Never got any respect: The Chevrolet Avalanche

There are many cars that, for one reason or another, never caught on among the general population despite being all-around solid performance machines. Whether it was lackluster looks or poor marketing, there are numerous nameplates whose production run was cut short because the general public couldn’t find a way to embrace them for one reason or another. recently compiled a list of the most underrated cars currently on the market – essentially models that fit the bill as best in class, or even belong in a class of their own, but still aren’t the bestsellers that their brands had hoped they’d be.

The Chevrolet Avalanche is one obvious choice on the list that has been getting a bad rap for years despite being competent as both a pickup truck and an SUV. Chevrolet essentially took the best features of its two strongest products – the Tahoe sport utility and Silverado pickup – put them in a blender and then threw some extra cladding on the side for good measure. When the car was first introduced in 2001, it drew criticism for its looks, which many argued were too futuristic and other’s derided for being too cheap and plasticy. By 2003, the car was given a much more vanilla trim package, with the excess classing removed and the front fascia designed to match that year’s Silverado.

2003 Chevrolet Avalanche

Despite the controversy over aesthetics, sales of the Avalanche were healthy if not spectacular, and for good reason. It benefitted from the General’s tried and true GMT800 platform, which, though slightly aged by the time the Avalanche began production, was and remains one of the best underpinnings for a full-sized truck sold stateside.

After abruptly going from unique and eye-catching to simple and somewhat unassuming after the 2003 redesign, GM’s design team had already been busy hitting the drawing board in attempts to create a follow-up that would really get the public excited. To coincide with the introduction of the all-new full-sized lineup of trucks and SUVs in 2007, GM had created a new Avalanche that had a different mug and profile from every other car in the lineup, though it was noticeably less adventurous than the original 2001 model.

Despite the tamer appearance, this beefier Avalanche was even more successful at combining the best aspects of a car and a truck. The interior was bigger and the look more commanding, although it hardly resulted in an increase in sales. This is a combination of bad timing, as gas prices had increased markedly over the next three years, and there was a huge public backlash when it came to SUVs and gas guzzlers (this was around the time that the once insanely popular Hummer marque was discontinued sales of hybrid vehicles took off). The redesign also put-off many individuals who had embraced the bold, original look of the 2001 Avalanche, which likely lost them a lot of resales.

Cadillac Escalade EXT

Ultimately, in April of 2012, after a respectable run, GM announced that the Avalanche and it’s sister car, the Cadillac Escalade EXT, will be discontinued, as annual sales dropped to just around 20,000 units for the truck.

Do you think that the Avalanche never got its fair due, despite a decade-plus market run? Or is there another car on the market that never got enough respect? Leave your thoughts below: