2019 Chevrolet Tahoe Review

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2018
The Car Connection
2018
The Car Connection

The Car Connection Expert Review

Andrew Ganz Andrew Ganz
October 16, 2018

The 2019 Chevrolet Tahoe carries the torch as one of the most capable SUVs out there.

With an old-school mentality and some new-age features, the 2019 Chevrolet Tahoe remains a rugged, reliable workhorse that can be dressed up or down for almost any kind of duty.

Thanks to a truck platform and some strong engine options, the Tahoe hauls more and goes further off-road than most crossovers while still maintaining some civility. We’ve rated it at 6.2 out of 10 overall. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

Soldiering on for another year before a new generation comes out soon, the Tahoe gets a handful of changes for 2019, including the addition of a Premier Plus Special Edition package, which adds the 6.2-liter V-8, 22-inch wheels, power retractable steps, some exterior flair, and a black and brown leather interior, among other features. The rest of the lineup consists of the LS, LT, and Premier trim levels.

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If you’re not a fan of the Tahoe’s style, the 2019 GMC Yukon is almost exactly the same SUV, but with a slightly more luxurious flair from the Denali trim option. For those looking for more space, the Chevrolet Suburban and GMC Yukon XL add a stretched wheelbase and about 20 more inches of length. The Cadillac Escalade also shares the same underpinnings, but packs significantly more luxury features and chrome style on top.

With the exception of the RST and new Premier Plus Special Edition, all Tahoes come standard with a 5.3-liter V-8 and 6-speed automatic transmission, which makes a respectable 355 horsepower. The optional 6.2-liter V-8 is much more powerful, managing 420 horsepower with the help of a 10-speed automatic transmission. Rear-wheel drive is standard and four-wheel drive is an extra cost option on all Tahoes.

The Tahoe is built on a body-on-frame architecture, which lends it a truck-like ride and lots of ground clearance; it's no crossover. It can tow up to 8,400 pounds. It may not be the best-handling or quickest SUV, but the Tahoe has a comfortable ride, and its softly sprung suspension handles bad roads with aplomb.

Front seat occupants will find their seats plenty comfortable, but the Tahoe gets less accommodating as you move further back in rows to the third-row seat. The Custom package on the LS model deletes the third-row seat in favor of in-floor storage bins. Unfortunately, this does nothing to lower the Tahoe’s inconveniently-high load floor.

As you’d expect from a $45,000 truck, all Tahoes come reasonably well equipped, but a loaded-up version easily crests $60,000. This puts it squarely in the field with some smaller and less capable luxury models that have the advantage of badge superiority. Some desirable safety features come standard on LT and Premier trims and are optional on LS, including automatic emergency braking and adaptive cruise control.

With a V-8 and plenty of heft, the 2019 Tahoe is no fuel miser, but isn’t nearly as thirsty as trucks of the past, managing 19 mpg combined with rear-wheel drive equipped.

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2019 Chevrolet Tahoe

Styling

The 2019 Chevrolet Tahoe remains a handsome and old-fashioned design, inside and out.

The 2019 Chevrolet Tahoe has a clean, timeless exterior design and a surprisingly car-like interior, both of which are enough to warrant a 6 out of 10 overall. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

With a squared-off two-box design, the Tahoe keeps things relatively simple, with a silhouette that could as easily be from 1999 as 2019. Up front, the odd-shaped split headlights remain, framing a large, chrome-heavy grille. Out back, there’s much less visual flair, with a rectangular tailgate design and boxy taillights. The RST trim—or Rally Sport Truck—cuts back the chrome in favor of black accents and 22-inch wheels that give the Tahoe a much sportier look.

The new Premier Plus Special Edition package adds more luxurious options such as 22-inch alloys and a handsome brown and black leather interior. The front seat features split captains’ chairs unless the fleet-only bench seat is selected, and there’s a wide center console between the seats that holds plenty of stuff. Several interior options are available, but you’re unlikely to find more than a few cloth and leather options on dealer lots.

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2019 Chevrolet Tahoe

Performance

The 2019 Chevrolet Tahoe offers big V-8 performance and a smooth, comfortable ride.

If you like V-8 power, the 2019 Chevrolet Tahoe delivers, but with labored handling from its truck-like construction, it loses ground to more agile SUVs. That combination makes for a 6 out of 10 points on our scale. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

The majority of 2019 Tahoes will leave the Arlington, Texas, factory with a 5.3-liter V-8 that makes 355 horsepower and 383 pound-feet of torque. With plenty of power, a rich sound, and a tried-and-true 6-speed automatic transmission, this powertrain is practically perfect for most everyday use. This V-8 also has the ability to run on just four cylinders in low-load situations, helping push fuel economy into the 20-plus mpg range, solid numbers for a full-size SUV that can tow up to 8,600 pounds in the right guise.

Underneath, the Tahoe shares a frame with the outgoing Chevrolet Silverado, though it adds coil springs in the rear for a better ride quality but less towing capacity.

Naturally, Tahoes fitted with standard 17-inch and optional 18-inch wheels ride better, with decent body control and a softer feel, while the 20- and 22-inch wheels that add heaps of style also add a heap of firmness in the ride without much improving handling.The thick four-spoke steering wheel is large and offers a more precise feel than trucks of yore, but with 5,700 pounds of weight to haul around, it’s no sports truck.

Off-road, the 204-inch length and 81-inch width make the Tahoe challenging to maneuver on tighter trails, but the optional four-wheel-drive system can also be hand with a two-speed transfer case that packs high- and low-range gears. Opting for the Z71 package nets skid plates, recovery hooks, and light-duty all-terrain tires.

We’ve put the Tahoe and its GM siblings through their paces in terms of towing, and found that the standard tow/haul mode helps keep the truck from downshifting too quickly and maintains a smooth, steady ride.

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2019 Chevrolet Tahoe

Comfort & Quality

The 2019 Chevrolet Tahoe has a lot of room inside, with a few compromises.

Thanks to excellent build quality, supportive seats, and above-average cargo carrying space, we’ve given the 2019 Chevrolet Tahoe 8 out of 10 points. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

Though a front bench seat is an option on fleet models, nearly all 2019 Tahoes come standard with bucket seats with full power adjustment for the driver. LS models have cloth upholstery as standard, while LT and Premier trims add leather and power operation for the passenger.

In the second row, things are a bit less comfortable. Outboard passengers will find decent legroom and plenty of headroom. Most models pack a 60/40 split bench, while some packages offer a pair of rear captain’s chairs for better pass-through ability to the third row.

Smaller, more nimble adults will find the third row easy enough to access, but the high floor makes things pretty uncomfortable for almost anyone.

Unfortunately, the combination of a separate frame and third row seat make the cargo floor inconveniently high off the ground, even if you delete the third-row option by selecting the Custom package on the Tahoe LS.

With both rear rows folded, the Tahoe offers almost 95 cubic feet of cargo room, and with the second row upright, there’s still an impressive 52 cubes behind the seats. That space drops dramatically with the third row in place to 15.3 cubes, but that’s still enough to swallow some small bags or a stroller.

All Tahoes that we’ve tested have felt well-assembled, and even the base LS interior is composed of soft-touch materials and stitched panels on the dash and doors.

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2019 Chevrolet Tahoe

Safety

The 2019 Chevrolet Tahoe can be fitted with crash-avoidance tech, but full safety scores are not available.

With mass on its side, the 2019 Chevrolet Tahoe is reasonably safe, though suffers from some of the drawbacks of other large trucks and SUVs.

However, with no crash-test results from the IIHS, we cannot assign the 2019 Tahoe a score. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

All Tahoes comes standard with sevenairbags, including a novel central airbag that inflates to keep front seat occupants from colliding with each other in the event of a crash.

Anti-lock brakes and stability control are standard, while a suite of active safety tech is standard on LT and Premier trims and optional on LS. The collision-avoidance package includes automatic emergency braking, active lane control, automatic high-beams, and power-adjustable pedals. The system delivers audible alerts like many others, but also vibrates the base of the driver’s seat to signal a concern. Adaptive cruise control is relegated only to Premier-level Tahoes.

The Tahoe received a four-star overall rating from the NHTSA for both rear- and four-wheel drive models, with frontal and side impact scores managing five stars. The overall rating is brought down by the tall-riding SUV's three-star rollover resistance rating.

If the IIHS crashes a Tahoe, we'll update this space.

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2019 Chevrolet Tahoe

Features

The 2019 Chevrolet Tahoe ranges from work-ready to luxury truck for a wide range of prices.

The 2019 Chevrolet Tahoe comes in three major trim levels, each with a wide variety of options and packages, not to mention a fantastic infotainment system. This merits an 8 out of 10 on our scale. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

The base LS trim includes standard dual-zone automatic climate control, an 8.0-inch infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, Bluetooth phone and audio support, and five USB ports throughout the vehicle. GM’s excellent 4G LTE Wi-Fi system comes standard as well, though customers will incur a monthly fee to use it after the initial trial period.

Stepping up to the LT trim adds leather upholstery, heated front seats, Bose audio, a power tailgate, and safety features such as automatic emergency braking and automatic high-beam headlights. The Luxury Package adds keyless entry, push-button start, a power-folding rear seat, heated steering wheel, and blind-spot monitors.

Other options include a power moonroof, rear seat DVD entertainment system, and some styling flair such as larger wheels.

A Premier-spec Tahoe can top $75,000 fully-loaded, but with cooled seats, navigation, wood effect trim, and magnetic dampers, it’s a convincing luxury SUV with everything but the badge.

The LT and Premier trims offer the off-road savvy Z71 package, which adds all-terrain tires, hill descent control, skid plates, and more, but doesn’t quite turn the Tahoe into a rock crawler.

The Premier Plus Special Edition package is new for 2019 and adds special appearance features as well as the 6.2-liter V-8 and 10-speed automatic transmission. This package also adds a unique interior, a rear seat entertainment system, power-folding seats, a head-up display, and more.

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2019 Chevrolet Tahoe

Fuel Economy

The 2019 Chevrolet Tahoe is less thirsty than you might expect.

Thanks to a 26-gallon fuel tank, the 2019 Chevrolet Tahoe manages an impressive range to offset its truck-like fuel economy, warranting a 3 out of 10 on our scale. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

The 5.3-liter V-8 that comes standard with all Tahoes can run on either regular unleaded gasoline or E85 ethanol. Rear-wheel drive models manage 16 mpg city, 23 highway, and 19 combined, but those numbers drop to 16/22/18 with four-wheel drive equipped. If you spend a lot of time on the highway, the Tahoe will reward you with mileage well over 20 mpg thanks to its thrifty cylinder deactivation technology that turns the Tahoe into a four-cylinder in low load situations.

Unsurprisingly, the 6.2-liter V-8 available as an option guzzles more fuel thanks to more power and must be run with premium gas. Rear-wheel drive models manage 14/23/17 mpg while four-wheel drive drops just the highway figure to 14/22/17 mpg.

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$47,900
MSRP based on 2WD 4-Door LS
 
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6.2
Overall
Expert Rating
Rating breakdown on a scale of 1 to 10?
Styling 6
Performance 6
Comfort & Quality 8
Safety N/A
Features 8
Fuel Economy 3
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2019 Chevrolet Tahoe Pricing Insights

  • 2019 Tahoe arriving; 2018 selection still good
  • 10% off MSRP or $1,250 rebate on 2018s
  • Lease a 2018 LT 4x4 from $559 for 39 months
  • Get 3.9% APR for 60 months
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