One corny truck
Mention Chevrolet trucks and most of us think of pickup beds, trips to the home and garden center, maybe towing a boat or trailer, and some probably envision their daily ride to the work site. However, it’s fair to say few of us picture corn, though Chevrolet executives are intent on changing that. Making its official debut at the 2006 Chicago Auto Show, the 2007 Chevrolet Avalanche is the newest addition to Chevy’s lineup of vehicles capable of running on E85, a fuel blend of 85 percent ethanol and 15 percent gasoline, providing a viable alternative to our dependence on fossil fuels via home-grown corn. As part of its push, Chevy is plastering its new Live Green Go Yellow campaign on a NASCAR race truck and pace truck for an upcoming race at Daytona Speedway. Though not necessarily ready for the NASCAR track, the redesigned 2007 Chevrolet Avalanche comes with ample power for the street. Two-wheel-drive versions draw power from a 5.3-liter V8 pushing 320 horsepower and 340 lb.-ft. of torque, while the four-wheel-drive Avalanche gets the same motor with 310 horses and 335 lb.-ft. of twist. Both are E85 compatible, feature GM’s Active Fuel Management displacement-on-demand system for fuel savings, and are connected to a four-speed automatic transmission. A 6.0-liter V8, with Active Fuel Management but not corn-fed, will be released after the truck’s spring 2006 launch. Three trims will be available – LS, LT, and LTZ, though a Z71 is slated for later this year. Among the features found on the six-passenger 2007 Chevrolet Avalanche are a rear park assist system, a rearview camera, a new touch-screen navigation system, an upgraded rear DVD system with an eight-inch screen, and a remote-starting feature. There’s also a central locking tailgate controlled by the door switches or the keyless remote, and optional side-curtain airbags for both rows. Chevy engineers have obviously put a lot of work into the 2007 Avalanche’s powertrains and features, but what prospective buyers will notice first is the updated styling. The new front end, with smoked headlights and a clean wrap-around grille, is shared with the new Tahoe, the track has been widened front and rear for a more aggressive stance and improved handling, and tighter gap tolerances accent the truck’s appearance. Inside is a redesigned dash, a simpler and more attractive center console, all built with higher quality plastics. Pricing has not been released, but GM’s new focus on value should keep the 2007 Chevrolet Avalanche competitive.
Photo by Ron Perry