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The Chevy Avalanche's Folding Mid-Gate Is The Best Feature Found On Only One Vehicle

Illustration for article titled The Chevy Avalanches Folding Mid-Gate Is The Best Feature Found On Only One Vehicle
Photo: Chevrolet

When one automotive company comes up with a good feature on a car, it usually eventually makes its way to other vehicles. But sometimes, good ideas come and go with only a handful of examples. I think one of the best, if not the best feature that is only on one vehicle is the folding mid-gate on the Chevy Avalanche. It is an excellent feature, with the only drawback being that you have to own an Avalanche to have it.

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It does exist on a couple of other vehicles that share the platform, namely the Escalade EXT and the Hummer H2 SUT. Toyota had the bB Open Deck, but it had a microscopic bed to begin with. There are also trucks and truck-like-things that have pass-throughs, like the Subaru Baja, but these are always too small. The Avalanche’s entire mid-gate folds down allowing for an eight-foot truck bed. When you don’t need the bed, the gate folds up, the seats fold up, and you can haul five people around. It’s a full-size bed when you need it and a full-size cab when you don’t. Excellent versatility.

Illustration for article titled The Chevy Avalanches Folding Mid-Gate Is The Best Feature Found On Only One Vehicle
Image: Chevrolet
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Sure, the folded gate eliminates a structural shear plane, making the truck like a big matchbox. This is likely why it has those giant sail pillars at the front of the bed, and why it has a continuous body instead of the separate cab and bed you typically see on trucks. It needs the extra structure to maintain rigidity. But this seems like a solved problem. Now it’s a transformer car. Who doesn’t want a transformer car?

Matt Brown is an automotive engineer, writer, and builder of unconventional things. Mostly vehicles.

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DISCUSSION

Having owned a 2007 Avalanche for 10 years and 160k miles I can say it was definitely the most versatile vehicle I have ever owned.  The mid gate was great the hand full of times I needed it.  With the bed covers on that entire 8 ft bed was waterproof as well.  I miss that vehicle and would have been a buyer of a new one if GM wouldn’t have stopped making them.  They rode better than any full sized truck on the market too.  It was a great vehicle on the highway.