2012 Chevrolet Avalanche Performance
This performance review was created when the car was new. Some links may no longer point to an active page.
Test drivers say that the Chevy Avalanche drives very well for a pickup truck, with better-than-average handling and a decent V8 engine. Plus, it gets good gas mileage for its class. If you’re going to do a lot of towing or off-roading, keep in mind that a two-speed transfer case is only standard on the top-of-the-line LTZ trim, but is optional on lesser trims.
- "Smooth ride quality, decent steering and brake feel, but its responses are ponderous. Best kept on the interstate.” -- Car and Driver
Acceleration and Power
Reviewers say that overall, the Avalanche’s 5.3-liter Vortec V8 engine is powerful enough for most drivers. This engine is the Avalanche’s only available powerplant, and it puts 320 horsepower and 335 pound-feet of torque to the ground via a six-speed automatic transmission.
The EPA estimates that both the two- and four-wheel drive Avalanche get 15 mpg in the city and 21 mpg on the highway, which is better for most SUVs and trucks of this size, especially those with four-wheel drive.
- "Acceleration is more than adequate at all speeds, aided by the smooth-shifting transmission. There's no noticeable difference between rear- and 4WD models, despite the latter being heavier.” -- Consumer Guide
- "From behind the wheel, the first thing you notice about the 2012 Chevrolet Avalanche is that it accelerates smartly for such a large vehicle.” -- Edmunds
- "The 5.3-liter V8 is plenty strong, but because the power is delivered through the 6-speed transmission with such smoothness, acceleration can sometimes feel slower than it actually is.” -- Kelley Blue Book
Handling and Braking
Test drivers praise the Chevrolet Avalanche’s handling, saying that while it’s not exactly sporty, it’s better than most other pickup trucks. Although many writers like its compact turning radius, most think that its compromised rearward visibility detracts from its parking lot maneuverability.
The Chevrolet Avalanche comes standard with rear-wheel drive, and offers optional four-wheel drive. LTZ models come standard with a two-speed transfer case, which is optional on LT and LS models.
- "Avalanche rides surprisingly well for a large pickup truck. It betrays its truck-type construction with only mild bounding over large bumps.” -- Consumer Guide
- " 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.” -- Edmunds
- "Despite its size and obvious pickup-truck chassis, the 2012 Chevrolet Avalanche delivers an impressive level of refinement in areas of both ride and handling.” -- Kelley Blue Book
Towing and Hauling
Reviewers praise the Avalanche's towing and hauling capabilities. While it's not the best choice if you’re a contractor looking for a heavy-duty workhorse, the Avalanche can easily handle most tasks that weekend warriors send its way. Its 5.3-liter V8 can tow up to 8,100 pounds, and can haul a payload of up to 1,231 pounds.