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Av Gets Ripped In Automobile Mag Long-Term Test...


Charter Member
Full Member
Mar 15, 2002
Southern Delaware
Despite the fact that, in a year, and 30,000 miles the only issues they had were a broken turn signal lever and a malfunctioning taillight, it seems like most of the editors loved to rip the Av apart on almost every detail--mostly for, of course, it being ugly (what schmucks! ?:p ). ?They tested a 2002 Sunset Orange 4wd with Graphite leather/cloth buckets, Convenience Package, Z71 suspension, and plastic running boards.

There was at least one editor who had nice things to say about it, some of his comments here:

-"This is a remarkable vehicle. ?The harmonious interrelationship of ride, handling, road-holding, and power is very sweet. ?It is very carlike. ?In fact, there are a lot of cars that aren't this good.

-"Yes, a little more steering feel wouldn't hurt, but, really, it's not that bad. ?It's best to just point this thing down the road and hit the gas."..."This is not a sports sedan, and anyone who tries to drive it like as such gets what they deserve."

-"I think I love the Avalanche so much because everyone else hates it. ?But it looks like a truck should--rough and tough."

-"We see lots of dirty ones--always a good sign."

-"How light can steering be? ?How on earth can you get away with such awful interior quality for $37,000? ?Can you see anything out the rear-view mirror? ?Which twit put the seatback adjuster there? ?If this is carlike, I may have been driving the wrong cars."

-"It's not so much how overboosted and light the steering is but how indirect. ?It takes cranking a good five degrees before the truck responds, by which time it could easily be heading in a different direction. ?This leads to constant adjusting of the wheel. ?It was more like sailing a boat than driving."

-"All the carlike comments are getting on my wick. ?It doesn't drive like a car, unless your benchmark is a late-1950's luxury sedan. ?Floaty suspension, light steering, dead brake pedal. ?Yuck! ?What's more, it's ugly!"

-"For some reason, we seem willing to accept a level of interior quality in trucks that we won't brook in cars. ?We forgive the crappy plastics in a $37,000 Avalanche but not a marginally more expensive Corvette. ?With trucks accounting for than 50 percent of the market at last check, doesn't anyone see this as an old way of thinking?"

-Lots of standard equipment; able to do the heavy lifting; room for five.

-Controversial styling; poor visibility; brakes don't inspire confidence.

- I agree with the comments about the steering (though it seems to be better the more I drive it), and the brakes (they have always sucked, and the three of us who drive it all agree--like an old, wet sponge). ?I also agree 50% on the interior quality, but I think they would have thought different if they had the Neutral interior and maybe full leather--just IMHO. ?I've been in Av's with the Graphite, and for some reason, it always made the GM plastics (not the best) look cheaper than they really are. ?However, the Av interior is solid as a rock and looks as good as it did day one, and there's not a single rattle or squeak after 18,000 miles (our Chrysler 300M couldn't even make it to 4,000 before it started to sound like it was falling apart). ?That, and the color, combined with the awesome cloth buckets make the interior extremely comfortable.

The styling, well, I love it, and 99.75% of the people here love it, so that's just a point to write off as "just an opinion".

Any comments?!
I think most of their comments are very subjective. It's personal taste. I think most of their criticism is misplaced. Looks are subjective. Plastic has various grades, naturally. Steering . . . Buy a Porsche if you want sports car performance, although I think the steering is plenty responsive.

The brakes are kakka!!!!! My 02 brakes just scared the heck out of me. My 03 brakes started out feeling very firm and worked well. With less than 3k miles on it, I now have to apply much greater pressure to stop. After a weekend trip to a high traffic area, the bottom of my foot is actually raw and sore from all the braking I had to do!!!

Bottom line on the review comments is that a reviewer either can objectively evaluate a vehicle or they can impose their own agenda to the review. It appears the latter has been done.
The May issue of Motor Trend had nothing but good to say about their long term test Av. I'll post a quote tomorrow ;)
Well if the items they are picking on are the only things wrong then it is a short list. This type of industry feedback can be good for GM as it's what they see and respond too... stylists respond to sales not press feedback so nothing they write will affect the looks department.
I don't know what this guy was on. But , maybe he should try a different brand of whatever it is and just chill. I sometimes drive my avalanche like a sports car and i think it handles great. In my 02 avalanche i would have not gotten in a accident if the idiot in front of me would have just stopped and let me put my truck in the ditch. But no the moron in front of me had to steer the way i was so I had to chank my wheel back so I could try to mis him. After all that turning I just bearly nicked his rear quarter panel. Just for the record he was stopped when he decided to move his car in my way. After that I think the steering is great. Personaly this guy needs to calm down and they have pills for that. It think personaly that he contradicked(spelling) himself. Now seeing things out of the rear view mirror is hard in all trucks cause they sit high. It is a little worse in the avalanche cause the noise slopes down, but that is life when you buy a truck. I could go on all day but I'm going to stop there.
It's amazing that people can rip the Av like that. There are thousands of components on an Av, and it only 2 or 3 are highlighted as being bad, than I think the Av is doing pretty well.

The Av is so unique and versatile that it can't possibly be perfect at every little thing that a car would be. They can sit there and tell me about how great the brakes, steering and interior quality is on a Toyota Camry, but I can't take it to Home Depot to get plywood or tow my camper with it.
As you can see from my "tag", I replaced my Benz E-430 w/ the Av. I am absolutely serious when I say that the AV has been MUCH more dependable than the M-B. In the course of the 5 year lease, I had 17 electrical repairs, requiring the car to be kept for something like 47 days. This was everything from all four window motor/actuators (some more than once), to the computer that controlled the dashboard functions, to the computerized ignition switch. Yes, it was fun to drive, yes the 275 horses motivated it very well...but the Av is a quality vehicle that has been dependable and versatile. Sometimes car writers and editors fall in love w/ names or brands or have pre-conceived notions of what is good and what can never be worth the money, no matter the quality of the vehicle. To read some of them, there will never be a bad Mercedes and never be a good Chevy. Sift the wheat from the chaff and be happy that you know something that the writers of this particular article do not. Oh yeah, the brakes are lame.
I always hated chevy's until I sat in the Avalanche. I like the layout of the interiror on my '03. Lot's of places to strore stuff. The seats are really comfortable, and there is a ton of room. I have no problem with the steering or even the breaks. Ride to me is excellent! The only thing I really dislike is the rear vision while backing up, but i will get used to it.

That being said, I agree that the interior can not compare to other $40k veichles out there, just look at the Volvo, Mdx, even the explorer, they all seem to be a level above in interior quality. Of course none of those guys were giving me a $4k rebate :)

I really don't give a s--t, I could have bought anything, I got an Avalanche & I got no regrets! LOVE IT!
I think the brakes on the '03 Av are fine. Are they not the best in their class? ???
I think my 03 Z66 handles great. I've had "sporty" (not sports) cars in the past that didn't handle as well.

As far as the interior, the truck for me is extremely comfortable to drive in. My family's only complaint is that the three kids don't each get their own seat like they do in our Dodge Caravan (rear captain's seats for 2, and the third gets the rear bench to him or herself). For short trips, they all want to go in the AV. Anything over an hour or so and they want the van.
I have a 2002, 1500 and nearly agree with everything stated. There are things I love about the truck and other things I'm not too crazy about.....the soft brakes and loose steering make up about 90% of what I don't like.

I got clothe seats so I didn't expect the interior to be VIP quality.
I think some of the reviewers were on crack...

This is a large truck!!! They need to keep this in perspective. For a large truck, the Av does drive very car-like. It is one of the most comfortable and smoothest trucks I have ever driven.

The brakes are good for a vehicle this size, though I would like to upgrade them to try and shorten the stopping distance and eliminate some brake fade. You could say this about most vehicles.

I feel the interior has been done very nicely (2003). Well laid out and comfortable. As far as the plastic's quality goes, have you seen some of the interiors in the foreign cars lately? The Av's is top notch compared to many cars let alone trucks.....

For versatility and usability-it cannot be beat.

Styling, though controversal, has grown on me. Much better than the boxy "edgy" styling so many makers are incorporating now. Some of the designs out now seem to be taking a step back towards the days of the Chrysler K cars.

Oh well....just my opinion as I am not automotive journalist. Just an Av owner that knows the truth.
How many people are on the board. 6000+. Who cares what these people say. There are 99.9% of peopel on this board that LOVE this truck...me being one of them. Automobile Mag has a bearing on what I drive.....HELL NO. I could care less what these people say. He is he to me....why should I like/dislike what he does. He thinks it's ugly....I want to see his wife, then we'll talk ugly I'm sure. O.k thats overboardm but I don't care. I'm sick of people behind a computer and a typewriter thinking they are the end all know all of everything. Drive what you want. I don't care if every single person on thsi board traded in for a Sport-Trac. I'm not following the crowd. I drive it because I LOVE IT!!!!!!
How can anyone expect great brakes on a 6,000 lb vehicle with 285 hp? This thing is all truck: as it should be!!!
I have some friends who have ripped my AV for the look and say it can't be any good - then they get a ride and their attitude changes. I think it is pretty well screwed together and the interior looks fine to me - it is functional (I have charcoal cloth) and practical, which is all I ask for in a truck. Of course the Midgate has helped out more than once in the practicality area too!

I agree the steering and brakes could be a little better feeling but I have had to do a couple of accident-avoidance lane-changes and the like and it handles amazingly well for a 6000 pound vehicle.
Look at the cars these guys test for a living. They might get only a few full-frame actual TRUCKS a year. Excuse me if I question their qualification to review such a vehicle. It also could be that some of these reviewers just DON'T like trucks.

As trucks go, the AV is solid. As for the brakes, the feel is lousy, but they do PERFORM better than the brakes on competitive vehicles. The AV is never going to stop like a BMW 3-Series, it is going to stop like a truck. Steering feel is also trucklike, but among the best out there as far as trucks go. I also agree that it is a whole lot better than many cars.

midlifecrisis said:
It's amazing that people can rip the Av like that. ?There are thousands of components on an Av, and it only 2 or 3 are highlighted as being bad, than I think the Av is doing pretty well.
On top of that, this was supposedly a "Long Term" test meaning that they should have been commenting about the durability and maintenance requirements of the vehicle. Unless the steering or brakes changed noticably over the course of the test it shouldn't have even been a topic for conversation.

Same goes for the interior. They're entirely right that there are nicer interiors on other $40K vehicles, but they are by and large half the size of the Avalanche. Personally I'd sacrifice a little leather and some wooden dash trim for twice as much vehicle any day.

I have no issues with the steering but the Brakes are a Chevy problem in General On my S10 On my Silverado and on my Avalanche I will take the brakes on the Avalanche over my 99 Silverado any day I actually used to panic whenever I hit the brakes hard in that thing. The ABS would actually fight you even though there was no slippage I had times where pulling up to a light and hitting some small bumbs I would actually lose my brakes for a few seconds scared me to death sometimes. I'll take the Avalanches brakes anyday over a Silverado.
What mag was that from?
This is the 3rd new vehicle I have purchased. It is by far the tightest I have ever had. Love everything about it. As far as the breaks go, your stopping 6,500+ pounds. I always try to break easy. Never tried to lock them up, might have to try it one time... can you say break check!

Consumer Reports listed the 2003 Chevrolet Avalanche in the top 10 picks for 2003.

Link to consumerreports.org Top 10 for 2003

The AV is a truck, you can't compare it to a car. These writers mostly like cars and hate trucks, no matter what. I remember hearing a Car and Driver Editor say that even. We are Car and Driver, we like cars, not trucks. Most don't keep an open mind and judge the vehicle based on what it is.

The AV is a truck that drives very carlike considering it is a T R U C K!!! I don't see anything wrong with the steering. The brakes are ok, they can fade a bit during rush hour traffic. But they are nothing like the brakes in the old G body 80s Monte Carlos, Grand Prixs and Regals. I can't begin to count the number of heart attacks I had trying to stop my 86 Monte Carlo, knuckles white, two feet on the pedal, one eye closed preparing for the worst.

If these guys love cars so much, then they should stick to reviewing cars and the magizine can come pay us TRUCK lovers to review TRUCKS!!!
amd1900mp said:
Consumer Reports listed the 2003 Chevrolet Avalanche in the top 10 picks for 2003.
Just read that article and the Avalanche was actually their #1 for the Pickup Truck category. They listed the top picks in 10 different categories to get those 10 vehicles. Interestingly enough, SUV was NOT a category that they rated. They had Midsize SUV, Small SUV, and "Affordable Versatility" which the Vibe/Matrix took. I wonder if the days of the Land Yacht SUVs are numbered due to recent sales? Seems the Tahoe has been doing really well the last few years.
That dude obviously had some pent up hatred he needed to vent. I would agree with the loose steering and mushy brakes...it took a little bit of time to get used to compared to my Dodge Ram. However....this truck handles incredible. I wrecked my Ram twice because I could stop fast enough....Ramed into the back end of two people.

My only gripe is the interior quality...I must say that I am very disapointed with the amount of noise coming from the dash, seats, rear window area...etc..etc..etc. I have not heard of too many folks with major mechanical problems....so what is the problem?
beefy said:
I have not heard of too many folks with major mechanical problems....so what is the problem?

The problem is an anti-truck/anti-Avalanche bias on the part of the reviewers.