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First generation
Avalanche was launched in 2001 as a 2002 model on the GMT800 platform. First year Avalanches featured light gray plastic body cladding. This provided needed visual distinction from the Suburban/Yukon XL. Avalanche also gave the public an advance look at the next generation of front fascia designs for the entire GM line of trucks. A full-length chrome strip splits each lamp assembly and the grille, with a gold Chevrolet "bow tie" in the center. The hood and fenders featured aggressive folds, in contrast to the soft box of the other GMT800 models.
2003 models featured darker cladding, but GM's new president, Rick Wagoner, demanded deletion of this "unpopular" trim (as did certain elements of the public). From mid-year, Avalanche could be ordered without the cladding. The uncladded model, known as the Without Body Hardware (or better by its acronym "WBH"), and alternatively called "slicksides" by GM marketers, resembles the '03-'05 Silverado in the front.
Avalanche was nominated for the North American Truck of the Year award and was Motor Trend magazine's Truck of the Year for 2002[1].
There are two engine choices: A Vortec 5.3 L V8 producing 290 hp (216 kW), for the half-ton 1500 series; and an 8.1 L V8 with 325 hp (242 kW), for the three-quarter-ton 2500 series. The drivetrain is rear-wheel drive or available with selectable high/low four-wheel drive.
 

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2003 models featured darker cladding, but GM's new president, Rick Wagoner, demanded deletion of this "unpopular" trim (as did certain elements of the public). From mid-year, Avalanche could be ordered without the cladding. The uncladded model, known as the Without Body Hardware (or better by its acronym "WBH"), and alternatively called "slicksides" by GM marketers, resembles the '03-'05 Silverado in the front.
I still think deletion of the cladding was a mistake. I hardly think that parking lot dings are a regional thing, and doubt they are limited only to my area of the states.

That body cladding, not only performs a visual distinction, it also helps protect the vehicle. In addition to doing away with the cladding they did away with a nice functional feature. The corner bumper steps.
 
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