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The Chevrolet Avalanche is one of the more versatile vehicles on the road today. It successfully blends the comfort and passenger capacity of an SUV with the cargo flexibility of a pickup truck. While these two main attributes are also associated with full-size crew cab pickups, the Avalanche goes one step further with its distinctive fold-down midgate.

The term "midgate" refers to the removable wall that separates the cabin from the bed. On the Avalanche, the rear window and the wall separating the cabin from the bed can be opened up, either in part (by flipping down the midgate wall so a pass-through is created) or in whole (by also removing the rear window). Changing this rig from a six-passenger crew cab pickup with a 5-foot, 3-inch cargo box to a three-passenger pickup with an approximate 8-foot cargo box is straightforward and requires only a minute or two. Bonus features include removable cargo covers and storage compartments placed along the outside of the cargo box.

For both of its generations, the Chevrolet Avalanche has been based on General Motors' full-size SUV platform. This means that its basic underpinnings and powertrains are similar to those of other GM full-size utes, and Cadillac builds a similar version called the Escalade EXT. Though it costs a bit more than the average crew-cab pickup, the versatile Avalanche has proven to be a reasonable sales success. For the shopper in need of a jack-of-all-trades vehicle, either generation of this unusual truck should make for a smart choice.

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