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Advice From The Wise



Hello Folks,
Well, it has been a month now that I have been researching the Chevy Avalanche and deciding exactly what I want to do with respect to purchasing. My problem, I read too much and analyze too much. This is why I have come to all of you for one last kick at the cat regarding advice. I have plans on a 2003 Dark Grey, with Leather, Sunroof and some other extras. One thing that I wanted to take advantage of in the 2003's was the no-cladding package. Well as I have been reading I am now confused as to my best course of action. See... the cladding... it has started to grow on me. So now the 2002 are a viable option. I read that some issues in the 02 are taken care of in the 03's so then I think 03 is the way to go. But then I read only "some" issues with 02's and overall, great satisfaction from the 02 owners. Also I was set on leather? but as I read more.. maybe it is not worth the extra cash. I live in the north so the heated seats are a selling feature for me. :eek: So here is my wish from the many educated, experience users of this forum. If you had to do it all over again... what would you buy, saying all your options are open. You want to buy the Avalanche that makes the most sense. Would you go 02 or 03? Would you go new or used? Would you go black or orange? Let me know what you have to say. I would really appreciate the "extra information" likely making my decision even tougher... but not much tougher? ;)


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2003 LOADED WITH ALL OPTIONS in the dark grey metallic (love black but after a year it shows every miniscule scratch when in direct sunlight). DEFINITELY WOULD STAY WITH THE CLADDING.
Leather with the heating package definitely a must. Forget the factory brush guard and bug deflector.

There you go.

I 'm a gadget lover. I really liked the 2002's but I waited until the 03's were out. I was sitting on the fence too for a long time until GOO posted pictures of a loaded Dark Grey Metallic with leather, sunroof, steering wheel controls, etc, etc, etc.

So, I went and bought one. I live in Connecticut, not nearly as cold as Edmonton, put I've found myself really enjoying the heated seats. Not manly to admit, but I like them.

I have put 10K on the AV with no problems at all. I did get my windshield cracked this winter from junk on the road.

But, no regrets!!! Like I said , I love gadgets.

The driver convenience package is a set of wonderful options, and the leather seats are extremely comfortable and come with the Bose systems and the 6-cd changer. an excellent unit. The best 'stock' package I have ever heard....
We have an '02 with everything except the roof rack. Looking back, I wish I got the rack because, for me, it completes the look. I would also recommend the cladding. So much less to wash and dry and wax (although I do treat the cladding, it is not as needy as paint). I like the adjustable pedal option of the '03 as I'm 6'4" and the wife is 5' 4". I don't like her being so close to the airbag. I like the heated seats and use them when its cold (yes, in Dallas). I also hear aftermarket leather is a better alternative than factory leather. I think you'd have to retro fit the heat portion of the seats, though. I would also like the trip computer, though its not on the '02. New or used? I guess you'd have to do the math to see if its cheaper to deal with the depreciation or interest. I bought new and am financing 36 months no interest. I'd much rather have 60 months no interest. Duh! Overall,I'd get all the options (except xm radio-don't travel that much) if you can afford it. Gee, now you have all the answers!! Good luck! As long as you've been looking, you're sure to make the right choice.
I got the 2002 North Face in Onyx Black with sunroof. I've put about 6k miles on her and hauled plywood and 2x4 from home depot. Gone snowboarding with 4 friends and all our gear. So far it's been a joy owning my AV. I've got the stock audio. Magnaflow installed. I'm happy.
I got the 5 year %apr when I purchased her...dec 31 2002. But I've seen the drk metallic grey with cladding. I love that color and the darker cladding. I think my ride would look better with the dark cladding...I personally prefer cladding than the WBH. The extra stuff like the movable pedals, folding mirrors and Bose audio are nice...but I don't really need it.
I guess it comes down to what color you like and what options you want, huh??? Purchasing a new AV would be nice...but a used one in decent shape would not be bad in my opinion. Dang...those drk grey metallics are nice!!!
Good luck in your quest...I think you'll be happy with your purchase.

I finally ordered my AV on Mar 24 ;D.... scheduled for build week of Apr 21... Not soon enough :8:
I went with Arrival Blue :love:...otherwise I would have gone BLACK :)... and of course I have the Cladding :love:.....I do not like it without, but I do agree that GM needs to make it with or without.. More units means longer Product Life..
Other exterior options... Z71 and convenience package..
1SD group. ;D...
I ordered mine with Roof racks... future overhead lights mount....Trailering package is also a must have...
If you like memory position seats...Go with the leather.. You also get heated seats...I would have liked the sunroof :)but I wasn't going to get the buckets :( just to be able to have sunroof ... Thus the 6 pack CD was out as well. :(..
Adjustable pedals and radio controls are a must as well.. :D.
Now, if you want DVD and Sunroof, wait for 2004 model..
2002 is not in the picture for me...Thus its either 2003 or 2004...
2004 also includes tire pressure monitor. More paint options... and a few of the existing colours disappear...Arrival Blue is one of them Dec 03 ... :8:
The only other thing that I wanted from the factory would have been an AV SS with the SS logo and cluster..
But GM would have probably add 6.0 litre and all wheel drive... no good for me.... 5.3 will be bad enough for the speeding tickets.... But I can add the cluster later...

Back to your wish list... IF you have the money....
Full Load, including Leather, sunroof, 6 pack CD, cladding, Z71, roof rack, and trailering package... and BLACK.... the darker grey cladding is really nice on the BLACK...03 only, no 02 ( sorry 02 owners )... New not used....( and where would you find a used 03 AV... )

P.S. 2003 order cut off date is around Apr 25... so hurry!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I would go for the 03. ?As you say, some 02 issues have been addressed. ?You could go for a used 02, of which, most are good. ?But there were some troublesome issues that you might want to avoid in them. ?On the flip side, you could get a great deal on a used low mileage 02. ?My old 02 was a great vehicle and anyone that buys it from where I traded it in will get a great Av.

When you decide what you are getting, check the vehicle out thoroughly, in the daylight, before signing anything.

Learn the differences between 02 and 03 features and decide what are must-haves. ? I really didn't need the gadgetry my 03 has, but I do like the steering wheel controls.

On cladding or WBH, that's just personal preference. ?I like the cladding, as it offers just a little bit more parking lot and stone damage protection.

I have the DGM, and for me, the color is a knockout!
I went for the Sunset Orange/Gray Z71 with many toys except DVD (convenience, security, roof rack, tow pack, full leather, ss nerf bars, XM radio, sun roof, WOL tires). I really love it and I am critical of cars. It drives great side roads and highway. We purchased the Av on 3/12 and it has been great. I thought I had a midgate leak, but it was user error; I didn't close the gate all the way. ?:rolleyes: I currently have 1050ish miles and have averaged 15.3 mpg. It is a mix of highway/city. On the haighway I cruise at 75ish... Pretty good in my book based on size, weight and race car aerodynamics. ;)

My wife hinted twice in the past two days that we should trade in her Outback for one! I am shocked because she would NEVER think of parting with her car.

Oh yeah, we REALLY like the color! It looks great clean and is forgiving when dirty (salty from NH raods).

Good luck with the search and from one Newbie to another, WELCOME!!! ?;D
I love my 03 Arrival blue z66 Leather, DVD, 6 disc cd, steering wheel controls Heated seats, Roof Rack, Bose sound system. I love my AV. 2003 was the one for me.
You can see from my sig what I like. I'd say go for an '03. Between the redesigned, way more functional dash (with steering wheel controls) and darker cladding, you can't go wrong IMHO. I'd go with the cladding. Even though I didn't like it at first, it looks wayyyy better than the WBH. To me, the WBH looks unfinished- doesn't "flow".

And with the rebates going on, an 03 is even more attractive.

If I had to get a 2002, I would have gotten an Indigo Blue Z71 with the same options I have now ... Add the sunroof and 4.10 gears ...

If I had to get a 2003, I would get the Yellow Z71 with the same options as above...

I currently have a 2002 Victory Red Z71 with all factory options except leather, sunroof, and the roof rack...

If money is more of a concern to you, try to find a later production date '02 (Black is my color of choice). You can find some killer deals on them.

If functionality and accessories are more important than the price, I would go with an '03 (again Black, or Dark Gray Metallic). The '03's do have some nice things like the steering controls and the better dash, which I would like to have, but a lot of things I got standard on my '02 Z66 are now expensive options on the '03 models. I have also learned that several "little" things have been deleted altogether from the lineup. Not major but add them all up and it can make a difference depending on what's important to you, like the articulating headreasts that I have. I believe that they are no longer on the 03's.

If you go with an '03, the darker cladding will look great on either Black or DGM. I personally like the way the Black also looks without the cladding, but not really other colors. I didn't care for it back in Oct. of '01 when I got mine, but it grew on me and I have come to really appreciate the added protection in the parking lots.

Either way, they are great vehicles! I'm coming up on 15K miles and no rattles yet, or leaks, or broken parts (well, except for one of the panels has molding that is starting to come off, just need to get to the dealer to get them to replace it). Good luck.....

If I were to do it over, I would get an '03, Dark Grey Mettalic with all the options, especially the 4.10 gears. They made the difference when I was test driving. After having black for a while, it takes a lot to keep it looking good. Heqted leather is awesome-first vehicle I have every had with leather. Got to go with cladding, had a few cases of other vehicles hitting my AV and really tearing up the cladding, was realatively cheap to fix. If they were damaging sheet metal instead of plastic, I shudder to think what it would of cost, plus all the repainting that would have been nessasary. And Don't forget about all those door dings from careless dooropeners in parking lots!!

Before you jump in the 0% financing,check your option of getting the rebates from GM, and finding another low interest loan elswhere. My father just did this on an Impala and came out ahead using the rebates and a different lender.

My .02 cents

Sorry for the long winded reply.
Yea, try hard to get the 4.10 gears. I don't have them and from what I have read here I wish I did! They say it doesn't hurt your MPG and make it a lot more fun to drive! If you ever tow anything it is what you really need anyway.
I would buy the same truck again for myself............LOADED to the gills of course......

The 02 or 03 well that is a hard choice as both are great.....

buy two! ;D
I have to agree with chasman and musiks on the choice. I shopped around, read and looked for many months before deciding on the 03, go with the bun warmers, I swore I would never get leather again, but the package is a good deal, charcol seats hide dirt, and even in MD I used the bun warmers many times this past winter. I too went the Z66 way because I no longer go off the beaten path much anymore. Also go with the cladding, much better protection and looks good with the mods you will do. My only real input is to do it soon what ever you want, I find that, at least around me, dealers still are not dealing with the 02 very much. My dealer has almost 100 new 02's on lot and still doesn't want to come down in price. can get 03 same cost. luck and welcome to our world.
To do it all over again...

I would have stuck with a 2002 (I don't like the darker cladding)....black (like I have now)....cloth seats (like I have now)....no heated seats (I don't have'em/don't want them, I'm in TX, heated seats come from mother nature in the summer, which was why I didn't want leather)...

I have a base, I would have liked a Z71....

That's about all I'd change ;D

So far I love my 2002 that I bought used.
I would get the sunroof, roof rack, 4X4 and Leather.

If you can't find leather, you can get an after market package professionally installed.

But I would love to have some of the 2003 goodies such as the Bose system - retractable mirrors, turn signals embedded in the mirror, LATCH, etc....

But overall I am happy with the 2002.
I sold my '02 Indigo Blue Z-71 in January. I am eventually going to buy an '03. If I were buying now, I'd buy new since you get 0% for 5 years.

I am definitely a cladding person...do not like the naked Av. I am liking the yellow, but my wife is very into the dark gray...that is probably the way we will go, since she's the boss.

We are also considering a 2500. We are driving a '99 Chevy Suburban 2500 in the meantime and like the extra towing power. Definitely leather...my wife will have it no other way.

I had the GM brush guard before...I liked it, but may look into other options next time around. I also had the bug shield, but will not get another one.

Roof rack finishes off the look, I must agree. Mine did not have one on the lot, so I had the dealer install it. I will have my next one ordered with one. I am also consider the tubular nerf steps instead of the factory running boards. There was some discussion on one thread about the diamond plating design wearing off from use.

That's about all I can think of...hope it helps.

For me the only thing that makes an 03 tempting is the sound system and the Dark Charcoal color. I can do without the rest of the gizmos and didn't have to pay extra for the trailering package on my 02.

If you're going to get a 4X4, make sure you get the Z71... the tire/wheel package is much nicer and the resale (or trade in) value will remain higher if the other Z71 trucks are any indication.

There are already several threads (and lots of strong opinions) on cladding vs. WBH so I won't even get started there.

Whatever you decide, if you buy any kind of Av, you'll love it!!
I would buy the dark grey metalic paint, i hear metalic paint is better than solid colors. I didnt want leather at first but I bought my AV loaded so it came with leather and now I luv it (heated seats hooked to remote is cool) plus I hear it help in resale if u have leather seats. I used them every day this past winter. I luv the 03 darker cladding (so much protection) I also have the sunroof and luv it. 4.10 gears are a must, Good luck and let us know what u get!
Well, well, well.... A lot of different opinions out there on what to do. Actually I have to admit (as expected) that I recieve a ton valuable advice from the members of this forum. I think experience is the best teacher and all your experiences have added up to a lot of education for me. I have a better idea :0: what I want to buy now, so now it is just a matter of getting it.
I will let you know (of course) what I end up with.
Thanks all.
I like to read this thread and thinks they are wise ;D ;D
dichris said:

P.S. ?2003 order cut off date is around Apr 25... so hurry!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I've lurked long enough now, so here goes first post.

Actually, dichris's p.s. there has put me almost into a panic. I wasn't aware that there's a deadline this soon to order 2003 models, and wasn't really planning on taking the dive for several more months. What you're really saying is that after April 25th, my only choice is to take whatever's on the lot?? It seems like very few dealers around here stock 'em the way I want mine, and I am extremely particular about what my Avalanche is going to have. Someone please tell me if I have this straight, because I need to rethink some ($) things if that's the case.


P.S. Maybe you can tell, but this is going to be the first vehicle I have ever purchased new, so I'm rather naive in some areas; and, now that you've got me rollin', expect to see more of me because I've got a ton of stuff I need to ask you wise people about in the near future.