Chevrolet Avalanche LT
We used this truck to tow our Angler 204FX for an entire season. It did the job without flinching. Our 20' boat proved no problem - this SUV's 5.3L Vortec V-8 engine had enough juice to easily tow up to 7,800 pounds. The four-speed automatic transmission has a tow/haul mode, which allows quicker shifting for smoother towing. En route, we could make rapid stops without incident, a key attribute when towing in heavy traffic where other cars aren't shy about cutting off someone with a boat in tow.
The biggest plus for long road trips is the Avalanche's roomy interior, which is similar to the Chevrolet Tahoe's. (It claims to comfortably seat six, but we never had more than five.) Plus it has a pickup storage bed that can be covered and locked with three snap-in inserts, good for wet messy gear you don't want in the cab. The storage boxes on the sides also lock. Chevrolet seems most proud of the midgate feature, which it calls Convert-a-Cab. Essentially, you can extend your cargo bed to a full 8'-by-4' by pushing down the cab's aft bulkhead and folding down the back seats. I used this feature several times when I was too lazy to break apart my fishing rods. Our Avalanche listed for $45,619 and came equipped with a lot of pricey options, including leather seats, dual-zone air conditioning, adjustable gas and break pedals, a remote vehicle starter, a six-CD changer with MP3 jack, navigation and satellite radio, 20" wheels, and a sunroof. All that added close to $10,000 to the base price. The other area where you'll pay more is at the fuel pump. Chevrolet lists the Avalanche as having a 15-mpg city/20-mpg highway rating. We never achieved better than 18 mpg, and towing the boat we averaged 13 mpg.
|Land vs. Water|
|Comparative costs for a four-day cruise|
|Angler 204FX/Avalanche||Angler 2900 CC|
|200 (by road)||Miles to destination||125 (by water)|
|4||Travel time (hours)||4½|
|$3.20 (on road)||Gas/gal (avg.)||$3.90 (at marinas)|
|$208||Total fuel cost||$786|
|$0 (ramp/parking)||Fees||$90/day (marina)|