2012 Chevy Avalanche Review
2012 Chevy Avalanche Review
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Edmunds' Expert Review
by the Edmunds Experts
- Versatile midgate-based body style
- more composed ride than regular pickups
- comfortable seating.
- Higher price and lower towing capacity than regular pickups
- large size and rear-quarter blind spots hinder maneuverability.
The Avalanche's standard stability-control system now includes trailer sway control and hill start assist for 2012. Heated seats are also now standard on the LT, while the LTZ gets a heated steering wheel.
Thanks to its practical midgate configuration, the 2012 Chevrolet Avalanche is an ideal crew-cab pickup for carrying a combination of passengers and cargo.
Calculate my fuel costs
Cost to DriveCost to drive estimates for the 2012 Chevrolet Avalanche LS 4dr Crew Cab SB (5.3L 8cyl 6A) and comparison vehicles are based on 15,000 miles per year (with a mix of 55% city and 45% highway driving) and energy estimates of $3.03 per gallon for regular unleaded in Virginia.
Monthly estimates based on costs in Virginia
$214/mo for Avalanche LS
Avg. Large Truck
The 2012 Chevrolet Avalanche is essentially a cross between two popular body styles: part four-door crew-cab pickup and part full-size SUV. To create it, Chevy designers and engineers grafted a 5-foot-3 pickup bed onto the underpinnings of the brand's venerable Suburban SUV, creating a unique truck that combines the best qualities of both.
The innovation that really makes these individual parts transcend their humble origins is the two-piece "midgate" behind the rear seats. Folding the rear seatbacks forward and opening the midgate transforms the Avalanche from a five-passenger SUV into a pickup with an 8-foot load floor that stretches from just behind the front seats back to the lockable tailgate. A three-piece hard tonneau cover turns the space into secure storage for low-profile items like surfboards and toolboxes, and can be removed to make room for large loads like dirt bikes or major appliances.
While these uncommon attributes make the Avalanche an intriguing alternative to old-school pickups and SUVs, this beast has its drawbacks. Topping the list are its plus-sized dimensions and limited visibility out the back. The fact that the Avalanche is more expensive, yet has a lower towing capacity than comparable crew-cab pickups is another issue buyers need to keep in mind.
The 2012 Avalanche certainly isn't for everybody. The 2012 Chevrolet Silverado, 2012 Ram 1500, 2012 Ford F-150 and 2012 Toyota Tundra all provide much of the passenger benefits of the Avalanche, but with a lower price and greater capability. Nonetheless, this SUV/pickup combination still offers a mix of attributes that certainly makes it appealing, especially for those who prioritize passenger comfort over utility.
Performance & mpg
The 2012 Chevrolet Avalanche is offered with a choice of either two-wheel drive or four-wheel drive. LS and LT 4WD models get a single-speed transfer case, while a two-speed transfer case with low-range gearing is standard on the LTZ and available as an option on other trim levels.
Under the hood, all three Avalanche models get a 5.3-liter V8 that generates 320 horsepower and 335 pound-feet of torque. A six-speed automatic transmission is standard. Properly equipped, the Avalanche can tow up to 8,100 pounds -- about 2,000 pounds less than a Silverado. EPA-estimated fuel economy is 15 mpg city/21 mpg highway and 17 mpg combined for both 2WD and 4WD models.
Standard safety features on the Chevrolet Avalanche include antilock disc brakes, stability control, front side-impact airbags and full-length side curtain airbags, plus GM's OnStar emergency communications system. For 2012, the standard stability control system now includes trailer sway control and hill start assist.
From behind the wheel, the first thing you notice about the 2012 Chevrolet Avalanche is that it accelerates smartly for such a large vehicle. Handling and steering feel are both better than you'd expect from a pickup, though the truck's super-size dimensions and equally large blind spots to the sides and rear make maneuvering in tight quarters a challenge. On the upside, the Avalanche drives a bit smoother and quieter than a traditional pickup design.
Getting into the 2012 Chevrolet Avalanche requires a bit of a climb, but once you're there you'll be rewarded with a good-looking interior trimmed with quality materials. As you'd expect from a vehicle with working-class roots, designers also paid careful attention to function with well-placed gauges and easy-to-use controls (though most buttons are a little too small). Poor visibility is an issue, however, so we'd strongly recommend the rearview camera that's standard on the LTZ and available as an option on other models.
The cabin also offers comfortable seating for up to six passengers with the 40/20/40-split front seat available on the LS. The standard front bucket seats are supportive and separated by a center console with a large covered storage box, air vents and audio controls for rear seat passengers.
While all these passenger-oriented comforts set it apart from full-size pickups, the Avalanche distinguishes itself from full-size SUVs in its cargo-hauling capacity. Folding the rear seats forward while leaving the rear window and hard tonneau cover in place creates a huge cargo area, which is secure thanks to the lockable cover and tailgate. Taking advantage of the Avalanche's full pickup-like carrying capacity does require removing and stowing both the rear window and bed cover, however.
2012 Chevrolet Avalanche models
The 2012 Chevrolet Avalanche is a full-size crew-cab pickup with a removable rear window and fold-down midgate. There are three trim levels available: the base LS, midrange LT and premium LTZ.
The LS features 17-inch alloy wheels, automatic headlights, a roof rack, a composite cargo bed, heated mirrors, rear privacy glass, side assist steps and a removable three-piece bed cover. Inside you'll find dual-zone manual air-conditioning, cruise control, six-way power front seats, 60/40-split rear seats, a leather-wrapped tilt-only steering wheel, Bluetooth, OnStar and a six-speaker sound system with a CD/MP3 player, satellite radio, an auxiliary audio jack, an iPod/USB audio interface and rear-seat audio controls. A 40/20/40 front bench seat is optional on the LS and increases seating capacity to six. The Convenience package adds rear parking sensors, a rearview camera, remote ignition and power-adjustable pedals.
The LT adds to the base LS equipment foglights, rear parking sensors, a locking rear differential, dual-zone automatic climate control, heated front seats, power-adjustable pedals, remote ignition and a seven-speaker Bose sound system. Eighteen-inch wheels are optional. The Luxury package adds power-folding mirrors, eight-way power front seats with power lumbar adjustment and driver memory, leather upholstery and an auto-dimming rearview mirror.
The top-of-the-line LTZ includes the Luxury package, but adds 20-inch alloy wheels, an adaptive suspension with automatic load leveling, a driver-side auto-dimming mirror, perforated leather upholstery, heated and ventilated front seats, a heated steering wheel, a navigation system, real-time traffic, a rearview camera and an eight-speaker Bose surround-sound audio system. Power-retractable side steps are optional.
The Sun, Entertainment and Destinations package available on the LT and LTZ adds a sunroof, a rear-seat entertainment system and on the LT, navigation and real-time traffic. Optional wheels in 20- and 22-inch sizes are available on all trims.
Add the Z71 Off Road package and you get specialized springs and shock absorbers, upgraded 18-inch off-road tires, front recovery hooks, a skid plate and a high-capacity air cleaner. The Z71 looks different, too, thanks to beefy fender flares, an aggressive front fascia and tubular side assist steps.
4.6 out of 5 stars
Most helpful consumer reviews
5 out of 5 stars
2011 Chevrolet Avalanche LS 4dr Crew Cab SB (5.3L 8cyl 6A)
Bought the car new and has been unbelievably cheap to maintain. At almost 25k my Chevy pride was tested as I suffered the semi common active lifter issue and had the camshaft and lifters replaced under warranty. This has been the one and only time my check engine light has come on in just over 90k. I do all of my own work on all my vehicles. Other than tires (just installed the 3rd set)& … oil changes( full synthetic only, changed when oil life gets to 30%) I replaced the air filter at 50k exchanged the trans fluid at around 60k for maintenance, replaced the 4 tire sensors when the first 1 died around 70k, first rear brake job and replaced the front sway bar links at 90k. Everything else (including all the exterior bulbs) is factory original. This truck has been incredibly reliable and has been used daily, long trips and for towing. Highly recommended truck very comfortable to drive, gets between 500-600 miles of range on long highway trips. I've towed multiple times including enclosed trailers full of stuff and project cars and the car handles it like nothing has changed.
5 out of 5 stars
The reasonable man's Cadillac Ext
2011 Chevrolet Avalanche LTZ 4dr Crew Cab 4WD SB (5.3L 8cyl 6A)
If you're looking for versatility and luxury look no further than the Avalanche LTZ. I couldn't decide between a large SUV or a pickup truck for my farm needs and driving my kid to school. I always liked the look of the newer escalades and the avalanche, and having owned a deville DTS, it's easy to get spoiled by interior comforts, like heated and cooled leather seats. The ride is very … smooth for a truck, the auto ride suspension takes control of bumps and hills. The Bose stereo sounds great and can be upgraded fairly easily, along with the read flip down DVD. Having a removable cover on the truck bed is key, fitting 6 bales of hay without even taking it off. That plus the midgate option makes this the most versatile truck on the market in my opinion. Why they stopped making them in 2013 is beyond me. If you are lucky enough to find one for a good deal, hold onto it. Update: still going strong in 2020 with over 150k miles. With only one significant repair (cylinder lifter arm) this truck had been good to me and I don't plan on getting rid of it anytime soon. Upgraded wheels and tires, stereo system, tinted tail lights. looking better than ever. Long live the avalanche!
5 out of 5 stars
Gotta Love the Av
Av Daddy, 03/10/2017
2011 Chevrolet Avalanche LT 4dr Crew Cab 4WD SB (5.3L 8cyl 6A)
This is my second Avalanche. First a WBH 2004 and now 2011. Would buy another one if they still were being built. Reliable, dependable, comfortable, and one of a kind. You gotta love this beast!
4.75 out of 5 stars
My second Avalanche
Avalanche Lover, 08/13/2009
2009 Chevrolet Avalanche LTZ 4dr Crew Cab 4WD SB (5.3L 8cyl 6A)
My 2009 Avalanche is my second one. I had a 2003 Avalanche that was the most reliable and cheapest to maintain truck that I have ever owned. I traded it at 148,000 miles and never even put brakes on it. I love my new 2009 Avalanche also. It is more comfortable and roomier than my 2003. Fuel economy appears to be better and improving. it is a pleasure to drive and passengers enjoy the … room and comfort. I will always drive a Avalanche as long as they are in production. they are great trucks very reliable the quality and durability is outstanding making ownership affordable by not having additional unexpected breakdowns or maintenance issues keeping current on Preventative Maintenance is key.
We have a limited number of reviews for the 2012 Chevrolet Avalanche, so we've included reviews for other years of the Avalanche since its last redesign.
2012 Avalanche Highlights
|Engine Type||Flex-fuel (ffv)|
|Combined MPG||17 MPG|
|Cost to Drive||$214/month|
|Drivetrain||rear wheel drive|
|Max Towing Capacity||8,100 lbs.|
|Warranty||3 years / 36,000 miles|
NHTSA Overall Rating
The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration offers independent analysis.
- Frontal Barrier Crash RatingOverallNot RatedDriverNot RatedPassengerNot Rated
- Side Crash RatingOverallNot Rated
- Side Barrier RatingOverallNot RatedDriverNot RatedPassengerNot Rated
- Combined Side Barrier & Pole RatingsFront SeatNot RatedBack SeatNot Rated
- RolloverRollover3 / 5Dynamic Test ResultNo TipRisk Of Rollover22.8%