It may not be cheap, but the Chevy Avalanche is one slick, innovative truck, an impressive concept vehicle that made it all the way to production. Built on the same chassis as the Chevrolet Suburban and every bit as big, the Avalanche combines the passenger-pampering comfort of a Tahoe with the load-hauling capability of a long-bed Silverado pickup. That's an impressive combination for someone who sometimes wants the utility of an eight-foot bed and other times needs seating for four, five or even six people.
The key to this truck's versatility is its clever Midgate, which is like having a second tailgate between the cabin and bed. Normally, the Avalanche can carry five adults in comfort and a large amount of cargo in a covered, 5-foot 3-inch indestructible bed. But when you need more space, the rear seats fold down, the Midgate folds forward, and voila! You have an eight-foot bed capable of hauling 4x8-foot sheets of plywood. And your plywood, or drywall, stays dry inside the covered bed, out of the rain. Or take the cover off the bed, remove the rear window and you can park an ATV back there.