13 Best & Worst Chevrolet Avalanche Years (Facts & Stats)

The Chevy Avalanche is a unique full-size pickup truck that was in production from 2002 to 2012. 

Part four-door crew-cab pickup and part full-size SUV, it’s ideal for carrying both passengers and cargo.

In this article, we’ll be examining all of the best and worst model years of the Avalanche.

Here’s The Short Answer To What The Best And Worst Years For The Chevrolet Avalanche Are:

The best Chevrolet Avalanche model years are 2012, 2010, 2009, and 2006. The worst model years of this model are 2002, 2003, 2007, 2008, 2004, 2005, and 2011. This is based on auto industry reviews, NHTSA statistics, reported problems, and consumer feedback.

What Are The Best Years For The Chevrolet Avalanche?

2012 Chevrolet Avalanche

The 2012 Avalanche is the last model year ever produced and is a top pick. Trailer sway control and hill start assist were introduced as part of the standard stability control system and heated seats were made standard on the LT, while the LTZ received a heated steering wheel.

There are a total of 3 trim levels: LS, LT, and LTZ with a choice of two-wheel-drive or a four-wheel-drive.

The LS and LT four-wheel-drive (4WD) models have a single-speed transfer case while the top-spec LTZ comes with a two-speed transfer case (with low-range gearing).

All models come with a 5.3-liter V8 engine that produces 320 horsepower and 335 pound-feet of torque, partnered with a 6-speed automatic transmission.

With all the towing equipment installed, the Avalanche can tow as much as 8,100 pounds.

According to the EPA’s estimates, this vehicle can achieve 17 MPG for combined city and highway driving. 

Positive traits of this vehicle according to owners’ reviews include appearance, ride quality, engine, and driving experience.

  • Edmunds: 4.6 / 5.0
  • Kelley Blue Book: 4.7 / 5.0
  • J.D. Power: 86 / 100

2012 Avalanche, Edmunds Review:

“ … Would buy another one if they were still being built. Reliable, dependable, comfortable, and one of a kind. You gotta love this beast!”

2010 and 2009 Chevrolet Avalanche

The 2010 and 2009 Avalanche models received excellent reviews and offer a smooth ride, comfortable seating, and competent towing capabilities.

They are essentially the same however for 2010 a USB port was added to the audio system, and the trim levels were reduced to just three.

Also for 2010, the optional 6.0-liter V8 was dropped and the single-speed transfer case came as standard on 4WD models, with an optional two-speed transfer case.

All variants are equipped with a 5.3-liter V8 engine (320 horsepower and 335 pound-feet of torque), paired with a 6-speed automatic transmission system.

Standard safety features include: 

  • Anti-lock disc brakes
  • Stability control
  • GM’s patented OnStar emergency communications system
  • Full-length side curtain airbag system with a rollover sensor. 

2010 Chevrolet Avalanche:

  • Edmunds: 4.7 / 5.0
  • Kelley Blue Book: 4.7 / 5.0
  • J.D. Power: 87 / 100

2009 Chevrolet Avalanche:

  • Edmunds: 4.5 / 5.0
  • Kelley Blue Book: 4.7 / 5.0
  • J.D. Power: 84 / 100

2009 Avalanche, Edmunds Review:

“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…”

2006 Chevrolet Avalanche

The 2006 Avalanche is praised for its innovative cab configuration, powerful V8 engine options, and significant towing ability.

On top of all of that, it is considered by owners to be a comfortable daily driver.

New changes for ’06 include a slight redesign for the truck’s optional mirrors and a standard compass built into the rearview mirror.

Stability control and a tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS) have also been integrated as standard features across the board.

The 1500 Avalanche models (half-ton variants) are fitted with a 5.3-liter Vortec V8 engine (295 horsepower and 335 pound-feet of torque) hooked to a 4-speed automatic transmission.

The 2500 Avalanche models (three-quarter-ton variants), on the other hand, come with a significantly larger 8.1-liter V8 engine (325 horsepower and 447 pound-feet of torque).

The 1500 variants can tow up to 8,200 pounds while the 2500 versions can tow as much as 12,000 pounds. 

  • Edmunds: 4.7 / 5.0
  • Kelley Blue Book: 4.7 / 5.0
  • J.D. Power: NA

2006 Avalanche, Edmunds Review:

“This is my second Avalanche I have owned. I will NEVER own another truck except the Av. Very Stylish, Eye catching, versatile. Used for camping, tailgating, towing, moving large items, and much more. My original was a 2002 which I thought was great, and the 2006 is even better. I totaled my 2002 in an accident which I hit in, and realized in any car and many trucks, I would not have made it out alive…”

Consumer Scores For Best Chevrolet Avalanche Years

Model YearEdmunds
Consumer Rating
Kelley Blue Book
Consumer Rating
J.D. Power
Consumer Rating
2012 Chevrolet Avalanche4.6 / 5.04.7 / 5.086 / 100
2010 Chevrolet Avalanche4.7 / 5.04.7 / 5.087 / 100
2009 Chevrolet Avalanche4.5 / 5.04.7 / 5.084 / 100
2006 Chevrolet Avalanche4.7 / 5.04.7 / 5.0NA

Related: Chevrolet Avalanche Alarm Going Off? (13 Common Causes)

What Are The Worst Years For The Chevrolet Avalanche?

2002 and 2003 Chevrolet Avalanche

The debut model years of 2002 and 2003 should be avoided. There were a large number of complaints due to major issues with the brakes.

Owners reported significant rusting of the brakes and brake lines which in some cases ruptured whilst driving, requiring a full replacement.

“The brake line broke due to rust and as I have seen this is an ongoing thing. GM says it is not a safety issue but it very much is as when the line brakes you lose paddle and at high speed this could kill people.” – NHTSA.gov

“I was towing a trailer with a car loaded and traveling at less than 10 mph, I applied the brakes to slow for a turn and lost nearly all the braking power. I pulled to the shoulder and noticed that one of the brake lines forward of the abs module located inside the left frame rail directly beneath the drivers seat had ruptured due to corrosion. Further inspection showed all brake lines in that area were covered with corrosion.” – NHTSA.gov

“Brake lines are made out of defective materials gm knows they have a problem the lines rust out prematurely” – NHTSA.gov

  • The 2002 Avalanche had a total of 71 complaints on CarComplaints.com and 689 problems based on CarProblemZoo.com data.
  • The 2003 Avalanche had a total of 63 complaints on CarComplaints.com and 426 problems based on CarProblemZoo.com data.

Common problems:

  • Faulty brake line
  • Will not go into gear
  • Back bed leaks water
  • Inaccurate speedometer reading
  • Premature brake wear
  • Brake line rusted

2007 and 2008 Chevrolet Avalanche

The 2007 (labeled as a “clunker” by CarComplaints.com) and 2008 model years were plagued by airbag issues.

The vast majority of the complaints were linked to the infamous Takata airbag recall.

These defective airbags were known to explode and fire metal shrapnel into the cabin with potentially lethal consequences.

Due to the widespread nature of the recall, repairs were slow and owners were left waiting unreasonable amounts of time.

“Takata recall. Essentially all I am asking is how has this not been resolved yet? the petition was over in August of 2017. I am just looking for some resolution before my kids are old enough to ride in the front seat.” – NHTSA.gov

“Hello I’ve been waiting for years on a remedy to fix the Takata air bags on my vehicle, is there any resolution to this recall??? need to know what to do or what steps to take. Everyday that I drive my vehicle is another chance for me or my family to be at risk. Please help.” – NHTSA.gov

Dashboard cracking was another widely reported problem that compounded the risks of the faulty airbags.

“The dashboard has numerous cracks that will send shrapnel flying when the airbags deploy. The pieces of the dash could be deadly in an accident with propelled by the force of the airbag.” – NHTSA.gov

“Dashboard panel that is completely falling apart and cracking everywhere. This includes multiple cracks and broken pieces surrounding the airbag.” – NHTSA.gov

  • The 2007 Avalanche had a total of 215 complaints on CarComplaints.com and 604 problems based on CarProblemZoo.com data.
  • The 2008 Avalanche had a total of 65 complaints on CarComplaints.com and 354 problems based on CarProblemZoo.com data.

Common problems:

  • Excessive oil consumption
  • Cracked dashboard
  • Takata recall
  • Loss of engine power

2004 and 2005 Chevrolet Avalanche

The 2004 and 2005 Avalanche were very problematic. Among their various issues, one was quite common – issues with the instrument panel.

A lot of owners reported inaccurate speedometer readings, this poses a serious safety risk as drivers do not know how fast they are going.

“I did an internet search to see what causes a speedometer to go out and to my surprise there are many people who have had their speedometer to go out on this model vehicle. Most people experienced this problem around 30,000 miles. It would benefit consumers if this problem were addressed by the manufacturer.” – NHTSA.gov

“The speedometer will quit working correctly, after driving for a little bit the speedometer needle will get jerky and then start dropping down to zero while maintain the same speed on the vehicle.” – NHTSA.gov

Owners also reported issues with the gauges and displays on the instrument panel not working, as mentioned below:

“The contact owns a 2004 Chevrolet Avalanche. The contact stated that upon starting the vehicle the fuel gauge was not displaying the proper amount of fuel.” – NHTSA.gov

“The cluster isn’t working system states charging at 30 volts, tested with meter 14 volts, also speedometer states that I am doing 65 mph while at a dead stop.” – NHTSA.gov

  • The 2004 Avalanche had a total of 102 complaints on CarComplaints.com and 341 problems based on CarProblemZoo.com data.
  • The 2005 Avalanche had a total of 77 complaints on CarComplaints.com and 222 problems based on CarProblemZoo.com data.

Common problems:

  • Transmission failure
  • Axle bearing, differential failure
  • Loud noise from transmission
  • Transmission slipping, jerking
  • Stalls while driving, will not restart

2011 Chevrolet Avalanche

Owners of the 2011 Avalanche widely reported problems with the dashboard cracking. This poses a serious safety risk, as the plastic could puncture the airbag or be fired into the cabin should the airbag deploy.

Here is what owners had to say about this matter on the NHTSA.gov website:

“Dash board is cracking around the steering wheel and air bags started as small spot now with the heat it has gotten bigger and connecting to other cracks.”

“Dashboard has 5 large cracks 4 lateral and 1 vertical top front speaker has fallen off clips. Vehicle dashboard started cracking while just sitting over time and while driving road vibration help cracking continue I’m afraid that with the cracking since it is in the passenger airbag area as well it could cause airbag to deploy causing more damage injuries to passenger or a wreck by suddenly going off and causing driver to swerve suddenly.”

  • The 2003 Avalanche had a total of 13 complaints on CarComplaints.com and 200 problems based on CarProblemZoo.com data.

Common problems:

  • Excessive oil consumption
  • Cracked dash
  • Excessive fuel consumption

Related: How Long Do Chevrolet Suburban Last? (Solved and Explained)

What Years Have The Most Complaints?

Model YearComplaints
2012 Chevrolet Avalanche14613
2011 Chevrolet Avalanche132005
2010 Chevrolet Avalanche371494
2009 Chevrolet Avalanche221225
2008 Chevrolet Avalanche653544
2007 Chevrolet Avalanche2156045
2006 Chevrolet Avalanche6663
2005 Chevrolet Avalanche772226
2004 Chevrolet Avalanche1023417
2003 Chevrolet Avalanche634267
2002 Chevrolet Avalanche716895

What Problems Do Chevrolet Avalanches Have?

  • Excessive oil consumption
  • Transmission failure
  • Cracked dashboard
  • Engine failure
  • Axle bearing, differential failure
  • Loud noise from transmission
  • Transmission slipping, jerking
  • Stalls while driving, will not restart
  • Faulty brake line
  • Will not go into gear
  • Back bed leaks water
  • Loss of engine power
  • Incorrect speedometer reading
  • Premature brake wear
  • Brake line rusted

What Are The Best Alternatives To The Chevrolet Avalanche?

Make & ModelScoreMSRPFuel Economy (MPG)
Ram 15009.2$10,762 – $20,675City: 13 – 18 /Highway: 19 – 25
Ford F-1508.3$11,453 – $27,885City: 11 – 17 /Highway: 16 – 23
GMC Sierra 1500 Hybrid7.9$19,212 – $23,661City: 20 /Highway: 23
Chevrolet Avalanche7.8$14,637 – $19,860City: 15 /Highway: 21 
Cadillac Escalade EXT7.7$21,411 – $24,805City: 13 / Highway: 18
Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Hybrid7.6$18,076 – $27,991City: 20 /Highway: 23
GMC Sierra 15007.4$10,633 – $20,759City: 12 – 15 /Highway: 18 – 22
Nissan Titan7.1$12,502 – $19,214City: 12 – 13 /Highway: 17 – 18

Source: cars.usnews.com, edmunds.com

Related: 21 Best & Worst Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Years (Explained)












  • Ian Sawyer

    Growing up with a father who was a mechanic I had an appreciation for cars and motorcycles from an early age. I shared my first bike with my brother that had little more than a 40cc engine but it opened up a world of excitement for me, I was hooked. As I grew older I progressed onto bigger bikes and...

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