Home » Goin’ To Graceland: 2008 Chevy Avalanche vs 2005 Chrysler 300

Goin’ To Graceland: 2008 Chevy Avalanche vs 2005 Chrysler 300

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Good morning! Today’s Shitbox Showdown takes us to Memphis, Tennessee, where a fairly well-known singer once had a modest home. Before we head south and east, however, let’s see which Reno ride you picked yesterday:

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The Jeep takes it, by a comfortable margin. I agree. This may not be the Holy Grail, but I still feel you have chosen wisely.

So… Off we go to Memphis. Or “Mimphis,” as the locals often pronounce it. One of a few American cities named after ancient Egyptian ones, along with Cairo, Illinois, which you would think is pronounced like the Egyptian city but in fact is pronounced “kay-ro.” However you want to say it, I’ve a reason to believe we all will be received if we arrive there in one of these two choice rides. Let’s check them out.

2008 Chevrolet Avalanche – $3,000

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Engine/drivetrain: 5.3 liter overhead valve V8, four-speed automatic, RWD

Location: Memphis, TN

Odometer reading: 200,000 miles

Runs/drives? Yep

The Chevy Avalanche suffered from a bit of an identity crisis. It was essentially a crew-cab pickup with a one-piece body (as opposed to a separate cab and bed; it’s still body-on-frame) like an SUV, but its unique “midgate” allowed drivers to sacrifice the back seat temporarily to make a nearly-normal-sized pickup bed. It was a clever idea, and I always thought a pretty good-looking vehicle (especially the second-generation like this one), but it didn’t sell in nearly the numbers that ordinary crew-cab pickups did, and GM discontinued the Avalanche in 2013.

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This is a pretty fancy Avalanche, with a leather interior that’s still in good condition. I’m reasonably sure, based on the ride height, that this is a two-wheel-drive model. Most Avalanches came with a 5.3 liter version of GM’s LS family of V8 engines, so that’s what I’m assuming is under the hood of this one as well. The ad is a little light on specifics.

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It has been dinged in the right front, and had the fender and bumper skin replaced. They’re in flat-black primer instead of the nice burnt orange of the rest of the truck. It also has a bit of rust in the left rear wheel well. Apparently, bodywork and paint is too much of an expense for the seller, so they’re unloading it as-is.

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The good news is that they say it runs well, and at 200,000 miles it should still have some life left in it. If you don’t mind the unintentional two-tone exterior, you could just drive it as is.

2005 Chrysler 300 Touring – $3,200

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Engine/drivetrain: 3.5 liter overhead cam V6, four-speed automatic, RWD

Location: Memphis, TN

Odometer reading: 235,000 miles

Runs/drives? Indeed

Imagine it’s 1985. You’re standing in a Chrysler-Plymouth dealership, and someone tells you that in twenty years, Chrysler will introduce a new full-sized rear-wheel-drive sedan, with an available Hemi V8, based on Mercedes-Benz architecture, and not only that, it will remain in production for almost two decades, and gain a reasonable reputation for durability and reliability. You would take one look at the K- and E- cars littering the showroom, and laugh. And yet, here we are.

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The LX/LD platform’s days are numbered, but the cars have been a success by any measure. They’re depreciating into our price range now, and surprisingly, examples like this still look like they’re worth having. This 300 Touring is well north of two hundred thousand miles, but it looks good, and the seller says it runs well. It’s equipped with a 3.5 liter V6 and Chrysler’s own “Ultradrive” four-speed automatic, which had some teething problems, but by this point was pretty reliable, as long as you kept the fluid clean.

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The interior and exterior of this car look nice and clean. I’d like to be able to show a better overall photo of it, but the seller only seems to be able to take extreme close-ups (whoa!). But you all know what a Chrysler 300 looks like anyway, right?

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It’s a far cry from an old K-car, that’s for sure. It ain’t perfect, but it has held up well.

So there you have it: two modern-ish rides from Elvis’s old stomping grounds. One cool but banged-up reconfigurable truck, and one clean example of what has turned out to be the last big rear-wheel-drive American sedan. What’ll it be?


(Image credits: Craigslist sellers)

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50 Responses

  1. I like the truck over the RWD sedan. This isn’t the only reason, but I have to say, I have always thought light gray leather looks like crap, even in good shape

  2. Even in that condition, the Avalanche is a bargain. I have a 2013 Avalanche, and it’s probably the most useful vehicle I’ve ever owned. They were sold in huge numbers and share many parts with the Suburban and Tahoe, so parts are cheap and plentiful. It’s as luxurious as an Escalade and seriously capable. When it comes right down to it, nothing can compare to that midgate.

    I’ve carried everything from a riding lawnmower to a diner booth to a picnic table in the back of my truck with the midgate down, but with it up, the Avalanche is quiet and relatively refined. It’s the only car I own that fits in equally well at a jobsite or valet parking at The Standard in LA. Not to mention that in the summertime, you can take out the rear glass, open the sunroof and windows, and it’s almost as open as a Jeep.

    Avalanches go for a lot nowadays, even the older ones. I’d jump on this one.

  3. The song that comes to mind is “Galway to Graceland” by Richard Thompson. I wen Avalanche since a backless Suburban seemed more useful than a Hemi less 300. My neighbor has an Avalanche and uses the hell out of it hauling lumber and towing his camper so it can be very useful

  4. Avalanche. I still miss my ‘07 LTZ first year of the second generation. Best riding and driving ‘truck’ I have owned. It wasn’t without a few issues but I put over 150k mostly trouble free miles on mine. The 07-08 still had the made of glass 4 speed automatic but with 200k that’s probably Ku been rebuilt at least once already. The 5.3 is pretty bullet proof. The 300 is a big CP.

  5. I have a love-hate relationship with the Avalanche as a former owner. Mine was a first gen Z66 with the plastic cladding. In typical GM fashion there were some issues in the steering and suspension that the dealership could never fix and the rear auto-locker would randomly lock going over rough roads and occasionally when making turns so the rear tires would skip and chirp. When it was acting up i absolutely hated the thing. However, when it was behaving I absolutely loved driving the beast. The concept was great for my use and I did drop the mid-gate quite a bit for carrying long loads. I was happy to trade it in at the time but I keep warning my wife that at some point we’ll get another one.

  6. The 300 has the better if the V6’s back then. It should survive longer than a DFM 5.3 with over 200K miles. I do like the avalanche better, but it is Definitely a money pit.

  7. If the Avalanche is clean underneath then it is the east choice. It still has life left in it, the Chrysler probably doesn’t have much time left. Plus one is useful and the other is a non-Hemi Daimler era product.

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