2002 Avalanche 1500 New Car Test Drive
Chevrolet's Avalanche is the most innovative truck sold today. Chevrolet has figured out a way to stuff an eight-foot pickup bed and seating for five people into one truck. It combines the comfort of a five-passenger Suburban with the hauling capability of a Chevy Silverado long-bed pickup.
It does this with an ingenious device called a midgate that allows the owner to convert the truck from a cargo hauler to a people hauler within a couple of minutes. With the midgate secured, the Avalanche can carry five people in comfort along with a load of cargo in its 5-foot 3-inch bed. Grab a load of dirt or gravel without any worries of messing up either the luxurious interior or the bullet-proof bed. Lower the midgate and carry a stack of 4x8-foot sheets of plywood; and that's with the tailgate up. Your plywood will stay dry inside the covered bed. Or you can always park an ATV back there.
The Avalanche is an impressive concept vehicle that made it to reality. It solves an age-old practical problem. Easily overlooked, however, is the attention to detail seen everywhere: flush-mounted cargo lights that illuminate the bed, foldaway tie-down hooks, footholds and handholds for climbing up onto the cargo cover. The list goes on and on. The Avalanche is big, slightly longer than a Suburban, yet it feels tight and surprisingly nimble on the road.
Chevrolet Avalanche comes in two weight ranges: 1500 and 2500. 2WD and 4WD models are available. There's only one trim level available for 2002.
Retail prices: 1500 2WD ($30,465); 1500 4WD ($33,465); 2500 2WD ($32,365); 2500 4WD ($35,365).
Avalanche 1500 models are powered by a 5.3-liter Vortec V8 rated at 285 horsepower and 325 pounds-feet of torque. It comes with the 4L60-E four-speed automatic and is rated to tow 8100 pounds.
Avalanche 2500 Series models use the new Vortec 8100, an 8.1-liter V8 rated at 340 horsepower. It comes mated with a 4L85 heavy-duty automatic transmission with overdrive and tow haul mode. 2500 Series models ride on rear leaf springs in place of the 1500's five-link coil springs with automatic load leveling. 2500s are rated to tow up to 12,000 pounds.
A special North Face Edition is available as a 4WD 1500 model that features Chevy's Z71 suspension, green and black seats, special door trim, floor mats with North Face logos, a white instrument cluster, badges on the C-pillars. Sage Green, an exterior color, will be unique to the North Face Edition, with Sunset Orange, Onyx, Black, Pewter and Summit White available as well. Also included are two Summit Pod backpacks, as well as Water Duffalo storage bags, which will initially be exclusive to Avalanche.