2007 Chevrolet Avalanche: First Drive – Painters paint, writers write, and accountants, well, they count and otherwise make life miserable for the rest of us. We all do things; we engage in pursuits based on skills unique to our own experiences and attributes, and it’s those things that make us different, enabling us to make a difference in our own little worlds and keep the bigger world spinning on its axis.
In a way, cars and car companies are the same. If you’re shopping for a sedan, chances are you look first at Honda or Toyota. It’s simple: over the years, they’ve proven themselves to be the best makers of the most durable cars. If you’re looking for a truck, you stop at the Ford dealer and check out the F-Series, so complete has that vehicle’s domination been of the full-size truck market. And if you’re in need of an SUV – a large SUV – that can haul boats and stow six or more people, why, you’d be foolish to leave Chevrolet or GMC off of the top of your list. General Motors SUVs have long had a justified reputation for being among the best at doing what a big utility vehicle does: haul stuff, haul people, and do it in comfort. Sadly for General Motors, the emergence of a long term fuel crisis has made this talent in big vehicles kind of like being a slick accordion player. Sure, you’ll always get plenty of gigs at the local bowling alley, but you’ll never play the big house, like back in the good old days.
So call the redesigned 2007 Chevrolet Avalanche the best darn squeeze box on the road. It is, now, and that’s a significant improvement over the vehicle that debuted in 2001 as a 2002 model, adorned with plastic armor and fated to spend its days as a niche vehicle. As a relatively low-volume spin-off of the Suburban, the Avalanche barely had to work up a sweat to accomplish even that modest goal.
Then everything changed.
The competition caught up to GM, and then fuel prices began to accelerate. By the time the 2006 model year dawned, even the removal of the gray plastic cladding was scarcely enough to get the Avalanche back on buyer radar screens. The Avalanche was a luxury GM could no longer afford, and it quickly became a sad symbol of excess in the face of conservation, of over-compensated male ego with too much money to spend and little sense about how to spend it.
Boy – it sure does make sense now. Based on a completely redesigned truck platform, the all-new Chevrolet Avalanche is better from top to bottom, with more room inside and better materials, a vastly improved driving experience and a contemporary design. As always, it’s a spin-off of the Suburban, and as always it’s a symbol of excess in the face of conservation. But for those looking to tow large objects with up to six passengers and who also need the convenience of a pickup truck, the Avalanche is no longer a meaningless luxury but a significant player in what’s left of the large vehicle marketplace.