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1500 Vs 2500 Ride Quality


Full Member
Nov 18, 2002
I got a chance to test drive a Z71 and a 2500 2 wheel drive side by side over the weekend... (trying to decide which one to get). ? There is plenty of discussion regarding power and mileage between the two. ?I was primarily interested in the ride quality. ?I currently have a Silverado 1500 Z71 and that thing will bounces so hard you can chip your teeth.

The thing that surprised me was the 2500 seem to have a better ride than the Ava Z71. ?It definitely felt heavier and perhaps the extra 1000 pounds makes the vehicle more stable. ?I tested it over different stretches of freeway and the 2500 handled the bumps and ripples alot softer than the 1500. ?Has anyone else compared the two Ava side by side for ride quality? ? I expected the 2500 to have a harsher ride due to the rear leaf springs. ?(unfortunately they did not have a 2500 4x4 for comparison)

I was also surprised to find the 2500 was equiped with Bilstein shocks (similar to the Z71). ?I calculated the total cost between a Z71 and a 2500 4x4 is under $1,300. ?For those who are off road enthusiasts, the Hummer H2 also utilize 3/4 ton components comparable if not identical to the 2500. ?That vehicle sells for approximately $50,000 (It has a 6.0 liter engine and gets mileage in the 10-13 range).

My biggest concerns between the two were cost, mileage, and ride quality. ?$1,300 isn't that much on a $35-$40,000 truck and where else can you buy 55 horses for $1,300. ?The mileage is terrible but I seen 12's reported on a Jeep Liberty and Nissan 350z. ?Running premium with a Hypertech'ed 1500 will matched the gas cost on 2500 (and you spent $300 more upfront).

So that left me with ride quality. ?I am sure there are others out there with long term experience with these trucks. ?What do you think of the ride quality? ?

I really enjoy the ride quality of my Z71 1500....I like the firm ride and it seems to handle the road fine...I have never road in a 2500...so I couldn't compare them....

I test drove the Z66 Av...originally I can say I didn't like the ride...too soft for me...If I have the option I'd rather have firmer than softer..... :B:
There has been quite a bit written comparing the ride quality between the 1500 and 2500. I have the 1500 and couldn't be happier with the ride. Then again, I've had been driving the same K2500 for the last 9 years. I have yet to hear or read any ride quality complaints from 2500 owners. A few that have driven both came to the same conclusion as you; that the 2500 was actually smoother.
Hanen't driven both, but reports I've read here in the past (to save you some searching) have attributed ride differences between the 1500 and 2500 to weight and tire sidewall stiffness.

People have commented that the 2500 being heavier makes it feel more "grounded", stable and attached to the road. There were also comments about the sidewall stiffness contributing to the feel in cornering.

My choice, add some stiffer/beefier tires to the 1500 and go with that. I wanted the Z-71 package for resale value, nothing else really.

I love my 1500 AV. It rides a 100 times better than any other Chevy truck I've ever had. I have never driven the 2500 AV, but I have driven a 2500 Silverado. And that thing was like riding on a brick!
I did drive both, back to back... TWICE! ?:D

(Right after I did the same thing in 'Burbs ?;) )

Before I share, let me say that
I LOVE the 1500, and if I didn't have a lead foot or the need to tow frequently, I probably would have chosen a 4x4 Z-71... ? ;)

Personally, I liked the ride better in the 2500...
I felt that it was a little more stable. ?I have had it on several trips, and it has never bounced me at all - it is very comfortable. In fact, I have hit some of the exact same bumps/potholes, etc... that I have encountered in my other vehicles, and the AV is by FAR the best over all of the "obstacles" especially speed bumps! ? (y)

Actually, for me, the steering was a more substantial difference between the 2 AVs. While the 1500 cornered fine, the 2500 was even tighter, especially during "emergency maneuvers." (Quick, sudden changes of direction.) ?Again, the 1500 felt stable, but the 2500 was much stiffer (less body roll/lean).

I am sure that the weight and heavier suspension components have a lot to do with it, however, I do think that the stock tires play a role as well.
After I changed from the "E" rated stock tires to my "D" rated BFG's,
all of the perceived advantages I mentioned above
were slightly less pronounced.

EITHER WAY, you will be the PROUD owner of the
BEST multi-purpose vehicle on the road, BY FAR! ?

Seven ? :cool:

I'm a 2003 2500 4x4 owner so I'm not objective on this question. Here's what I will share with you:

* both are great vehicles - heck, they're the same vehicle but one has greater weight capacity, weighs more and has a bigger motor

* an unloaded 2500 will probably feel much stiffer over bumps because the suspension is set up to carry heavier loads. Putting a couple hundred pounds in the back will make the 2500 ride even better than it does now. That said, I do NOT add weight to my 2500 to make it ride better - I'm very happy with it just the way it is even if it does ride stiffer empty.

* ignore that comment posted above about the Silverado 2500. I can't tell you how the 2500 Silverado rides but I can tell you that the 2500 Avalanche does NOT have the ride of a brick! (You probably already know that since you've driven the 2500).

* You're on the right track with the gas too. The 2500 runs regular (great!) and doesn't get very good gas mileage. Most people who go for it don't worry so much about the MPGs - not on a 7000 pound truck with a 496 cubic inch motor.

Whatever you do, you'll enjoy the Av! That much I am sure of. Good luck!
I would have the thought the leaf springs would make for a harsher ride in the 2500....but from the feedback most of you provide that isn't the case.....my anwers to body roll and lean is going to be the Hotchkins sways....and for the actual rubber ...some 20's will do... :B:
I can't imagine getting any worse mpg than my 1500 Z-71. Especially since my wife drives it around town 75% of the time! We're lucky to make the low end 13 mpg rating.
midlifecrisis said:
I can't imagine getting any worse mpg than my 1500 Z-71. ?Especially since my wife drives it around town 75% of the time! ?We're lucky to make the low end 13 mpg rating.
I try to convince my wife that we need to do the local shopping in her car....because of the same reason...the gas....she seems to agree...so the Passat it is... (y) :B:
I own a 2500 4X4. I formerly owned a F-250 4X4 with a V-10. I have test driven 2WD and 4WD AVs. The F-250 rode like a tank. The 2500 and the 1500 rode much better than the F-250, but the 2500 rode better than the 1500. I test drove both taking the same corner at the same speed. The 1500 sqeeched and lost some traction whereas the 2500 did not. Although, the 2500 is heavier, it seemed to stop quicker. The acceleration is great, the gas mileage is not. There is still one nagging question around my household; whether my AV can take my wife's 97' Mustang GT. Since I am still in the break in period on my AV, I will have to get back to you.
I would have to say that the GT would have you beat....I'm not sure which year was the last year that Ford dropped the 5.0L from the mustang...but the 4.6L v8 would have the punch necessary....wait till your done breaking her in and then head off to the races... :B:
IMHO...I fell in love with the AV when I test drove the 1500 Northface Ed. (Glorified Z71). I was sure I would want the 2500 with the mondo 8.1 ;D, then I took one for a test drive :6:! I went running back to the 1500.
The difference in drivability/smoothness was noticably different to me. Granted...I didn't test drive the 2500 with 300 pounds in the back...but those heavy-duty leaf springs make for a truck-like ride compared to the 1500's posh Cadi-like ride. Just my opinion.

FYI....I'm a happy owner of NF AV since Oct. 2001.
So common sense would say that we would never see the 2500 Av...without anything but leafs...because of it's load capacity....and here's another scenerio....what if you were to put coils on something like the 2500...how would that impact the truck and it's ride etc.... :B:
It's not the leaf springs vs. coil springs as much as spring rates. The 2500 is rated to carry and tow a lot more weight than the 1500. That's why GM put leaf springs in the 2500. Coil springs are not an option from the factory or via the aftermarket of course with the right combination of money and a high-level of suspension expertise perhaps it could be done although it's hard to fathom why anyone would do that to a 2500 when 1500's are readily available.

But hey, when I see someone putting a 6.0L into a brand new 5.3L-equipped 1500, it's time to stop wondering why people are doing things with their trucks and their money! ??? ??? ??? ??? ??? ???