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2012 Chevrolet Avalanche

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2012 Chevrolet Avalanche Review

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KBB Expert Rating: 7.0

The 2012 Chevrolet Avalanche truck is part pickup, part SUV and entirely practical. Its big, roomy cabin is virtually identical to the Chevy Tahoe and Suburban-at least from the second-row seat forward. What makes the 2012 Chevy Avalanche so much more versatile than a crew-cab pickup is the standard folding midgate bulkhead behind the rear seat. Essentially a cutout covered by a metal panel, with the midgate folded down the Avalanche's bed is extended into the cab. Built on the same platform as the Suburban, the 2012 Avalanche full-size truck is endowed with the same strong chassis, ground clearance and AWD ability as its SUV cousin. The only difference is there is no 2500 model, and the standard engine is Chevy's small-block 5.3-liter V8 featuring Active Fuel Management and E85 capability.

You'll Like This Car If...

If you need the 6-passenger capacity of an SUV, but the stuff you regularly haul behind the seats is frequently dirty or dripping something you'd rather not clean up, the 2012 Chevy Avalanche truck is the vehicle for you. Tow rated up to 8,100 pounds – 7,900 with 4-wheel drive (4WD) – the Avalanche is the perfect companion to all of your big toys.

You May Not Like This Car If...

If you don't need the midgate feature, you can get the same type of utility from a full-size crew-cab pickup and probably save some cash in the process. The 2012 Chevrolet Avalanche truck is not easy on fuel, nor is it a joy to maneuver into small parking spaces or narrow garages. If you like the pickup-bed/SUV-cab idea, but don't need the towing ability or size afforded by the Avalanche, the Honda Ridgeline might make a good second choice.

What's New for 2012

There are no major changes for the 2012 Chevrolet Avalanche truck.

Driving the Avalanche

Driving Impressions Despite its size and obvious pickup-truck chassis, the 2012 Chevrolet Avalanche delivers an impressive level of refinement in areas of both ride and handling. Over smooth roads, the suspension...

seems to float along, almost like an old Caddy or Lincoln. When the road starts to turn, however, you'll need to pay attention as the bulky Avalanche isn't exactly light and nimble on its feet. The standard StabiliTrak stability control is a welcome addition and is quite effective at helping rectify an Avalanche skidding out of control. The 5.3-liter V8 is plenty strong, but because the power is delivered through the 6-speed transmission with such smoothness, acceleration can sometimes feel slower than it actually is. The 2012 Chevy Avalanche's 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 2012 Chevrolet Avalanche's relatively short cargo bed and SUV foundation, but the midgate gives it a degree of versatility that's absent from traditional pickups.

2012 Chevrolet Avalanche Details
Interior

The 2012 Chevrolet Avalanche truck can seat up to six passengers, but we think five is a more comfortable number. The thickly padded seats offer outstanding comfort and are positioned high up to give everyone onboard a good view looking out. A massive center console with covered storage compartments separates the front bucket-style seats and is large enough to fit a tablet or large purse. The rear seats have good head and legroom for tall passengers, and the folding rear seatback exposes the midgate panel pass-through. For even more room, the rear glass can also be removed.

Exterior

The centerpiece of the Chevy Avalanche's design is its folding midgate bulkhead separating the cabin from truck's bed. With the midgate open, the 2012 Chevy Avalanche's bed grows from 5.3 feet to 8.2, nearly doubling the length of items the Avalanche can haul. The bed itself features a protective liner and storage boxes along the bed walls complete with drainage plugs to let melting ice or wet clothes safely evacuate water. The Avalanche also has lockable exterior storage areas as well as an available 3-piece interlocking cargo cover. Visually, the Avalanche is a handsome hybrid of the Suburban SUV, with a monochromatic exterior treatment and color-keyed flying-buttress bed components (LTZ trim only) that give the 2012 Chevy Avalanche truck the unique exterior it needs to separate it from the average-looking pickup truck crowd.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

In base LS trim, the 2012 Chevy Avalanche truck 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 5-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 2012 Chevrolet Avalanche include GM's OnStar.

Optional Equipment

The Off-Road Package includes 18-inch wheels, the off-road 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 back-seat entertainment system with an 8-inch screen, power sunroof, XM Satellite Radio with real-time traffic assist for navigation-equipped models and 20-inch wheels.

Under the Hood

The 2012 Chevy Avalanche offers only one engine and transmission choice: a Vortec 5.3-liter V8, matched to a 6-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. The 2-wheel drive (2WD) trucks use an iron-block engine while the 4WD trucks have an aluminum block.

5.3-liter V8 Flex Fuel (iron block)
320 horsepower @ 5,400 rpm
335 lb-ft of torque @ 4,000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 15/21 (2WD, gasoline), 11/16 (2WD, E85)


5.3-liter V8 Flex-Fuel (aluminum block)
320 horsepower @ 5,400 rpm
335 lb-ft of torque @ 4,000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 15/21 (4WD, gasoline), 11/16 (4WD, E85)

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2012 Chevrolet Avalanche Consumer Reviews

Overall Rating
9.3
Out of 10

Based on 380 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

I love my Avalanche

By on Tuesday, June 23, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 81,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Best all around vehicle"

Cons: "Gas mileage, original price"

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

"After owning a 2009 Avalanche, I can't say enough about how convenient and useful this vehicle has been. Comfort is tops the only negatives are gas mileage is on the average about 16 mpg, truck is expensive to buy new, and the fan button graphic has already worn off, but can be easily fixed. I would recommend the truck to anyone who can afford it. Chevy discontinued the truck in 2014 which I don't understand, but because of that, my truck has gone up in value by $4K. Dealers are contacting me to see If I would be willing sell the Avalanche or trade in for something else. Not me, I keeping this one."

3 people out of 5 found this review helpful

Haven't had it long.

By on Wednesday, June 17, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 115,000

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
8/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "Cool to drive, handles well"

Cons: "With all the (bells & whistles), more to go wrong!"

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

"Some of the (bells & whistles) weren't working but the used car dealer has been good enough to get them fixed. As with any vehicle over 8 yrs. old & 115K miles, it's not perfect but seems that it was well taken care of over all. Would like to know what it sold for new?"

5 people out of 12 found this review helpful

This is one great truck

By on Tuesday, May 19, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 12,000

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: "great truck"

Cons: "none"

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

"I have owned Chevrolet vehicles for 60 years and the quality of the Avalanche is very good Hard to believe you are driving a truck. A perfect all around truck good 4 wheel drive capabilities good towing and great ride. Very comfortable on long trips. Economy is great our daily average is 18mpg, and we got 22.7 on our trip from Reno to San Antonio When the engine drops to 4 cylinders the mileage gets up to 30mpg at 70"

9 people out of 15 found this review helpful

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."

14 people out of 16 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."

15 people out of 24 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."

8 people out of 10 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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