What's New for 2003

In the 2003 model year the Chevrolet Silverado, Tahoe, and Suburban introduced major changes to the interior, and the Avalanche reaped the benefit of these changes.  The exterior of the Silverado, Tahoe, Suburban were also updated, and received an Avalanche inspired snarling grille, although the headlight configuration remained reversed with market lamps on top, and headlamps on the bottom on the Avalanche.

Bob Lutz, the new North American Vice-Chairman of General Motors product philosophy is evident in the 2003 Avalanche with some features that were standard becoming optional, and some features that were optional becoming standard.  The introduction of the "WBH," or Without Body Hardware model introduced the Avalanche to a whole new group of owners, absent the controversial lower cladding, and saving the buyer $600.

Later in the model year Sage Green disappeared as a color, as did the very controversial green and orange North Face interior.  The North Face edition lived on with a slate interior, and bright yellow was introduced as a new color.  Also later in the year the Chevrolet Avalanche 2500 series 4X2 production ended, making it one of the rarest Avalanches on the road.

Product refinements from first year product was also evident in the 2003 Avalanche.  The biggest improvement was to the 2003 2500 series fuel system, solving the problem of being able to fill up the gas tank and in brake pedal feel.  General Motors efforts on the Avalanche paid off handsomely, winning a coveted Consumer Reports Recommendation in early 2003.

Major changes from the 2002 model year include these standard features added:

  • Dark charcoal lower cladding, cargo cover, and c-pillar buttress - however several hundred 2003 Avalanches in yellow came with the 2002 colored cladding
  • Dual-zone Manual Climate Control
  • New AM/FM stereo with station data information, improved display, CD and 6 speakers
  • New design on the standard 16" rims for the 1500 series
  • Driver's Information Center - however to access all features you will need the optional steering wheel controls
  • Passenger sensing airbag system with status display in rearview mirror
  • Fuel economy improved by 1 MPG city and highway on 2003 1500 series 4X4 models
  • Improved braking performance with a marked improvement in brake pedal feel and modulation
  • Four position headlamp switch including a setting to disable automatic headlamps
  • Improvement to the battery rundown prevention system
  • Completely redesigned interior, dashboard, and instrument cluster
  • 145 Amp alternator (see comments below)
  • Three new colors, charcoal gray, signal blue, and yellow

Major deletions from the 2002 model year include the removal of these standard features:

  • Driver and front-passenger side air bags, made optional
  • Trailering package, made optional - transmission cooler removed from package
  • Lamp for under the hood, deleted - dimmer switch for visor vanity mirror illumination, deleted
    Replacement fuses and toolkit, under hood, deleted
  • Power lumbar adjustment on the optional leather bucket seats, removed
  • Z-66 stickers on option package, removed (although early production 2003 models still had the Z-66 stickers)
  • Soft-tonneau cover option available only on 1500 series WBH equipped Avalanches
  • 2500 series 4X2 model production ended in spring of 2003
  • Sage green, and indigo blue deleted as colors, some sage green 2003 North Face models were built through December of 2002, but are very rare
  • Ground clearance on 2WD and 4WD models dropped by 1/10 of an inch

New option packages or changes to option packages on the 2003 model include:

  • Driver convenience package replaces Luxury convenience package including the following items, Multi-zone automatic climate control, Steering wheel with redundant radio controls and scrolling message center with personalization features, Adjustable power pedals Homelink Universal transmitter, and power folding outside rearview mirrors
  • Bucket leather seats with center console, Bose AM/FM Stereo with in-dash 6-disc CD changer, and eight speaker Bose system, rear seat audio controls, and driver and front passenger heated seats with three settings
  • WBH option package removes the body hardware (lower cladding), available on 1500 series Avalanche only
  • Panasonic DVD Passenger Entertainment System
  • XM Satellite Radio (requires subscription)
  • Personal Security Package - Including OnStar, 1-year Safe and Sound service, Side Impact air bags, Steering wheel with redundant radio controls and scrolling message center with personalization features
  • Ground effects package added as an option including rigid molded mud flaps and a front air dam
  • North Face Edition interior color changes from green to slate gray

145 Amp Alternator On The 2003 Avalanche

Although the product specification called for a 145 Amp Alternator on 2003 models, the 2003 Avalanche shipped with 105 Amp alternators.  A small number of Avalanches were released from the factory with the smaller alternator, but with the 145 Amp alternator listed as a standard feature on the window sticker.  Some owners complained and successfully had their alternators upgraded at no charge.  This upgrade only applied to 2003 Avalanches that had a 145 Amp alternator listed as a standard feature on the window sticker, and did not apply to all Avalanches.  The product specification was changed very early in production back to 105 Amp Alternator, which was standard on the 2002 model.