<!--:es-->Avalanche with a Z!
… 2007 Chevrolet Avalanche<!--:-->

Avalanche with a Z! … 2007 Chevrolet Avalanche

by Casey Williams


The redesigned 2007 Chevrolet Avalanche is nearly the perfect blend of SUV and pickup truck. Built on a full-frame chassis, it has the toughness to tow heavy loads and tackle rough terrain. However, since it shares a platform with the Tahoe/Suburban that includes an integrated cargo area, it drives with much less vibration than a separate cab and box pickup like the Silverado. You won’t carry the ultra-heavy payloads of which a Silverado is capable, but few truck owners do that anyway. What GM calls “the industry’s most flexible utility vehicle” has been sported out and toughened up for the 2007 calendar year with the addition of Chevrolet’s famed Z71 Off Road package.

Visually, Z71 enhancements include 18” wheels with on-/off-road tires, oversized wheel flares, rocker moldings, and mesh grille inserts. Satin silver finishes on exterior doorhandles, step bars, and mirror caps give the upscale look of steel. Brushed metal-look instrument panel, center stack, and steering wheel continue the tough theme inside. Heated ebony-colored leather seats with light titanium (gray) inserts dressed up our test truck, as did Z71-specific gauges with cool checkered faces. As Chevy truck experts know, Z71 stands for more than a facelift. When equipped with four-wheel drive, the Avalanche comes with an automatic locking rear differential, high-pressure shocks, and an undercarriage skid plate package. Where many Avalanches are designed to be city slicker show trucks, Z71 models can get down and dirty with the toughest off-roaders. The stiffer shocks are noticeable on the highway and over rough pavement, but they are far from unlivable. In all, Chevy cooked up a perfect balance between streetability and trailability.

These features only complement all that people have come to love about the Avalanche. 4×4 models come standard with an aluminum-block 5.3-litre V8 that pumps out 310 horsepower and 335 lb.-ft. of torque. A 366-horsepower 6.0-litre aluminum V8 is optional and includes active fuel management (shuts down four cylinders during cruising) to conserve fuel. The 5.3-litre engine is E85 (ethanol) compatible. Both engines are paired with four-speed automatic transmissions. Of course, Avalanche features like the fold-down mid-gate cabin design and loaded SUV interior with Bose audio, power-adjustable pedals, in-dash navigation, rain sense wipers, and reversing camera are available.

Chevrolet introduced a great concept with the first-generation Avalanche. It drives like an SUV, tows like a truck, and has flexible cargo configurations to accommodate virtually any need. Add in the tough Z71 package and it is enough to make any boy cry. Price as tested came to $46,385.