2013 Chevrolet Avalanche

General Motors announced last week that it will discontinue the Chevrolet Avalanche pickup truck after the 2013 model year. The fate of the Avalanche’s corporate twin, the Cadillac Escalade EXT, is still unclear. "Long term, I don't think we're ready to talk about that yet, but there's nothing that changes the current Cadillac Escalade EXT," Cadillac Spokesman Dave Caldwell told The Detroit News.

For 2013, the Avalanche will gain a special trim level, called the Black Diamond, but all trim levels will add more standard features, and the base Avalanche LS’ price will drop by $2,500 compared with the 2012 model. The Avalanche is already better-equipped than most base model pickup trucks, and for 2013, base models will include standard features like rear parking sensors and a backup camera, according to Kicking Tires.

Debuting in 2002, the Avalanche was one of the first sport utility pickup trucks on the market. It’s based more heavily on a full-size SUV platform than on a truck platform, which means it’s a bit more comfortable and easy to drive than a truck, but its pickup bed gives it more utility than an SUV. Shoppers will most likely miss the Avalanche’s unique midgate, which expands the 5-foot-3-inch bed to more than 8 feet long. The Cadillac Escalade EXT offers this midgate, but it’s not available on any other pickup truck.

Sport utility trucks have fallen out of favor in the past several years, with the discontinuation of the Ford Explorer Sport Trac, the Hummer H2T and now the Avalanche. Analysts say that the Avalanche’s discontinuation is likely due to the rising popularity of other crew cab pickup trucks and its relatively high price. “If you’re wondering what the difference is between the Avalanche and, say, a Silverado Crew Cab—well, besides the midgate—the past few years apparently consumers began to ask the same question,” writes Car and Driver.

Sometimes, the discontinuation of a model means you can get a better deal on it. However, Edmunds.com Analyst Jessica Caldwell recommends that shoppers opt for a used Avalanche instead. “In this case, though, bargain-hunters interested in pickup trucks may instead want to consider a lightly used model, as this segment is one of the few in which used vehicle prices have been falling recently," Caldwell said to the Los Angeles Times.

The 2013 Chevrolet Avalanche will be available later in 2012 and will start at $35,980.

Shopping for a Chevrolet Avalanche or another new pickup truck? Check out the U.S. News rankings of this year's best cars. Then, look for a great deal on a new car by checking out this month’s best car deals. You can also skip negotiating with a dealer by using our Best Price Program. Also, be sure to follow us on Twitter and Facebook.