Getting the opportunity to review a truck is a rare opportunity for me. Despite a background in auto sales, I was never a truck person. Give me an SUV or crossover any day.
It would have been easy to pick the Ford F-150 since it is all over TV and has the new eco-boost feature. But I wanted to pick a truck I might actually buy. That led me to the Chevrolet Avalanche.
Just to be clear, I did sell new Chevys back in 2005 for a couple of month, but this was a truck I never sold. I never even had a customer interest in it. But I admired it from the outside and thought it was worthy of the test drive.
I went to Fox Chevrolet in Timonium and met with Sales Associate Samona Baysmore. Based on my wants and needs, she found a nicely equipped Avalanche to test drive. Oh, and did I mention it’s been pouring rain all day?
Here are the spec highlights of the vehicle I drove:
– Engine: 5.3L, V-8, Flex Fuel
– Transmission: 6 speed auto
– Multizone climate control
– Deep tinted glass windows
– Power and heated side mirrors
– OnStar communication system
– Steering wheel radio controls
– Radio, AM/FM Stereo, Auto Tune (for volume), CD/MP3, USB Port
– Remote start
– Power seats (not leather)
– All-season tires
– XM Satellite Radio
– Tow/Haul mode
– Driver Information Center
– Bluetooth sync capability for hands free calling
– Seats 5
– Warranty – 3 years/36,000 miles for new vehicles. Rust through corrosion is covered for 6 years/100,000 miles and 5 year/100,000 mile Powertrain warranty.
– 24/7 roadside assistance and courtesy transportation program.
– MSRP: $40,635 with a GM Consumer Cash Program currently offering $4000 cash back until 5/31/11.
There were a lot of other options in the truck, but I liked those the most. I’m not too big on accessories for myself, but I understand that there are some things people cannot do without when buying a car.
Vortec 5.3L V8 – Avalanches have an active fuel system technology that only delivers power when you need it. That means it will deactivate 4 of the 8 cylinders to conserve fuel. That’s good news for your wallet!
Rearview Camera System – The model I drove did not have one, but because this is a large truck, I would highly recommend having a camera. I was very afraid that I was going to hit something while backing up.
Ride Quality – It shares the same suspension as the Tahoe and Suburban. That made for a smooth ride, even though I was in a truck.
USB port – Functions as a port for your MP3 player or music-loaded flash drive
Standard Bluetooth wireless technology – This is your answer to hands-free calling. This is especially important in states, like here in Maryland, where hands-free calling is the law.
OnStar Automatic Crash Response – Available features include turn by turn navigation, hands-free calling, stolen car locator, and the automatic crash response. Automatic crash response uses built in sensors that automatically alerts an OnStart and relays critical information to get you help as soon as possible. This happens even if you cannot respond and help is sent to your GPS location. This works regardless of whether or not the airbags deploy.
Wi-Fi by Autonet Mobile – This was not on the model I drove but its purpose is to deliver reliable Internet access in and around a 150 foot radius of your vehicle.
The Test Drive
Due to the dealerships proximity to the interstate, I was able to drive through residential streets before heading onto the freeway. The ride was smooth and I made sure to play with all of the features I could. If you have been in a newer vehicle in the past 5 years, then many of the things I listed you might have already seen. The difference is that this is a significant amount of features and technology for what is still, essentially a pick up truck.
This is truck designed for anybody. You ride high off of the ground and still have the feeling of and SUV or other large vehicle to haul around your cargo and your family.
An inspection of the cargo area revealed a very deep cargo area (larger than it looks from the outside). The cargo cover is removable and the back seats fold down for more storage. I no problem adjusting to the larger size of the truck and the ride was solid.
This is not a truck I would use for hauling things on a regular basis, such as if you worked in construction. The Chevy Avalanche is more suited for the family who wants a truck but still craves the ride and comfort of an SUV. If that’s you, then this is vehicle is a very out of the box choice to achieve that.
When all is said and done, pick the vehicle that best suits your wants, needs, and budget. If you are considering a truck, give the Chevy Avalanche a try.
Fox Chevrolet of Timonium
60 East Padonia Road
Timonium, MD 21093
Sales Associate: Samona Baysmore