KBB Editors' Overview
By KBB.com Editors - Updated Date: 10/10/2012
The 2013 Chevrolet Avalanche truck is part pickup, part SUV and entirely practical. Its big, roomy cabin is virtually identical to the Chevy Tahoe and Suburban, from the second-row seat forward. Out back is a pint-size 63-inch cargo bed. A unique folding midgate bulkhead between that bed and the flip-down rear seat extends the cargo area into the cabin, providing many more options for hauling bigger loads. Built on the same platform as the Suburban, the 2013 Avalanche full-size truck is endowed with the same strong chassis, ground clearance and available 4-wheel drive (4WD) as its SUV cousin. Chevy has announced that 2013 is the Avalanche's last year.
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 2013 Chevy Avalanche truck is the vehicle for you. But don't wait: This is the Avalanche's final year of production.
You May Not Like This Car If...
If you don't need the midgate feature, you can get the same utility from a full-size crew-cab pickup and probably save some cash in the process. If you don't need the towing ability or size afforded by the Avalanche but still like the pickup-bed/SUV-cab idea, check out the Honda Ridgeline.
What's New for 2013
Going out in style: Commemorating the nameplate's final year of production, the 2013 Chevrolet Avalanche gets Black Diamond badges and special trim, new standard features are included on the LS and LT models and prices are trimmed across the line.
Despite its size and obvious pickup-truck roots, the 2013 Chevrolet Avalanche delivers an impressive level of refinement in 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 on its feet. The standard StabiliTrak stability control is a welcome addition. The 5.3-liter V8 is plenty strong, but because the power is delivered through the 6-speed Hydra-Matic transmission with such smoothness, acceleration can sometimes feel slower than it actually is. The 2013 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 not alone in offering cylinder deactivation, but it's a welcome addition to these heavyweight vehicles, which are known for consuming substantial quantities of gasoline. Four of the engine's cylinders are shut down under light-load conditions.
Pickup-truck fans might shun the 2013 Chevrolet Avalanche's short cargo bed (63 inches) and SUV foundation, but the midgate gives it a degree of versatility that's absent from traditional pickups. The only drawback is that dropping the midgate to extend the cargo area also opens the cabin to the elements.
The 2013 Chevrolet Avalanche truck can seat up to six passengers, but we think five is a more realistic number for serious travel. The thickly padded seats offer outstanding comfort and are positioned high up to give everyone a good view out. A massive center console with generous 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.
The centerpiece of the Chevy Avalanche's design is its folding midgate bulkhead separating the cabin from the cargo bed. With the midgate open and the second seat folded, the 2013 Chevy Avalanche's usable cargo length grows from 63 inches to 98. The bed itself features a protective liner and storage boxes along the bed walls. A 3-piece interlocking cargo cover is optional. All 2013 Avalanches get Black Diamond badging, recognizing the truck's final year of production. Visually, the Avalanche is a handsome hybrid of the Suburban SUV and Silverado pickup, with distinctive flying-buttress sail panels.
Notable Standard Equipment
In base LS trim, the 2013 Chevy 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, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, head-curtain side-impact airbags and 17-inch aluminum wheels. Rear park assist, power adjustable pedals and fog lights are added to the LS model this year, and a rearview camera is added to LS and LT models. The LTZ model has Autoride suspension (with automatic damping adjustment), a limited-slip differential, 20-inch wheels and leather seating.
Notable Optional Equipment
The Off-Road Package includes 18-inch wheels, the off-road suspension, tubular assist steps, locking rear differential and a skidplate package. Available articulated running boards automatically move downward and outward as the doors are opened. Individual options, depending upon trim level, include a navigation system, DVD back-seat entertainment system with an 8-inch screen, power sunroof, SiriusXM satellite radio with real-time traffic assist for navigation-equipped models and 18-, 20- or 22-inch wheel options.
Under the Hood
The 2013 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 gasoline or E85 (a mix of 85-percent gasoline and 15-percent ethanol), although fuel economy is greatly reduced when using E85 while horsepower is increased slightly. Under appropriate light-load 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 version of this engine while the 4WD trucks have an aluminum block to partially offset the added driveline weight.
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 mpg (2WD, gasoline), 11/16 mpg (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 mpg (4WD, gasoline), 11/16 mpg (4WD, E85)
In LS trim with rear-wheel drive the 2013 Chevrolet Avalanche Black Diamond (final series) truck has a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) starting just under $37,000, almost $1,000 less than last year. A mid-level Avalanche LT stickers for about $2,600 more while a fully loaded LTZ with 4WD starts around $49,000 and can easily be optioned up past the $55,000 mark. Be sure to check KBB.com for our Fair Purchase Price before you set off to start negotiations. In terms of resale value, we predict that over time the Avalanche will hold at least comparable values to the Chevy 1500 Silverado Extended Cab, Honda Ridgeline and Ford F-150 Super Cab, and outperform the Ram 1500 Quad Cab and Nissan Titan. With the model ceasing production after this year, it's possible resale values will hold up even better in the future than they have historically.