and Bluetooth. The LTZ gets lots of appearance extras, plus power-adjustable pedals, a garage-door opener, heated-and-cooled front seats, perforated leather upholstery, a rearview camera system, parking assist, DVD entertainment, and a navigation system with XM NavTraffic info.
For 2010, the Chevrolet Avalanche gets center-console-integrated USB compatibility, allowing media players to interface with the sound system; and standard equipment on the 1LT package has been expanded to include power-adjustable pedals, remote start and a heavy-duty rear locking differential.
The big 6.0-liter V-8 engine has been dropped for 2010, leaving just one powertrain combination. A 2-speed transfer case is now optional on 4WD models, with a single-speed transfer case standard.
Several new hues join the palette of colors: Taupe Gray Metallic and Sheer Silver Metallic replace Dark Blue Metallic, Silver Birch Metallic and Greystone Metallic.