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2008 Chevrolet Avalanche

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2008 Chevrolet Avalanche Review

KBB Editors' Overview

By KBB.com Editors


First introduced for 2002, the Avalanche combined a full-size SUV body with a pickup truck's cargo bed. Redesigned last year, the 2008 Chevrolet Avalanche is built on GM's new full-size SUV platform, which is also used for the Chevrolet Suburban and GMC Yukon XL, and it offers improved fuel economy and Flex-Fuel (ethanol/gasoline) capability. Refined small-block 5.3-liter V8 engines are standard, and a 6.0-liter V8 that uses variable valve timing is optionally available. Three trim levels are offered: LS, LT, and LTZ (with the LT level further divided into LT1, LT2 and LT3) and with rear-wheel or four-wheel drive.

You'll Like This Car If...

If you regularly pull a boat or trailer and also need the cargo capabilities of a pickup truck, along with abundant passenger space and comfort, remember that a properly-equipped Avalanche can tow up to 8,000 pounds. With its versatile Midgate configuration, the 2008 Avalanche can be set up to carry long loads (including four-by-eight-foot plywood sheets) or, with rear seatbacks raised, to hold a full complement of passengers.

You May Not Like This Car If...

If gas mileage is a major concern, you might be better off with a different sort of vehicle, because the Avalanche is not frugal, even with the Active Fuel Management System. Piloting an Avalanche through crowded urban streets is no picnic because of the vehicle's bulk, though maneuverability is better than some might expect.

What's New for 2008

Chevrolet makes head curtain side-impact airbags standard on every Avalanche.

Driving It Driving Impressions

Compared to the first-generation Avalanche, the 2008 model has an impressive level of refinement. On good roads the suspension absorbs most imperfections, delivering an almost cushiony ride but not at the expense of control or security, and the Avalanche takes curves with a high level of stability. Acceleration is more rapid than it may feel, because power flow is so smooth. The automatic transmission shifts in an easy and positive manner, with a brief delay for acceleration to pass or merge. Steering is on the light side, but not effortless, and the vehicle has an impressively tight turning circle.

Favorite Features

Active Fuel Management System
Chevrolet is by no means alone in offering cylinder deactivation, but it's a welcome addition to these heavyweight vehicles, which are known for consuming substantial quantities of gasoline.

Midgate Configuration
True pickup-truck fans might shun the Avalanche's relatively short cargo bed and SUV foundation, but the Midgate gives it a degree of versatility that's absent from traditional pickups.

Vehicle Details Interior

With its Midgate closed, the 2008 Chevrolet Avalanche can seat up to six passengers. Folding down the rear seat yields the greatest cargo-hauling capacity. Compared to the first-generation Avalanche, the 2008 model gains passenger space via a lower instrument panel and deeper windshield. Front-row seats have gained an inch of rearward travel. On LT and LTZ trims, a monster console separates front-seat occupants, who have a remarkably generous amount of space. The rear seat folds flat, rear-seat occupants enjoy more shoulder space and three fit easily, though the center position is a bit hard. Seatbacks are somewhat firm, but deliver above-average comfort. Gauges are easy to read at a glance.

Exterior

As with the original, the 2008 Chevrolet Avalanche's Midgate opens to extend cargo-bed length from 5.3 feet to 8.2 feet. With improved aerodynamics and a strengthened chassis, the monochromatic exterior features wraparound fascias that eliminate bumper-to-body gaps. Storage compartments alongside the cargo box include drains and provide lockable space and a three-piece rigid cargo cover with interlocking panels is available. A sleek windshield angle extends into a smoother roofline, the front air dam is low and wide and prominent fenders with integrated wheel flares complement the bulging power-dome hood. A wide front and rear track enhance stability.

Notable Standard Equipment

In base LS trim, the Avalanche includes remote keyless entry, heated power mirrors, a cloth-upholstered 40/20/40 split-bench front seat with power on both the driver's and passenger's sides, side steps, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, rear privacy glass, the StabiliTrak stability-enhancement system, head curtain side-impact airbags and 17-inch tires on five-spoke aluminum wheels. The midlevel LT version adds foglamps and front bucket seats with a center console. GM's Autoride suspension, with real-time damping for reduced body motion, is standard on the LTZ, as is a limited-slip differential and 20-inch wheels and tires. The LTZ and various levels of the LT group also include remote engine starting, rear obstacle detection, leather upholstery and power-adjustable pedals. All versions of the Avalanche include GM's OnStar emergency and communications system, while LT and LTZ trims receive Directions & Connections that includes Turn-by-Turn Navigation.

Notable Optional Equipment

The Z71 Off-Road Package includes 18-inch wheels, the Z71 suspension, tubular assist steps, locking rear differential and a skid-plate package. Available articulated running boards automatically move downward and outward as the doors are opened. Individual options, depending upon trim level, include Ultrasonic Rear Parking Assist, a rearview camera system, 6.0-liter V8, navigation system, DVD backseat entertainment system with an eight-inch screen and 20-inch wheels.

Under the Hood

The standard engine is a Vortec 5.3-liter V8, matched to a four-speed Hydra-Matic transmission. Four-wheel-drive models use a version which can operate on E85 or gasoline. A 366-horsepower, 6.0-liter V8 with variable valve timing is optional. Under certain conditions, Active Fuel Management Technology lets the engine run on four cylinders to save fuel.

5.3-liter V8
320 horsepower @ 5200 rpm
340 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4200 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 14/20 (2WD, gas)


5.3-liter V8 Flex-Fuel (aluminum block)
310 horsepower @ 5200 rpm
335 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4400 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 14/20 (2WD, gas), 11/15 (2WD, E85), 14/19 (4WD, gas), 11/14 (4WD, E85)

5.3-liter V8 Flex-Fuel (iron block)
320 horsepower @ 5200 rpm
340 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4200 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 14/20 (2WD, gas), 11/15 (2WD, E85), 14/19 (4WD, gas), 11/14 (4WD, E85)

6.0-liter V8
366 horsepower @ 5500 rpm
380 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4300 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 12/17

Pricing Notes

In LS trim with rear-wheel drive the Avalanche has a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) starting just over $33,500. A mid-level Avalanche LT stickers for about $34,500, while a fully-loaded LTZ with four-wheel drive tops out around $52,000. The Fair Purchase Price, which represents what consumers are actually paying, is likely to be significantly lower. Be sure to click on Fair Purchase Prices to check what the Avalanche is currently selling for in your area. In terms of resale value, we predict that over time the Avalanche will hold similar values as the 1500 Silverado Extended Cab, Honda Ridgeline and Ford F150 SuperCab, and outperform the Dodge Ram 1500 Quad Cab and Nissan Titan.

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