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2011 Chevrolet Avalanche

Overview
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2011 Chevrolet Avalanche Review

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When it was first introduced, the Avalanche was unique, combining a full-size SUV body with a pickup truck's cargo bed. Nine years later, the 2011 model continues with the same proportions, but with much better packaging. The Chevrolet Avalanche is built on GM's full-size SUV platform, which is also used for the Chevrolet Suburban and GMC Yukon XL, and it offers gasoline as well as Flex-Fuel (E85) capability. A refined small-block 5.3-liter V8 engine is standard and includes Active Fuel Management cylinder deactivation for optimal fuel economy. Three trim levels are offered: LS, LT, and LTZ 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 8,100 pounds (7,900 with 4WD.) With its versatile Midgate configuration, the 2011 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 2011

Changes for 2011 are marked by some new paint colors, the addition of body-colored side mirrors on the LS trim and a new two-speed transfer case on the LTZ 4WD, replacing last year's single speed unit.

Driving the Avalanche

Driving Impressions Compared to the original Avalanche (and even some of its modern competitors), the 2011 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.

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.

2011 Chevrolet Avalanche Details
Interior

With its Midgate closed, the 2011 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 2011 model provides better passenger space via a lower instrument panel and deeper windshield. 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 generous shoulder space and three fit easily, though the center position is a bit snug. Seatbacks are somewhat firm, but deliver above-average comfort. Gauges are easy to read at a glance.

Exterior
2011 Chevrolet Avalanche photo

As with the original, the 2011 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 smooth 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 Equipment
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. 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.

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, navigation system, DVD backseat entertainment system with an eight-inch screen, XM Satellite Radio with real time traffic assist for navigation equipped models and 20-inch wheels.

Under the Hood

The standard engine is a Vortec 5.3-liter V8, matched to a six-speed 6L80 Hydra-Matic transmission. The engine can operate on E85 or gasoline, although fuel economy is greatly reduced when using E85 while horsepower is increased slightly. Under certain conditions, Active Fuel Management Technology lets the engine run on four cylinders to save fuel.

5.3-liter V8 Flex Fuel (iron block)
320 horsepower @ 5400 rpm
335 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 15/21 (2WD, gas), 11/16 (2WD, E85)

5.3-liter V8 Flex-Fuel (aluminum block)
320 horsepower @ 5400 rpm
335 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 15/21 (2WD, gas), 11/16 (2WD, E85), 15/21 (4WD, gas), 11/16 (4WD, E85)

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2011 Chevrolet Avalanche Consumer Reviews

Overall Rating
9.3
Out of 10

Based on 375 Ratings for the 2007 - 2013 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    9.2/10
    Quality
    9.3/10
  • Reliability
    9.4/10
    Performance
    9.4/10
  • Comfort
    9.6/10
    Styling
    9.6/10

We own 2 Avalanches. Great vehicles

By on Sunday, April 19, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 15,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Best road trip vehicle ever made"

Cons: "They stopped production in 2013"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"If you've ever taken a road trip in an avalanche you know it's the greatest truck ever built. Lay down the seats and the back opens up into a full bed. We hook up the game system and play games sprawled out across the back. When I take the truck camping I just climb into the back, lay a bed down and sleep. No need for a tent when you have this vehicle. We started with a 2003 Avalanche, and we still own it. It has 200k+ miles on it and never had any major mechanical issues. We just picked up the newer 2013 model last week. Keeping both trucks. I've never in my life run into another Avalanche owner that didn't absolutely love it. My grandfather drove our first Avalanche and has now purchased a new Cadillac EXT every year since 2005. Now we're both on the 2013 models and wishing GM never stopped production."

1 person out of 1 found this review helpful

Gorgeous truck

By on Thursday, January 22, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 129,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "stylish, charismatic, smooth driving"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"This truck has the most charisma of any car or truck I have owned (I have had about 15 cars or trucks). Its a beautiful vehicle to look at and drive. It is in a class of its own."

12 people out of 20 found this review helpful

A great SUV and Truck in one!

By on Thursday, January 22, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 72,000

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
8/10
Value
8/10
Reliability
9/10
Quality
8/10
Performance
6/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Comfort, versatility, great options available"

Cons: "Underpowered. See changing a head light bulb above"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9

"After owning a 2009 Tahoe, I decided that I needed a little more versatility and space, so I traded it in on my Avalanche. Moving from the Tahoe to the Avalanche was an easy transition as the interiors are identical and with the same powertrain, it pretty much drives the same as my Tahoe did. The Avalanche handles the snow in upstate NY pretty well. I live at the top of one of the tallest hills in the area with a couple of steep inclines on the way up and it tackles them pretty well. It is a very large vehicle. Comfortable on the long hauls with gas mileage to be expected for a 6000 lb truck. I get about 20 mpg highway and 13-14 mpg around town. The one downside I find is that the truck seems under powered. The transmission is quick to find a higher gear to save gas, which adds to this. I would say this motor could stand about another 50 hp and 50 lb/ft of torque.After owning this for one year, I'm happy to report that I still love this truck. Not to say I haven't had a couple of issues. A month after I bought the truck, the truck went into a safe mode and left me limping on the side of the highway an hour from home. I had it towed to the dealership and it ended up being a sensor. I blew a wheel bearing and have had a couple of issues with the moon roof. All covered under the Certified Pre-Owned warranty. I did have to replace a bulb in one of the headlights-which turned out to be quite the process. There is no room to fit your hands behind the headlight assembly to change the bulb. The ONLY way to change a light bulb is to follow these steps: 1)remove the liner in the wheel wells 2)crawl under the vehicle to remove two bolts 3)remove six bolts above grill 4)remove the WHOLE BUMPER ASSEMBLY. 5)remove three bolts to release light assembly (one of which was hidden under the bumper) to replace bulb. Yes you have to take off the huge one piece grill/bumper to change a frickin light bulb. I don't know what engineering genius came up with this and thought it to be acceptable. He should be shot on site! Something that should be an easy fix takes over an hour. Ridiculous! The mid-gate function is awesome. Opening the back end up into the cab to haul larger items is a breeze. BUT you need two people to do it. During the summer months, I've taken the back window out and stored it behind the rear seats for some great open air driving. Overall, this truck is great and I would recommend it to anyone who asks me about it."

7 people out of 8 found this review helpful

I love the Avalanche over any pickup truck!

By on Wednesday, January 14, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 154,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "It's safe & 4-wheel drive goes anywhere."

Cons: "None."

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"This is my third Avalanche. It has all the extras practically, that can be put in one & on one. Always bought used--the 2002, 2005 & my 2008. It's still in excellent condition, but I would like to get the newer Red 2013. Please Chevrolet, put the Avalanche back into production! Very dependable & best value in a truck that rides like a luxury car. Some friends of mine want mine, but I need to find the 2013 with my name on it, before I let this one go. They bought their 2005 Avalanche, new. I tell anyone who listens how much I love my Avalanche. Every owner of one has always said they love theirs, too."

10 people out of 13 found this review helpful

Worst purchase I ever made!!!

By on Tuesday, January 13, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 112,000

10 5.0
overall rating 5 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
5/10
Value
6/10
Reliability
5/10
Quality
6/10
Performance
8/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
5/10

Pros: "None"

Cons: "A hole lot"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 3

"After just 2 years the truck started to burn oil. When I took it to the dealer they told me there was nothing wrong, 2 days later the engine was blown. I had to fight wuth the dealer to get a new engine. If that wasen't enough, 2years later the transmission had to be replaced."

3 people out of 7 found this review helpful

Love this truck!!

By on Thursday, December 18, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 45,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
9/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Perfect Truck UV"

Cons: "Milage is the only con..."

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9

"If I could afford the gas I would drive this truck exclusively. Like riding in a 4WD Cadillac. Very smooth, quiet, and comfortable with that extra level of safety and security that being in a full size vehicle gives you."

12 people out of 26 found this review helpful

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Trading in or Selling? Know where you stand with the most up-to-date Kelley Blue Book Value at your fingertips. See your car's value

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