I gave up my 2001 Toyota Tacoma d-cab for a used Z-71 with 50,000 miles over 3 years ago. For a family of 5, the usability of the back seats is second to none. Where the Toyota 3.4L V6 screamed to tow my boat, the Avalanche handles it like nothing. The flexibility of the mid-gate is terrific. The bed tonneau panels are easy to remove and have remained water tight. The truck has a smooth ride on the road but can still perform off-road. Now I have 87,000 miles and only problem has been the rear power door locks have frozen up and need to be opened manually.
Overall comfort, mid-gate w/ window storage, locking tonneau panels, locking storage along bed with grab handles
Gas mileage of 12.5 - 13 in the city, 17-18 on the highway.
This is absolutely an awsome vehicle, when it works. Bought it used with 75,000kms, had a few problems with it not starting in -15C the first winter but overall it ran good. Last year we started having issues, we bought it for $26,000 and we've put $18,000 back into it in maintenance ($8,000 in the last 6 months) . We can't get it running long enough to sell it. Had the entire front end torn apart a few times but no one can find the problem.
The versatility is amazing. We got it so that I could get to work and back and it made it down all the unpaved roads with no problems!
A 60/40 split in the back would be nice so you could have a ladder and a carseat in the back.
This vehicle was/is a Godsend. We purchased it as a promotion present for me when I became a police lieutenant. Little did we know that we would end up living in it when I became disabled in 2004. We have towed a 28 ft travel trailer from New Mexico to Florida then to Oregon then back to Florida and finally settled down in Oregon. It currently has 128322 miles, most of those occurred by 2006,(2 years). It has not spent one day in the shop due to a breakdown or malfunction. A few things had to be addressed during maintenance (like minor recalls) but so far we have been and are thrilled with it.
Roomy cab, comfortable seating up front, able to lay down in the back, Bose speaker system. User friendly exterior features, i.e.-handles and step when climbing into the bed of the truck and locking storage compartments.
I have found that in certain situations, I would like to have had a 60/40 center drop gate, in order to carry long items and still have rear seating also a little more room in which to recline. Our rear stereo feature broke down the first year, so a more durable system there would have been nice.
Purchased new and have never regretted it! We wanted the bench seat and the only way to get it was to buy a stripped version - ours has no options at all, but it's got everything we really need, and then some. Power locks & windows, A/C, cruise, CD. The bed & midgate get used regularly for everything from furniture to lumber to yard projects. We have had "0" mechanical problems. Now that gas is so high, better mileage would be great, but still there is no better all around family vehicle.
Holds 4X8 plywood no problem, can fold the seat to the bed with the bed cover installed to carry stuff in bad weather. Lots of interior room, reliability!
Mileage. We like the cladding, but it has faded in an uneven way over time.