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The bed features a lockable, removable Pro-Tec composite tailgate that is 15 percent longer, lockable side rail storage boxes and a lockable rigid bed cover consisting of three panels weighing 20 lbs. each, that may be removed individually -- the TPO shell, foam-filled panels are capable of supporting up to a 250 pound load. The bed also provides built in grab handles at each rear corner with steps integrated into the rear bumper for easy bed level access along with two tier loading, 8 tie-downs and cargo box illumination.

The Avalanche takes on the new look of Chevrolet with a new hood, grille and lighting system while retaining the unique styling aft of the "C" pillar. A TPO polymer cladding surrounds the entire vehicle and is incorporated in the construction of the distinctive sail panel attached to the rear of the cab, and the bed rail storage boxes as well as the lock and tailgate handle housing.

The latter may need some rethinking for improved security, as the lock cylinder is anchored in the polymer material. A single key works for all locks, including the ignition. The overall look of Avalanche is big, as in really big, bold and aggressive.

My test Chevrolet K1500 Series 4WD Avalanche in LT trim sported a Graystone metallic exterior, with a Titanium leather interior. The base price was set at $35,295 while a boatload of extras boosted the final total to $45,814.

SUMMARY:
The Chevrolet Avalanche LT 4WD is distinctive and impressive in both its appearance and in its performance. It provides a surprisingly comfortable ride on or off-road (in either the front or rear seats), loaded or unloaded, and tracks exceptionally well. Acceleration comes without hesitation and it brakes well to boot. The Active Fuel Management system and E85 Ethanol capability provides impressive fuel economy.

Handling characteristics exceed expectations, and after climbing up into, and behind the wheel, one soon forgets the Avalanche’s overall mass. The driving experience is really quite pleasant, though parallel parking requires a more focused concentration due to the bed height with the rigid cover panels in place.

The key elements and attributes of the Avalanche continue to be versatility and functionality. Individualists will appreciate the offerings for this highly desirable truck from GM's Service and Parts Operation (SPO) for adding a custom touch in personalizing their Avalanche -- available accessories include a host of useful equipment and features for lifestyle enhancement. The Avalanche is still a winner.

TEST VEHICLE SPECIFICATIONS:
2007 Chevrolet Avalanche LT 4WD

Base Price: $35,295
Price as Tested: $45,814

Engine Type and Size: 5.3-liter Vortec 5300 V8
Horsepower (bhp): 320 @ 5200 rpm
Torque (ft./ lbs.): 340 @ 4200 rpm

Transmission: Electronically controlled Hydra-Matic 4L60, 4-speed automatic with automatic overdrive and a torque converter clutch

Drive Train: Longitudinally mounted front engine / Rear-wheel drive/ Autotrac 4WD on demand four-wheel drive system

Suspension: Front - Independent with torsion bars. Rear - 5-Link, coil spring

Brakes: Power-assisted four-wheel vented discs with front aluminum dual piston calipers and four-wheel anti-lock braking system (ABS)

Tires: Bridgestone Dueler Alenza P275/55R20 steel belt radials mounted on five-spoke aluminum wheels

Wheelbase: 130.0 inches
Length Overall: 221.3 inches
Width: 79.1 inches
Curb Weight: 5,645 lbs

Fuel Capacity: 31.5 gallons
EPA Mileage Estimates: 15 mpg city / 20 mpg highway

Drag Coefficient: Not listed
0 - 60 mph: Not tested
Approach Angle 16.64 degrees
Departure Angle: 20.31degrees

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