Two V8 powerplants are offered for the Avalanche, a 5.3-liter Vortec 5300 for the 1500 Series truck and an 8.1-liter Vortec 8100 for the 2500 edition. We drove the 285-hp 5300 that provided surprisingly good power and acceleration for a truck of this size. Its 325 ft-lbs of torque was quickly available across a wide band of the four speed automatic transmission's rpm.
The Avalanche's amazing flexibility and ride was matched only by its thirst for fuel. We averaged just over 14mpg driving it some 600 miles. Its very large 31 gallon helped to offset of the perception of high fuel consumption but the price on the gas pump quickly brought us back to reality.
The interior of the Avalanche offered some nice touches. Its leather and cloth seats featured a cool diamond plate pattern in the cloth with inlaid Chevy bow ties. The rest of the Avalanche's interior was also well-executed, typical GM full-size truck with its smooth dash surfaces, easy to read gauges and intuitive controls.
Overall, the Avalanche's unique looks quickly announce its arrival to the full size truck market as something buyers should take notice of, and it consistently backs up its first impressions with the unparalleled functionality and performance you won't find anywhere else.