Home : Vehicle Reviews : General Motors (GM) : 2001 Chevrolet Avalanche

2001 Chevrolet Avalanche

Review by Dr. David A. Zatz 

Review Notes: Chevrolet Avalanche
Personality Well-behaved work truck
Quirks Door handle, brake release placement
Unusual features Effective brakes, fold-down rear seats with removable window glass, plastic cladding
Above Average: Braking, usability
Needs Work In: Minor touches

2001 Chevrolet Avalanche 4x4

The Chevrolet Avalanche is an unexpected crossover vehicle. Coming on the heels of the Ford Explorer Sport Trac – an SUV with a short pickup bed – and the Dakota Quad Cab – a pickup with a short pickup bed and SUV-style cab – the Avalanche takes something old, namely fold-down rear seats, something new, namely removable rear window glass, and puts them into an unusual place – a truck.

We were not excited about the Explorer Sport Trac, because the Explorer is basically a pickup with no bed and a large cab; at one time, nearly all SUVs were based on pickups. But the Avalanche is interesting because it allows drivers to have a large cab without making the truck unmanageably long, as the equivalent Silverado is when it has the full size bed as well as the full size cab. Instead, when a large bed is needed, the rear seat can be easily and quickly folded down to gain an extra two feet or so. In addition, the rear window can be taken out – and, in a fit of brilliance, it can be safely stashed in a convenient pocket so it can actually stay in one piece, and not get left behind.

2001 Chevrolet Avalanche 4x4The bed is covered by a series of three covers, each easy to remove and reinstall. They protect the contents of the bed from thieves and the elements, while making the truck more aerodynamic. As if to compensate for the usability issues of the Aztek and, for that matter, the GM cruise controls, the designers even put glow-in-the-dark handles on the levers that lock and unlock the bed cover, so you can work at night if needed. Two large cargo lamps are mounted in the sides of the bed for further visibility; there is also room for tools or other objects in individually-locking sections of the bed-side.

That’s basically the “magic midgate” part of the truck, as well as the much-hyped “SUV to pickup conversion.” It’s not quite as impressive as it sounds on TV, but it works very smoothly, and a single person can have the rear seat folded down and the window stashed away in about a minute. Likewise, taking the bed cover off is much easier than with a soft tonneau cover, and the cover itself provides better security.

The plastic sides protect against minor bumps and scratches – they reach fairly high – and also provide footholds to launch your way into the high bed. Optional side steps can be helpful for shorter people to get into the spacious cab. The bed itself is covered with a removable plastic mat that protects against damage while holding things in place – a better (and quieter) solution than hard plastic bed mats.

2001 Chevrolet Avalanche 4x4The Avalanche is expensive – over $33,000 – but it comes with many amenities. Ours had drink heater/coolers that worked simply and well, but could not hold, say, a large Coke bottle. It also had an oil change reminder lamp, which can help to extend the gap between oil changes considerably (because oil usually does not need to be changed every 3,000 miles, and GM’s computers are better at estimating when it really does need to be changed), and the usual clever GM features like the excellent OnStar and a very well-designed optional thermostatic climate control (the temperature is quickly set by a single knob). Standard functional features include speed sensitive steering, four wheel antilock disc brakes, and antitheft systems.

Owners can also customize various aspects of how their vehicle works – for example, whether one door or all doors automatically lock and unlock. The automatic headlights and DRLs can be overridden, but only on a drive-to-drive basis (it defaults back to automatic when the key is taken out). Fortunately, the automatic headlights go on immediately if it’s dark. We’d still prefer an easier manual override.

The front has the new Chevrolet styling, and is more similar to the Impala in some ways than to past Chevy trucks. People on the street seemed to find the styling fascinating, from the rugged-looking mesh grille to the Pontiac-like, grey body cladding.

We could go on and on about the interior, handling, and acceleration, but for the most part, this truck is a Silverado 1500 with a clever midgate, bed cover, and plastic body panels, so see our Silverado review for more details.

General Motors has done it once again. The Avalanche is an amazingly well executed idea, so simple it’s brilliant, and currently unique among pickups and SUVs. It’s still a work truck – so if you want one for transporting your family, get a Chevy Venture or Dodge Caravan, and if you want a big V-8, get a Camaro – but it’s a remarkably practical work truck, and it beats anything on the Ford lots. If you’re in the market, take a look.

2001 Chevy Avalanche

Standard Equipment

Air Bags

Driver and front passenger
Dual side, front seating positions

Air conditioning with HVAC filter (includes rear air conditioning vents with bucket seat option)

Alternator, 105-amp

Assist handle, Front passenger and second-row outboard seats

Battery, heavy-duty, 600 CCA

Brakes, Four-wheel disc anti-lock braking system (ABS) with dynamic rear proportioning (DRP)

Bumper, rear, step bumper, Light Charcoal with side assist steps

Cargo cover, 3-piece rigid composite, stowable on board

Cargo mat, rubber, black

Cladding, Light Charcoal, body-side, front and rear fascia

Convert-a-Cab System, Includes Midgate, removable rear window, cargo cover and lockable tailgate

Console



Overhead storage for eyeglasses and garage door opener. Map lights and map light switches.
Floor storage between front seats including cupholders (bucket seat option only)

Cruise control with telltale in instrument panel cluster

Cupholders, Dual front and rear

Daytime Running Lamps

Defogger, rear window electric

Door handles, color-keyed

Door Guard beams, side

Door locks, Programmable power with Key Ignition Lockout Prevention

Driver Message Center



Monitors 15 vehicle functions. Telltale warning messages include Battery, Change Engine Oil, Check Coolant Temp, Check Engine Oil Level, Check Engine Oil Pressure, Engine Overheated, Low Coolant, Low Fuel, Low Washer Fluid, Reduced Engine Power, Cargo Light On, Security, Service 4WD, Trans Fluid Hot, Trans Hot…Idle Engine

Engine, Vortec 5300 V8 SFI

Floor covering, Color-keyed carpet with carpeted floor mats

Fog Lamps, halogen

Headlamps, dual composite halogen

Headliner, Full cloth

Instrumentation

Includes analog speedometer, tachometer, odometer with trip odometer, voltmeter, oil pressure, engine hour meter and engine temperature

Key, single, 2-sided

Keyless entry, Includes 2 transmitters, panic button and content theft alarm

Lighting

Includes dome with LH and RH door switch, delayed entry feature, ashtray, glove box, underhood
and cargo lamps, door handle-activated illuminated entry with ground illumination and map lights in front and second-row seat positions

Midgate=, separates the cab from the cargo box. Midgate is located behind the rear seat and can be lowered to extend the cargo box to eight feet

Mirrors, Inside
Light-sensitive inside rearview with 8-point compass and outside temperature indicator

Mirrors, Outside
Foldaway outside rearview, electric, heated, body-colored with ground illumination lamps

Power outlets, Dual covered in instrument panel

Rear axle ratio, 3.73

Safety belts, Outboard lap and shoulder, inboard lap, with all belts to seat in front row

Seats

Front, reclining 40/20/40 split-bench with Custom Cloth, power driver side, dual adjustable head restraints, manual lumbar, fold-down center armrest with storage and back of seat map pockets Rear, 60/40 split-folding bench seat with outboard head restraints

Security, Passlock II content theft-deterrent system

Sound System
AM/FM stereo with CD player, seek-scan, auto-tone control, speed-sensitive volume, electronic tuning, six speakers and TheftLock

Spare tire, P265/70R16 tire with 16-inch steel wheel (mounted under rear frame; includes lock)

Steering, power (EVO variable assist on 4WD models)

Steering column, Tilt-Wheel adjustable

Steering Wheel, leather-wrapped

Storage, integrated Top-Box Storage with locks and lights

Sunshades, Cloth-covered with lighted visor vanity mirrors with extenders and secondary shade

Suspension, smooth ride

Front, independent torsion bar
Rear, multi-link coil spring

Tires, P265/70R16, blackwall

Trailering Package
Includes trailer hitch platform, 7-pin wiring connector and trailer brake prewire harness

Transmission
Electronically controlled 4-speed automatic with overdrive and tow/haul modes

Wheels, 16-inch aluminum with 16-inch steel spare

Windows
Power with backlit switches, driver express-down and lockout features: tinted Solar-Ray on all windows and deep tint on second-row windows

Windshield wipers, intermittent with pulse washers

 

Optional Packages back to top

2WD Models

Convenience Package

•Mirror, self-dimming OSRV, driver’s side
•Electronic climate control
•OnStar system with first year Safety and Security service
•HomeLink universal transmitter

Premium On-Road Package (Z66)

•Tires, P265/70R17 all-season touring blackwall
•17-inch aluminum wheels
•Premium suspension with specially tuned springs and shocks (Bilstein front shocks and Sachs
l•oad-leveling rear shocks)
•Rear Locking differential
•Traction Assist
•Z66 decal on rear quarter panels
•Aggressive rubber floor mats

4WD Models

Convenience Package

•Mirror, self-dimming OSRV, driver’s side
•Electronic climate control
•OnStar system with first year Safety and Security service
•HomeLink universal transmitter

Off-Road Package (Z71)

•Tires, P265/70R17 on/off-road blackwall
•17-inch aluminum wheels
•Springs and shocks absorbers, specially tuned (Bilstein shocks, front and rear)
•Rear locking differential
•Skid shields
•Air cleaner, high-capacity
•Z71 decal on rear quarter panels
•Aggressive rubber floor mats

Free-Flow Options

•Power Bucket Seats Sport Cloth
•Power Bucket Seats Sport Leather (combination of cloth and leather)
•Power Bucket Seats Leather/Heated/Memory
•Power Sunroof (includes HomeLink Universal Transmitter)
•Rear Locking Differential
•4.10:1 Rear Axle Ratio
•Engine Block Heater
•Soft Tonneau Cover
•Roof Rack
•Running Boards

Dealer-Installed Accessories

•Bed extender
•Tubular side steps (chrome or gray)
•Assist steps (running boards)
•2-D splash guards
•Bed tent
•Roof rack
•Molded hood protector
•Molded splash guards
•Vent visors
•Front end cover
•Roof-mounted luggage basket
•Soft luggage carrier
•Hard cargo carrier

Floor console liner
•Carpeted floor mats (carpet/rubber)
•Top-Box Storage bags
•Brush/grille guard
•Security system
•Engine block heater
•Vehicle cover
•Wheel locks
•Highway safety kit
•Hot/cold beverage holder
•Mobile office organizer
•Trailer hitch/ball mount/ball/
•trailer wiring

 

2001 Chevy Avalanche

Specifications back to top

 

2WD

4WD

Manufacturing Facility/Country

Silao Assembly Plant,

Silao Assembly Plant,

 

Silao, Mexico

Silao, Mexico

GENERAL DATA

Vehicle Type

Front engine, 2-wheel drive,

Front-engine, 4-wheel drive,

 

4-door full-size Ultimate

4-door full-size Ultimate

 

Utility Vehicle

Utility Vehicle


EPA size class

Half-ton truck

Half-ton truck


Body Frame Material

Hydroformed steel and

Hydroformed steel and

 

C-section

C-section


ENGINE

Type

Vortec 5300 V8

Vortec 5300 V8


Engine Code

LM7

LM7


Bore & Stroke (in./mm)

3.78 x 3.62/96.0 x 92.0

3.78 x 3.62/96.0 x 92.0


Displacement (cu. in./cc)

327/5328

327/5328


Compression Ratio

9.5:1

9.5:1


Horsepower

285 hp @ 5200 RPM

285 hp @ 5200 RPM

 

212.6 kw @ 5200 RPM

212.6 kw @ 5200 RPM


Torque

325 lb-ft @ 4000 RPM

325 lb-ft @ 4000 RPM

 

440.6 Nm @ 4000 RPM

440.6 Nm @ 4000 RPM


Fuel System

Sequential fuel injection

Sequential fuel injection


Valve Train

Hydraulic Roller Follower,

Hydraulic Roller Follower,

 

2 Valves per Cylinder,

2 Valves per Cylinder,

 

Chain Cam Drive

Chain Cam Drive


Engine Block/Heads

Cast iron/Cast aluminum

Cast iron/Cast aluminum


Redline (Max. eng. speed)

5600 rpm

5600 rpm


Recommended Fuel

87 octane

87 octane

TRANSMISSION

Type

4L60-E Hydra-Matic 4-speed Automatic, Rear-Wheel-Drive, Electronically Controlled, Automatic Overdrive with Torque Converter Clutch

RATIOS

1st

3.06

3.06


2nd

1.63

1.63


3rd

1.00

1.00


4th

0.70

0.70


Reverse

2.29

2.29


Axle Ratio

3.73:01 standard

3.73:01 standard

 

4.10:01 optional

4.10:01 optional


4-Wheel-Drive type

Autotrac active

SUSPENSION

Front Type

Independent, with

Independent, with

 

torsion bars

torsion bars


Rear Type

5-Link Coil Spring

5-Link Coil Spring


STEERING

2WD

4WD

Type

Power, recirculating ball

Power, recirculating ball with EVO Variable Assist


Overall Ratio

12.0:1

12.0:1


Turning Circle:

 
 

 Wall-to-wall (ft/m)

45.6/13.9

45.6/13.9

 Curb-to-curb (ft/m)

43.3/13.2

43.3/13.2


Turns lock-to-lock

3.3

3.3

BRAKES

Type

4-Wheel Vented Disc with Front Aluminum Dual Piston Calipers, Rear Drum-in-Hat Parking Brake; 4-Wheel ABS


Rotor Size

Front (diameter in./mm)

12/305

12/305


Rear (diameter in./mm)

13/330

13/330


Total Swept Area (cm3/in2)

862/133.6

862/133.6

ELECTRICAL SYSTEM

Battery (CCA)

600

600


Alternator (amps)

105

105


CAPACITIES

Fuel Tank capacity (gal/liter)

31/117.3

31/117.3


Engine Oil with filter (qt/liter)

6.0/5.68

6.0/5.68


Engine Coolant (qt/liter)

16/15.13

16/15.13

WHEELS & TIRES

2WD

4WD

Wheel Type

Aluminum

Aluminum


Wheel Size

16 x 7.0

16 x 7.0


Tire Size and Type

P265/70R16

P265/70R16

 

All-season steel-belted radials


Spare Tire Size

P265/70R16

P265/70R16


RPO Z66:
Wheel Size

17 x 7.5

Not applicable


Tire Size and Type

P265/70R17 All-season touring steel-belted radials

Not applicable


 

 
 

RPO Z71:
Wheel Size

Not applicable

17 x 7.5


Tire Size and Type

Not applicable

P265/70R17 On/off-road steel-belted radials


Spare Tire/Wheel
with RPO Z66 or Z71

P265/75R16 on a 16″ steel wheel

P265/75R16 on a 16″ steel wheel

FUEL ECONOMY (EPA RATINGS)

City (mpg)

14

13


Highway (mpg)

18

17

WEIGHTS/PAYLOAD

Minimum Curb Weights (lb/kg)

5437/2466

5678/2575.5


Weight Distribution (F/R)

52/48

53/47


Maximum Curb Weights (lb/kg)

5603/2541.5

5876/2665


Maximum Payload (lb/kg)

1363/618

1322/599.5


GVWR (lb/kg)

6,800/3090.9

7,000/3181.8

TRAILER-TOWING CAPACITY

2WD

4WD

Maximum (lb/kg) (requires 4.10 axle ratio) with Trailer Brakes

8,300/3764.8

8,100/3674

DIMENSIONS – EXTERIOR

Wheelbase (in./mm)

130.0/3302

130.0/3302


Overall Length (in./mm)

221.7/5631

221.7/5631


Overall Width (in./mm)
(4WD without wheel flares)

79.8/2027

79.8/2027


Height @ curb

73.3/1862

73.6/1869


Front Tread Width

65.0/1651.0

65.0/1651.0


Rear Tread Width

66.0/1676.0

66.0/1676.0


Minimum Ground Clearance 
  (in./mm)

 
 

P265/70R16 tires

8.6/218

8.6/218

P265/70R17 tires

8.8/224

8.8/224


Approach Angle (degree @ minimum curb weight) with P265/70R/17 tires

27.4

27.4


Departure Angle (degree @ minimum curb weight with platform hitch) with P265/70R/17 tires

23.9

23.8

DIMENSIONS — INTERIOR

2WD

4WD

Front Headroom (in./mm)

40.7/1034

40.7/1034


Front Shoulder Room (in./mm)

65.2/1656

65.2/1656


Front Hip Room (in./mm)

61.4/1560

61.4/1560


Front Legroom (in./mm)

41.3/1049

41.3/1049


2nd-Row Headroom (in./mm)

38.6/980

38.6/980


2nd-Row Shoulder Room (in./mm)

65.2/1656

65.2/1656


2nd-Row Hip Room (in./mm)

62.0/1575

62.0/1575


2nd-Row Legroom (in./mm)

38.9/988

38.9/988


Passenger Volume Index (cu. ft.)

120.2

120.2


Interior Cargo Volume Index (cu. ft.)
with Midgate up, 2nd row seat folded

53.9

53.9

CARGO BOX

Inside Box Height (in./mm)
from cargo mat to cargo cover

22.5/571.5

22.5/571.5


Inside Length (in./mm)

63.0/1602.0

63.0/1602.0


Inside Length (in./mm) via Convert-a-Cab System with Midgate down

97.6/2478

97.6/2478


Inside Width (in./mm)

50.0/1270

50.0/1270


Cargo Box Volume (cu. ft.)

41.0

41.0

TOP-BOX STORAGE COMPARTMENT

Volume/box (cu. ft.)

1.7

1.7

 

2001 Chevrolet Avalanche

Avalanche Powertrain Is All Chevy Truck

Underneath the bold styling and unique adaptability of the Avalanche is nothing but pure Chevy Truck. And that means Vortec engine power and performance.

2001 Vortec 5300 V8 EngineVortec 5300 V8

The powerful and efficient Vortec 5300 V8 engine is the only engine available on the Avalanche. The engine has an established track record for being able to withstand the real-world conditions of recreational and commercial use, while still offering outstanding performance day in and day out.

The durable Vortec 5300 produces 285 hp at 5,200 rpm and 325 lb-ft of torque at 4,000 rpm. Its impressive low-end torque and exceptionally strong, flat torque curve deliver excellent pulling power with 90 percent of its peak torque available from 1,600 to 5,000 rpm.

The engine’s durable design includes a deep-skirt cast-iron block with heavy-duty six-bolt cross-bolted main bearing caps. Bridging the two cylinder banks is a structural die-cast aluminum valley cover that enhances the block’s torsional strength. A structural oil pan also is used to increase the engine’s overall stiffness. These features reduce noise and vibration and help deliver a noticeably smooth, refined performance.

Thanks to the catalytic converter system being moved closer to the engine by using two small-volume pipe converters, the converters reach their operating temperature more quickly for better emission performance. It is so efficient that an A.I.R. (Air Injection Reaction) system is no longer needed, reducing complexity and weight. The result is that the Vortec 5300 meets Ultra Low Emission Vehicle (ULEV) certification requirements in California and Northeastern states.

The Vortec 5300 also monitors oil quality and quantity levels through the GM Oil Life System – a segment exclusive. This system continuously analyzes factors that determine the useful life of the oil. When the system senses that the oil has only 10 percent of its useful life remaining, the driver is notified of the need to “change oil” via the Driver Message Center.

A standard engine coolant level sensor will help avert potential engine damage if there is a sudden loss of coolant protection. The Driver Message Center will notify the driver if the engine is overheating. The engine will go into a “limp home” mode once coolant temperature reaches 265 degrees Fahrenheit by running on alternating banks of four cylinders while using cool air to cool itself. This allows the driver to continue driving for up to 25 miles until reaching a service facility without damaging the engine.

The Vortec 5300 also has incorporated several other enhancements that help deliver better performance and lower emissions. These include:

•A simplified two-point vapor venting system, which reduces complexity and weight.
•A new crankshaft sensor reluctor ring, used by the crankshaft sensor to determine crankshaft position, that improves reliability.
•A recontoured engine cover that provides quieter operation and enhances the appearance of the engine compartment.

4L60-E 4l60e transmission4L60-E Automatic Transmission

The 4L60-E electronically controlled 4-speed automatic transmission that is mated to the Vortec 5300 engine offers precise shifting and performance, lending to the smooth operation of the Avalanche’s powertrain.

The transmission’s high fluid capacity and the efficiency of the torque converter minimize operating temperature, increasing long-term durability. And a full bell-housing design helps maximize the transmission’s structural integrity for smoother, quieter operation.

The transmission features GM’s segment-exclusive Tow/Haul mode that is geared to heavy hauling or trailering.

By a simple press of a button on the shift lever, the transmission’s shift pattern becomes much more aggressive by lengthening the time between gear shifts and making the gear shift itself much more quickly. It also provides higher line pressure for a smoother, more constant shift feel.

Autotrac Four-Wheel-Drive

The Autotrac active transfer case that is standard on four-wheel-drive models provides maximum control under most road conditions. The simple design of this computer-operated system makes it more reliable than similar systems from competitors while offering highly refined operation.

It uses an instrument panel-mounted, four-button selector to engage 2HI, AUTO 4WD, 4HI, 4LO and Neutral. The system is flexible enough to offer different ranges depending on road conditions. The system interactively monitors the road in the AUTO 4WD mode and transfers torque delivery from the rear to the front wheels, as needed, to optimize traction in slippery or changing road conditions.

For serious off-road operation or in snow or mud, the system offers a 4HI mode, which is a part-time four-wheel-drive system using all four wheels to drive the vehicle, and a 4LO mode, for when a high level of torque may be needed such as when climbing steep grades or towing a boat up a launch.

Structural Rigidity Offers Outstanding Ride and Handling, Hauling Capability

Avalanche provides an exceptionally smooth ride and responsive handling, whether carrying six passengers or one, loaded or unloaded with cargo. Its ride and handling are due in part to the Avalanche’s exceptional body strength and structural rigidity.

The Avalanche rides on a 130-inch wheelbase with an overall length of 221.7 inches, which is a shorter wheelbase and overall length than a conventional extended-cab pickup. But it maintains all the strength expected of a full-size vehicle.

Fully Integrated Cargo Box

The vehicle is extremely strong, rigid and dimensionally accurate, with a structural stiffness rated at 23.5 Hertz (Hz). Using the 1500 Series Suburban with its body-on-frame design as a basis, engineers created a highly balanced, fully integrated rear-end design by adding large boxed sections for extra support virtually throughout the whole rear of the vehicle. This design produces a back-end structure that is completely integral to the vehicle, with the sheet metal formed to the rear pillar in a smooth seamless fashion. This is unlike major crossover competitors, which have a traditional separate cab and box structure.

The large boxed sections, which act like beams, are used throughout the vehicle. Engineers created one large box section, which forms a whole ring around the opening in the C-pillar area where the Midgate is located, to provide the central support for the whole back of the Avalanche.

As part of the C-ring, there are vertical, tubular pillars in the rear quarter pillar, or “sail” panels, of the vehicle running from the top of the cab to the floor. There also are reinforcements that run down from the roof at a 45-degree angle.

Avalanche also uses a laser-welded ring for the front doors, eliminating the need for hinge pillar reinforcements and multiple welds. The underbody features welded-together cross sills under the driver and passenger seats that form a one-piece floor panel support for maximum rigidity. The roof panel uses reinforced steel for outstanding strength.

Hydroformed Frame

The advantage of GM’s advanced, modular 1500 Series truck frame is its strong stable foundation for the body, powertrain and suspension. The fully welded ladder frame features hydroformed front and rear frame rails for added structural rigidity, more frame strength and dimensional precision than a conventional box design.

In the hydroforming process, a hollow, round steel tube is bent to general form, sealed at one end and filled with fluid. In a press, the fluid is pressurized to form the frame rail from the inside out. Because the entire steel tube is pressurized equally, a very consistent shape is achieved without any weak spots.

The use of hydroforming in the construction of the rails and engine cross members eliminates hundreds of inches of weld for improved dimensional control of mounting brackets.

Trailer-Ready Design

Aided by Avalanche’s strong frame and body, engineers were able to create a vehicle that is ready for the long haul.

The Avalanche offers a maximum payload capacity of approximately 1,363 lbs. for two-wheel-drive models and approximately 1,322 lbs. for four-wheel-drive models.

Avalanche also features a trailer-ready design. Special suspension or cooling packages are not needed to obtain maximum trailering performance. A 4.10 axle ratio, a no-cost option, is all that is required for maximum trailer capacity. The standard axle ratio is 3.73.

Every Avalanche has a standard pre-installed seven-wire socket to simplify the trailer preparation process. In addition, the standard Z82 Heavy-Duty Trailering Package includes a 12,000-pound weight-distributing hitch platform and a trailer brake controller jumper harness.

The maximum trailer rating of the Avalanche is 8,300 pounds for the two-wheel-drive model and 8,100 pounds for the four-wheel-drive model (when properly equipped with the 4.10 axle ratio).

Avalanche Keeps Everything Under Control

The Avalanche emits a sense of control, from its commanding view of the road to its aggressive styling, but keeping everything in control is the work of the specially designed suspension system.

Steering

For less effort and precise control, the Avalanche features an integral power-assisted recirculating ball steering system. This system is standard on two-wheel-drive models and provides excellent control and easy maneuverability at all speeds. The Avalanche has a tight curb-to-curb turning circle of 43 feet.

Four-wheel-drive models benefit from a speed-sensitive (Electronic Variable Orifice) power steering system, which offers additional assistance and ease of use, especially useful for trailering. The system reduces steering effort at lower speeds, such as when parking and reverts to normal steering effort at higher vehicle speeds. The system also is designed to operate at a lower power steering fluid temperature to help extend the useful life of the fluid.

Independent Front Suspension

The independent front suspension has unique torsion bar and shock absorber tuning to optimize the levels of control and ride quality of both two-wheel-drive and four-wheel-drive models to meet the expectations of those vehicles’ drivers.

The front suspension uses precision-machined modular cast-iron lower control arms, which are more dimensionally accurate than stamped or welded components. They complement the hydroformed front frame rails to provide a highly precise front-end alignment for a solid on-center feel and reduced tire wear. A long-life, energy-absorbing mircocellular urethane front jounce bumper also helps smooth out severe bumps and the 1.25 inch (32mm) stabilizer bar reduces body roll in cornering for more precise handling.

Five-Link Coil Spring Rear Suspension

The Avalanche’s five-link coil spring rear suspension delivers both the comfort and ride quality of a family vehicle and the load-carrying capability of a work truck – something that can’t be said of competitors’ leaf spring suspension systems.

The five-link system consists of two forged steel upper control arms and two stamped steel lower control arms with bushings on each end for better isolation. These components control the axle’s fore-aft and vertical position and a track bar controls the axle’s lateral position. A 1.125 inch (28.6mm) stabilizer bar also helps reduce body roll while cornering for better handling.

And for handling even the heaviest loads, the rear suspension features tall jounce bumpers, which act as a second-stage spring to help carry heavy cargo box loads.

Suspension Packages

The ZQ1 Smooth Ride Suspension is standard on all models. It includes 16-inch aluminum wheels and P265/75R16 all-season tires.

Avalanche also offers two suspension packages for improved off-road and on-road ride and handling.

The Z71 Off-Road Suspension for four-wheel-drive models includes P265/70R17 on/off-road tires for maximum traction in loose soil, specially tuned springs, 46mm Bilstein gas-pressurized shock absorbers in the front and rear, specially tuned jounce bumpers and a stabilizer bar to help minimize the impact of large suspension inputs on ride and handling. The package also includes skid plates, a locking rear differential, a high-capacity air cleaner, Z71 decals and aggressively designed rubber floor mats.

The Z66 Premium On-Road Suspension for two-wheel-drive models includes P265/70R17 all-season touring tires, specially tuned springs, 46mm Bilstein high-pressure gas-charged shock absorbers in the front and Sachs self-leveling rear shocks. Electronic traction assist and a locking rear differential are included with the package along with Z66 decals and aggressively designed rubber floor mats.

Brakes

Building on GM’s world-class braking systems, the Avalanche features a standard four-wheel anti-lock vented disc brake system. With large rotors for a generous sweep area and vented discs to quickly dissipate heat, the system provides exceptional braking performance.

The system utilizes GM’s advanced Dynamic Rear Proportioning (DRP) system as well to provide outstanding brake performance under all conditions and types of vehicle loads, even when trailering.

The DRP system monitors wheel speed and, as needed, automatically modulates the pressure applied to the rear brakes to ensure that braking loads are balanced between the front and rear brakes. This reduces wear on the front brakes and results in more effective braking performance for enhanced safety while increasing front brake pad life.

The four-wheel anti-lock braking system (ABS) recognizes rapid changes in wheel speed and modulates the amount of pressure applied to each brake. This enhances the stability and steering of the vehicle during an emergency stop while improving the overall performance of the brakes.

The front and rear brakes have twin-piston calipers (aluminum calipers up front for more mass savings) for exceptional braking power and even pressure over the brake pad. By applying pressure more evenly, taper wear is reduced and brake feel is more consistent.

The brakes also use large, long-lasting organic brake pads. The pads for both the front and rear discs have audible wear sensors on the inboard and outboard disc brake pads to detect impending pad wear-out. This provides a comprehensive alert of the need for servicing before the pads wear out.

Electrical Technology Adds to Durability, Reliability

With the growing number of components that are controlled electronically on a vehicle, GM has undertaken great efforts to reduce the potential for any electrical system failures. One way to reduce that potential is to eliminate areas in the electrical system that offer possible failure points. One such area is wire splices.

Bussed Electrical Centers

In order to reduce the potential for electrical system failures, the Avalanche features a combined Bussed Electrical Center (BEC) and Class II electrical system architecture. The Avalanche electrical system has just nine splices, a best-in-class design that minimizes the number of possible failure points and dramatically contributes to the durability and reliability of the system.

The four BECs in the vehicle centrally locate electrical system functions, making them easier to service, simplifying wiring connections and allowing the use of lighter gauge wire for reduced mass. The BECs are located under the hood, in the passenger compartment and on the left and right side of the instrument panel.

Driver Message Center

Keeping the driver up-to-date on the functions of the vehicle is the function of the Driver Message Center. A sophisticated liquid-crystal display, the Driver Message Center monitors and reports on the status of up to 15 vital vehicle functions. Status messages are relayed from onboard computers to keep the driver fully aware of the vehicle’s operating condition at all times.

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