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2011 Chevrolet Avalanche

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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 392 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

Awesome all around vehicle.

By on Thursday, June 30, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 33,330

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
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Can do it all, very good value"

Cons: "Some blind spots"

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

"This vehicle is the best of all worlds. Can be used as a truck with plenty of room in the covered bed and a family vehicle. Very good towing capacity with towing package. gas mileage acceptable for an almost 6000# vehicle."

1 person out of 1 found this review helpful

Chevy - Bring this truck back in the Line-Up

By on Tuesday, January 5, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 60,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
9/10
Quality
8/10
Performance
7/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "Functionality, functionality, functionality......."

Cons: "Excessive wind noise with windows open"

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

"2nd Avalanche I have owned, 2005 then 2013 Black Diamond LTZ. Chevy has made a huge mistake by not carrying on this Truck. It is the most functional truck I have ever owned and the most useful that Chevy has ever produced. BRING IT BACK -- CHEVY!!! I for one would be purchasing another new one in about 2 yrs."

14 people out of 17 found this review helpful

very nice vehicle

By on Wednesday, November 18, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 50,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "comfortable"

Cons: "low oil pressure! GM 5.3 oil usage problems"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8

"second Avalnche I have owned. first one was a 2007 big improvement over the 07, better power and comfort all around."

12 people out of 18 found this review helpful

Love Love My Avalanche

By on Thursday, October 29, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 84,056

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: "everything - too many to count"

Cons: "none"

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

"2013 LTZ - this is my 5th Avalanche. They were all traded because of high mileage. I never had any problems with any of them. I'm keeping this one forever. The inside has plenty of room and comfortable. If I need the bed or extension, it takes about 2 minutes to fold down the seats and open it up. I've hauled everything you can imagine - at the drop of a hat. Chevy must have lost their mind to discontinue. It rides like a dream and the gas mileage is acceptable for the size. I've gotten as much as 24 mpg on the highway. Normal 1/2 and 1/2 is 19.0 to 20.5. It meets all my needs. Great vehicle."

12 people out of 14 found this review helpful

Favorite vehicle ever owned. Great all a round P/U

By on Monday, October 26, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 82,000

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

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

"Favorite vehicle ever owned. Great all a round P/U and family vehicle. I'm retired now and the kids are gone. Too much vehicle for my needs. Has been babied and well maintained. I love it; would love to keep it."

6 people out of 8 found this review helpful

Best all around vehicle ever!

By on Wednesday, October 7, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 20,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "love all the many features of this vehicle"

Cons: "there are no cons"

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

"I traded my new 2010 Camaro for this new 2010 Avalanche. I feel I have the best of both worlds. A wonderful handling car and a great truck. I don't take it out much but when I do, I enjoy every ride. I love my silver Avalanche."

15 people out of 18 found this review helpful

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