Top-Rated 2012 Pickups: Performance & Design
The annual J.D. Power Automotive Performance, Execution and Layout StudySM (APEAL) measures consumer satisfaction with the design and performance of new vehicles. Survey respondents must have purchased a new vehicle and owned it for at least 90 days prior to completing the survey, which asks them to share thoughts about how their new vehicle performs, how it looks and feels, how comfortable it is, how the features and controls work, and more. This 2012 Pickups buyer's guide lists, in alphabetical order, those trucks receiving the highest overall APEAL ratings.
Offered in LS, LT, and LTZ trim levels, the 2012 Chevy Avalanche is a cross between a pickup truck and an SUV, and is among the top-rated 2012 pickups for performance and design. Built on the same platform as the big Chevy Suburban, the Avalanche is equipped with 5-passenger seating and a short cargo bed that can be expanded by removing the vehicle's rear cab wall and folding the back seat down.
For 2012, Chevrolet adds hill-start assist and trailer sway control to the standard equipment list, the LT trim level is equipped with standard heated front seats, and the LTZ gains a standard heated steering wheel. A new navigation radio system debuts, along with Silver Ice and Topaz Blue paint colors.
An E85-compatible 5.3-liter V-8 engine is standard, delivering 320 horsepower. The engine features Active Fuel Management, which operates the engine on 4 cylinders under certain driving conditions to maximize fuel economy. The EPA says this truck gets up to 21 mpg on the highway, and Chevrolet claims the Avalanche tows up to 8,100 pounds of weight.