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Chevrolet Avalanche
GMT800 Chevrolet Avalanche WBH
Parent companyGeneral Motors
AssemblySilao, Mexico
ClassFull-size pickup truck
Body style(s)4-door truck
LayoutFront engine, rear-wheel drive / Four-wheel drive
Transmission(s)4-speed automatic
Wheelbase130.0 in (3302 mm)
Fuel capacity31 US gal (117 L, 25.8 Imp. gal)
ManualsService Manual

The Chevrolet Avalanche is a four-door, five or six passenger sport utility truck sharing GM's long-wheelbase chassis used on the Chevrolet Suburban and Cadillac Escalade EXT. Unlike the typical pickup truck, the open bed of the Avalanche opens to the back seat area via a folding panel (marketed as a 'midgate') and removable rear window. A series of three removable panels form a watertight top for the cargo bed. Additional storage is provided behind each wheelwell, accessed by locking flip-top panels and usable as self-draining ice chests.

The name Avalanche derives from the dangerous and sudden collapse of mountain snowpacks known as the avalanche.

2001 - 2006

First generation / GMT800
GMT800 Chevrolet Avalanche
PlatformGM GMT800 platform
Engine(s)5.3 L V8
8.1 L V8
Length2002-03: 221.7 in (5631 mm)
2004-06: 221.6 in (5629 mm)
Width79.8 in (2027 mm)
Height2002-03: 73.3 in (1862 mm)
2004-06: 73.6 in (1869 mm)
RelatedCadillac Escalade
Chevrolet Tahoe/GMC Yukon
Chevrolet Suburban/GMC Yukon XL
Chevrolet Silverado/GMC Sierra
Hummer H2

Avalanche was launched in 2001 as a 2002 model on the GMT800 platform. First year Avalanches featured light gray plastic body cladding, intended to provide visual distinction from the Suburban/Yukon XL. Avalanche also gave the public an advance look at the next generation of front fascia designs for the entire GM line. A full-length chrome strip splits each lamp assembly and the grille, with a gold Chevrolet "bow tie" in the center. The hood and fenders featured aggressive folds, in contrast to the soft box of the other GMT800 models.

2003 models featured darker cladding, but GM's new president, Rick Wagoner, demanded deletion of this "unpopular" trim (as did certain elements of the public). From mid-year, Avalanche could be ordered without the cladding. The uncladded model, known as the Without Body Hardware (or better by its acronym "WBH"), and alternatively called "slicksides" by GM marketers, resembles the '03-'05 Silverado in the front.

Avalanche was nominated for the North American Truck of the Year award and was Motor Trend magazine's SUV of the Year for 2002[1].

There are two engine choices:

  • A Vortec 5.3 L V8 producing 290 hp (216 kW), for the half-ton 1500 series;
  • A Vortec 8.1 L V8 with 340 hp (253 kW), for the three-quarter-ton 2500 series. The drive train is rear-wheel drive or available with selectable high/low four-wheel drive.

Cladding trouble

Soon after the release of the Chevy Avalanche customers began to notice cosmetic problems with the cladding on their vehicles. Over time exposure to heat and sunlight would cause a chalky faded appearance. It was especially noticeable on the cargo bed panels, and sailpanel windows where "Zebra Striping" would appear. Customer reaction to this problem resulted in General Motors agreeing to a one time treatment of a product called ArmorDillo. This product would temporarily restore the cladding for a period of about 6 months. After that it would wear off then need to be re-applied. Realizing this was not a permanent solution, GM, together with Gatorback Coatings, developed a coating that could be applied to the cladding to restore it to a like-new shine. This product was designed to etch into the plastic and bond a new layer of tinted acrylic over the faded plastic. Customers within the 3yr/36,000 original factory warranty could go to their dealership to have it restored under their original warranty under GM TSB:04-08-111-001C. With the exclusion of side body cladding on the 2007+ model years this has reduced the amount of cladding fade. General Motors has also identified the original source of the faded cladding. With that information they were able to reduce the cladding fade problem on the GM GMT900 platform.

2007 - present

Second generation / GMT900
GMT900 Chevrolet Avalanche LT
PlatformGM GMT900 platform
Engine(s)5.3 L V8
6.0 L V8
Length221.3 in (5621 mm)
Width79.1 in (2009 mm)
Height76.6 in (1946 mm)
RelatedCadillac Escalade
Chevrolet Tahoe/GMC Yukon
Chevrolet Suburban/GMC Yukon XL
Chevrolet Silverado/GMC Sierra

The GMT900 Avalanche was introduced at the Chicago Auto Show in February 2006. Production of the redesigned Avalanche began at the Silao Assembly in March 2006. The Avalanche maintains the styled front end much like its sister vehicles, the Tahoe/Yukon and Suburban, yet it still has the distinct midgate and integrated bed as found on the previous incarnation. It has all the same standard and available features as the Suburban and the Tahoe.

A 2007 Avalanche was given away to the Most Valuable Player of the 2006 Major League Baseball All-Star Game, Michael Young.


Cultural references

  • Sufjan Stevens's 2006 album The Avalanche features a Chevy Avalanche on the cover and is hinted at in the album's title track "The Avalanche" ("I was on the hatch/riding on the avalanche")
  • In CSI: NY, Detective Stella Bonasera drives a GMT800 Avalanche.

Yearly American sales

Calendar Year Total American sales
2001[1] 52,955
2002 89,372
2004[2] 80,566
2005 63,186
2006[3] 57,076
2007 55,550
2008[4] 35,003

External links


de:Chevrolet Avalanche lt:Chevrolet Avalanche ja:シボレー・アバランチ pt:Chevrolet Avalanche tr:Chevrolet Avalanche