Full-size SUVs aren't as common as they were just a decade ago, but the big names are still towing, hauling, and carrying in ways no crossover can. For the 2015 model year, the Chevy Tahoe signs up for more of that hard work, with a revamped powertrain, a crisp new look, and more comfort and safety conveniences.
It's a derivative of GM's big pickup-truck and SUV family of vehicles, so the Tahoe's look is familiar. The front end's close to that of the 2014 Chevy Silverado 1500 pickup truck, but Chevy says the two vehicles don't share any sheetmetal. Elsewhere, the Tahoe's very crisply folded wagon body has much more in common with the 2015 Chevy Suburban--its long-wheelbase companion--and with the 2015 GMC Yukon.
The Tahoe sits on a wheelbase 116 inches long; the Suburban's span is 130 inches. (GMC's Yukon has the same parallel with the Yukon XL.)
Aerodynamically, the new Tahoe improves on the outgoing model, despite sheetmetal that's lost almost all the softness introduced with the last-generation Tahoe, back in 2007. The cabin is the relief from all the hard, straight edges that define the new Tahoe: the cockpit, if you can call it that on an eight-passenger vehicle, is soothingly smooth and curved, with an 8.0-inch LCD touchscreen centerpiece and more overt car influences than ever.
Last year the Tahoe dropped its hybrid edition. For the major model change, it fits just a single drivetrain, GM's latest 5.3-liter V-8 coupled to a six-speed automatic transmission. It's rated at 355 horsepower and 383 pound-feet of torque, in both rear-drive and four-wheel-drive form. GM hasn't published performance estimates or gas mileage predictions, but it does boast the Tahoe will be best in its class--largely due to direct injection and cylinder deactivation.
The Tahoe now benefits from the fuel-saving assistance of electric power steering, too, and its body is constructed of more high-strength steel, which GM claims will deliver a better, stiffer, body. The standard suspension is a live-axle, leaf-spring rear, but the Tahoe LTZ offers GM's Magnetic Ride Control, which uses shocks filled with magnetically charged fluid that changes damping rates every few milliseconds.
The Tahoe can tow up to 8,500 pounds.
GM says it's put a lot of engineering effort into improving the Tahoe's functionality, safety, and infotainment features. Third-row access is better because the seats fold flat now, and getting in the way-back is easier thanks to a couple more inches in second-row leg room. The cabin's storage bins are more useful too, with a center console bin deep enough to hold tablet or small notebook computers.
The Tahoe tops off a revised safety package with GM's new front-center airbags, on models with front bucket seats. Adaptive cruise control is an option, as are a lane-departure warning system with seat-mounted haptic alerts, blind-spot monitors, forward collision alerts, and front parking sensors.
Other available features include keyless entry; pushbutton start; an 8.0-inch LCD touchscreen radio with Chevy MyLink connectivity; a head-up display; a power tailgate; a cargo-management system; and up to six USB ports and six power outlets. A Blu-Ray DVD entertainment system will also be an option on the Tahoe, as will wheels sized up to 22 inches.
The new Chevy Tahoe goes on sale in the first quarter of 2014. Pricing has not yet been announced.
- Upright styling
- Excellent new V-8 drivetrain
- Big LCD love for the cabin
- Fold-flat seats
- Upright styling
- V-8 only--no diesel, no hybrid