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  1. #1

    Default 2002 Chevrolet Avalanche Road Test

    Avalanche is one of the totally new vehicles on the road for 2002. It is a Chevrolet "configurable" that is based on the Suburban. You can get a leather-and-wood version called the Cadillac Escalade, but the Chevy Avalanche is the exact same vehicle for many thousands less.
    What makes a vehicle configurable? In the case of the Avalanche, you have what is essentially a pickup. But you also have full five-passenger capability with four full doors. That's the Suburban part forward of the C-pillar.
    If you don't need room the three extra passengers, though, you can convert the Avalanche to a pickup with a longer bed (8 feet), you can pop out the rear window and stow it so that you have an almost-convertable, or you can use it the way it comes from the store, with a covered rear deck.
    Let's start at the back. The bed of the Avalanche is a short bed in normal mode. It has a cover made of a new composite material that is quite strong. We saw 200-pound engineers jumping on the bed cover to demonstrate its toughness, and I tested it myself when I had the Truck. I weight more than 200 pounds and while the cover dented a bit (not permanently) it didn't break.
    This cover is lockable, along with the tailgate, and is waterproof. True, if you trained a high-pressure hose on the seams, some water might get through, but in normal situations, it's waterproof.
    The area between the inner truck bed and the outer shell is often wasted space. On the Avalanche, this is turned into lockable cargo area, with 3.5 cubic feet on each side. It's also waterproof, so that area can be used as a small ice box to carry beverages for the tailgate party.
    Let's say, for instance, that your cargo is longer than what you have room for with the standard Avalanche bed. All you do is fold the rear seat forward, remove the rear window, and fold down the midgate, which is the forward edge of the box. This creates a carrying area that extends the 5'-3" standard bed to 8'-1". It's more than four feet wide, too, so you can carry the industry standard 4 x 8 sheet of plywood if you want with the tailgate closed.
    Since the Avalanche is based on the Suburban platform, which has been around forever, you know it's not totally new, although it is a new use for the platform. The interior and driving attitude is the same as with a Suburban. You have a long, wide vehicle, but it's easy to become accustomed to driving such a vehicle. One advantage to Avalanche over Suburban is that it's easier to see the back of the vehicle when you're parking.
    Under the hood of our tester was a 5.3-liter Vortec V8 that was rated at 285 horsepower. Even though the Avalanche weighed 5600 pounds in 4WD configuration, this was enough power for normal use. Realize that the Avalanche is not a sports car, it's a truck, and it's a truck that will probably not be overloaded with buckets of dirt and gravel like the ones in television commercials. So 285 horses under the hood are enough.
    The engine was connected to an electronic four-speed automatic transmission with overdrive. Fuel economy with this mix is 13 mpg city/17 mpg highway. Our experience with similar vehicles indicates that you'll be happy if your mileage is in this range.
    Our tester came with a base price of $33,245 and a bottom line of $37,556. Among the options were 6-way power bucket seats with sport leather/cloth trim ($1,115), electric sunroof with Homelink ($1,095), the off-road package ($835) that included off-road tires, specially tuned shock absorbers and springs, a locking rear differential, skid shields, 17-inch aluminum wheels and a high capacity air filter. A convenience package ($546) included a driver's side self-dimming mirror and OnStar, as well as an electronic climate control.
    Avalanche isn't an inexpensive vehicle for what it is. But it is versatile, while not being a cookie-cutter SUV. We used Avalanche to take some friends to dinner and they were comfortable in the back seat. And you can't say that about too many trucks these days.


    2007 Ford E250(Work van) (Ya, Ya, shut up!)
    1996 GMC Sierra SLE 1500 5.7L/4L60E

  2. #2


    Good review! A bit late, but not unappreciated!

    ---------- Post added at 01:08 PM ---------- Previous post was at 01:00 PM ----------

    hey everyone, remember to go stop by to see Jamie's new website creation!

    10 Chevy Traverse LT AWD
    02 Chevy Trailblazer LS (110K+ miles - loaded except for 4WD - WRECKED!)
    99 Chevy Cavalier LS (105K+ miles - commuter car)
    78 Chevy Suburban Silverado (454, 3/4 ton)
    62 GMC 3/4 ton Pickup (350 police interceptor)

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  3. #3

    Enkeiavalanche's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Piermont,NY, back in Northern NJ now, But may be in IL soon....


    Had an 02 wish I still did But happy with my 08.....
    08 Z71 Avalanche Mods to date: K&N CAI,Hellwig Swaybars and End Links, Corsa Sport Exhaust, Superchips Programer,IPCW LOF & 3rd brake light and tails, AMI Gas door,Show Hooks and Door locks, Enkei Wheels, with Pirelli tires, StreetScene Bowties, Grant Steering wheel,Muth signal mirrors,SSBC Big Brake kit,Huskyliner Mug gards,Floor mats and Hood shield, McGard Lug nuts and locks, Bedrug, Cervini's Ram Air hood,35watt HID Fog lights, Sylvania bulbs all around ZXE's Highs and Lows, WhiteNight Back up lights,Sirius and HD Radio, SnugTop sitting on deck now Got a Softopper on now,Tempress Boat Hatches.... New Bilstein shocks are on... New Mods coming soon..... X

  4. #4


    I love my 03, but I really really like the sunset orange from the 2002 with the lighter cladding... reading this post just reminded me of that. Thats a great color combination.

    2008 FORD F350. My new all-around truck.
    2001 Silverado Reg. Cab Not-So-Base -- SOLD
    2003 Avalanche Z71. No Cladding. Check out my Mod thread. - Crashed. Will be rebuilt soon.
    1974 Triumph Spitfire 1500 - Work in Progress
    2003 Sierra 3500 Duramax. The Newer, Better Work Truck -- FOR SALE

  5. #5
    Master Mechanic silverhobey's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Cobourg, Ontario, Canada
    Blog Entries


    hey Jamie .great write up....almost bought an Avalanche.......happy with our Crew anyhow...
    Brian from Cobourg.
    Silverado Crew.....4.8 L

    ---Pendaliner BoxLiner and Side Rails....Van and Truck World
    ---Reese Adjustable Step Down Trailer Hitch....Van and Truck World
    ---PUTCO chrome eyebrow Mirror Covers.... Van and Truck World
    ---PUTCO chrome Bowtie 3rd Brake Light Cover....Van and Truck World
    ---DeeZee TailGate Assist ....Van and Truck World ( now Action Car and Truck Accessories )

    ---Westin Series side steps....Apple Auto Glass
    ---TRIFOLD rear soft Tonneau....Apple Auto Glass

    ---Chevrolet Bowtie Mudflaps...GM Dealer
    ---GM Rear Wheel Well liners...GM Dealer
    ---GM Front Black Tow Hooks w Hloks
    ---GM Chrome Tailgate Handle/matching key-lock....GM Dealer
    ---GM Driver Information Center Upgrade...GM Dealer
    ---GM Front Tinted Bug Deflector...GM Dealer
    ---GM Chrome Door Handles....GM Dealer

    ---Better Built rear hitch step .... Lowe's !!!
    ---AVS Window VentVisors...Canadian Tire
    ---AVS tinted License plate covers....Wal-Mart

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